25 yr Old Dies Of Cervical Cancer Due To A Misdiagnosed Urinary Tract Infection
Emma Fisk, a 25-year-old newlywed, has died from a rare type of cervical cancer after she was repeatedly misdiagnosed with a urinary tract infection and denied a pap smear for being “too young.”
According to her family, the Selby, North Yorkshire native visited her GP ten times for painful stomach cramps and was told initially that she had a urinary tract infection. She reportedly asked for a pap smear but her request was refused because she was “too young.”
The pap smear is a standard screening test for cervical cancer that involves scraping cells from the opening of the cervix for examination. In the United Kingdom, cases of cervical cancer have declined 43% between 1987 and 1997, which is attributed to the introduction of the pap smear screening program. About 41% of cancers are prevented with screening women up to 39 years old every three years. In England, women receive their first invitation for screening at the age of 25.
Related: The Truth About Cervical Cancer
Emma began suffering from bleeding and stomach cramps in 2013, when she was 23 years old. She was first told she was suffering from an infection or bowel problems before she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation of the lining of the large intestine. She was referred back to her GP after a specialist learned of her unusual bleeding.
She was reportedly told by her GP to wait six months until her 25th birthday in October 2014 for the screening, although she did receive a smear test in April 2014. According to her family, she was so ill when she was called in for the test that it couldn’t be finished, as her cervix started to bleed and crumble.
The test found abnormalities and doctors found a tumor. At the age of 24, Emma was diagnosed with advanced neuroendocrine carcinoma of the cervix, a very rare form of cervical cancer. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, just 100 out of every 11,000 cases of cervical cancer involve neuroendocrine carcinomas, which are aggressive and not linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV) like most forms of cervical cancer.
Emma’s long-time boyfriend, Dan Fisk, proposed shortly after her diagnosis in June 2014. By December, she was given six months to live. Emma died in June only months after the couple married.
While a pap smear test was unlikely to uncover the type of cancer Emma had, her family has launched the Team Emma Campaign to lower the recommended age for pap smear tests in an attempt to save the lives of other young women.
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