Brave Thorne mum who is fighting cancer supports national campaign to lower age of cervical screenings
A young mother who is fighting cancer is throwing her support behind a national campaign to lower to age limit of cervical screenings.
Jody Oxley, from Thorne, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April, aged just 22 - three years under the current age limit for cervical screening.
If left untreated the mother-of-two was told she had just six to nine months to live.
Jody is now supporting the 'Amber's Law' campaign which aims to reduce the age limit for cervical cancer screening for women to 18-years-old.
She said: "If I was offered smears since I was 18-years-old I probably wouldn't be in this situation now.
"I have two young children and I'm not going to give up fighting for my life and fighting to change the law.
"I do not want my daughter or any other young woman to go through this.
This law is so ridiculous, there is no reason why the age should not be lowered.
"We have a right to be tested as the only true person to know if something is wrong, is ourselves.
"We should be listened to and not shunned by doctors due to lack of resources or because we're 'too young'.
"Cancer is not discriminatory, it can happen to anyone at any age, cancer has no age limit.. So this law needs to change.
"It's a simple test that will save lives. The best protection is early detection."
Jody had been suffering from symptoms, including irregular bleeding, for seven months when she read an article about Amber Cliff, from Sunderland, who died from cervical cancer aged just 25.
She said: "After reading this it made me realise it's very possible I could have cancer with the symptoms I were having. The same day I rang all the clinics in my area for a smear test but was refused as I am not 25."
Two weeks later was seen by a female doctor, who was also a gynaecologist, but wasn't examined. She was sent for swabs and an ultrasound, but after looking at the results her GP was reluctant to refer her.
Jody persevered and was eventually referred to a gynaecologist but because the waiting list was so long her partner, Andrew Knightson, insisted she booked a private smear test.
She then underwent a biopsy and CT scan the same week.
In April this year Jody, mother to Marshall, aged five, and Lilly, two, was told the devastating news that she had cervical cancer.
"I was in shock, I shouldn't have this at 22-years-old. The only thing going through my mind was my children" she said.
"I had a large 5.6cm tumour completely overrunning my cervix. My oncologist said if this was left untreated I would have six to nine months to live..
"I am so glad I booked for a private smear now. Time was running out and I had already wasted weeks waiting for GP appointments and being sent everywhere else apart from where I needed to go.
"It's hard enough just getting an appointment with a GP in my area, what is the point in making the effort when the doctors do not even check you over properly anymore.
"I needed a blood transfusion shortly after diagnosis due to the heavy bleeding.
"I have recently finished my cancer treatment at Weston Park Hospital, in Sheffield, which was five weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy that will make me infertile and bring on early menopause.
"I now have a three month wait to find out if the treatment has been successful."
Jody hopes that by sharing her story she will raise awareness of cervical cancer and encourage more people to sign the Ambers Law petition.
She added: "By sharing my story my aim is to hopefully raise awareness and get more signatures on the Ambers Law petition to try and lower the age that cervical screening is available, it is so important.
"I hope my story helps somebody else like Amber's story helped me. Please if youre lucky enough to be offered smears never miss them."
To sign the Ambers Law petition visit www.change.org/p/the-government-lower-the-age-of-cervical-cancer-screening-to-18-for-high-risk-groups?source_location=petition_nav