A young beautiful ambitious 19 year old aspiring model Sophie Jones from Liverpool visited her doctor in february 2013 complaining of chronic stomach pains.
The Doctor misdiagnosed her for having Crohn’s disease but the stomach pains persisted and the young Sophie requested for a Pap smear test as she suspected that something was terribly wrong with her and was worried that it was getting worse by the day.
Although she pleaded with her doctor, they could not do it because in the UK the smear test is only given from the age of 25 years so she was to wait six more years in order to be able to qualify for the test.
Unfortunately, nine months later is when they finally did the diagnosis and found that she actually was suffering from cervical cancer. It was too late for the young ambitious Sophie and she passed on.
This was a life taken too soon and what is devastating is that it could have been preventable if only it was detected early.
The UK and other European countries have done a good Job of providing the test for free to its residents but what is the purpose of it if not for preventive measures? The regular smear test 25 years start up point is ridiculous as more and more young girls are engaging in sexual behaviour at a very early age and the poor healthy lifestyle make these young women even more vulnerable to cancer than their older counterparts and therefore the age should be reduced to 15 years of age.
In developing countries like Kenya, Pap smear is available to anyone so long as you can afford it, but it is not affordable to the wider population and so is more of an elite routine check up to most but the majority of the population will only go for the test when they are really sick and its requested by a doctor.
Cancer is quickly becoming a major catastrophe even more than HIV as the tests for HIV are easily and widely available and thus helps in preventing the infections and also the spread of the disease, but for cancer it is still seen as a minorities disease.
I urge the WHO and the concerned parties to come up with ways in which they can make all sorts of cancer screening and testing kits available in order to allow for easier and early diagnosis so as to prevent deaths like Sophie’s which was preventable.