21-Year-Old Woman Told She Was "Too Young" for a Pap Smear Diagnosed with Terminal Cervical Cancer

Super scary stuff.

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(Image credit: Archives)

In 2013, Jade Pateman gave birth to her son, Oscar, when she was 19 years old. But because she was considered "too young" by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) regulations to receive a cervical screening test, Jade didn't have a pap smear, that is, until it was too late. 

In February, she started to develop an inflamed cervix and took antibiotics to try to make the swelling go away. Doctors began running tests and scans on Jade to figure out what was causing the inflammation. It was then that they discovered a 2-inch tumor on Jade's cervix, which doctors believed had been forming since the end of 2014 before Jade had any symptoms. 

Even though doctors wanted to treat the cancer with radiotherapy, it had already spread into her lymph nodes in her chest, stomach, and neck. In June, she was then told she only has about 18 months to 2 years to live. 

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(Image credit: Archives)

"It was strange. I didn't get as upset as I thought I would," Jade recalled (opens in new tab). "But when I came home and thought about it, I was heartbroken. Oscar is only two and will only be four when it happens."

The 21-year-old, who now receives chemotherapy to prolong her life, has since launched an online petition to lower the cervical screening age from 25 to 20 in the UK. She believes that if she had received a pap smear when she was 20, her life could have been saved, and Oscar wouldn't have to grow up without a mom. 

"If the screening age had been 20, it is more than possible that I might have been diagnosed sooner and the cancer might not have spread," Jade said. 

But a spokesperson from Public Health England thinks (opens in new tab) otherwise and said that screening women under the age of 25 might actually do more harm than good:

Despite Jade's fight to lower the age of cervical screenings and her frustration with current regulations, she tries to remain positive for her son and spend as much time with him as possible.

"My little one is what keeps me going. I don't want to mope around because Oscar might pick up that something is wrong with mom." Instead, she says, "I want to go out and create memories for me and his memory box."

(H/T:Daily Mail (opens in new tab))