Mum waits six months for cancer diagnosis after doctors say she’s too young for smear test
A young mum who had to wait six months for a cancer diagnosis despite asking for a smear test three times is now receiving radiotherapy – leaving her unable to have more children.
Siobhan Galbraith, 21, after she asked for a smear test three times but was denied on every occasion after being told she was told she was too young.
Radiotherapy will leave her unable to have more children but she believes other treatment might have been possible if the cancer had been caught earlier.
Siobhan, who lives with her three-year-old son Cruz, began to suffer pain and bleeding after she had a contraceptive coil fitted in 2014 but the symptoms continued even after it was removed.
She said: “I asked doctors three times to refer me to a specialist for a smear test but they refused because I’m not 25.
“IT was awful because I was in pain and I knew there was something wrong but I couldn’t be tested.”
It was only after she demanded to see a gynaecologist that the condition was diagnosed and now she’s undergoing Brachy therapy – which distributes radiotherapy from inside the body and will cause an early menopause.
Siobhan never got a smear test – doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham felt a tumour during an internal examination.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to investigate what went wrong, after her case was raised in the House of Commons by Labour’s MP for Erdington Jack Dromey.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “Siobhan Galbraith, a 21-year-old Erdington mother of a three-year-old son, suffered in agony for six months.
“Three times, she was refused referral. She was told she was too young.
“Now, she is battling cervical cancer, and will never have another child.
“Will the prime Minister ask the Secretary of State to investigate what happened, and meet with me.
“And will the Prime Minister act to ensure that in future we have early referral, so that never again do we get people denied treatment that can be the difference between life and death?”
Mr Cameron said he would ask Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to investigate.
He told the Commons: “I quite understand why he raises this individual case and I’m quite sure the Health Secretary will look specifically at that case.
“It is absolutely right that early referral is the key to improving cancer outcomes.
“While I’m not standing at this despatch box and saying that the problem has been solved, I would say that we are now making sure that something like 650,000 more patients are actually being referred in terms of cancer.
“And crucially, those sort of diagnostic tests that can often find out whether you have the colon cancer or the bowel cancer, we are seeing many many more of those tests, something like 400,000 more of those tests, being carried out.”
Siobhan’s family have set up an online petition urging the Prime Minister to lower the age at which cancer smear tests are available: https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-lower-the-age-of-cancer-smear-tests
Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham declined to comment.