Student nurse, 22, calls for earlier cervical cancer screening after she was diagnosed at 20
Hannah decided to become a nurse after being treated for cancer
16:51 GMT, 12 April 2012
A student nurse is campaigning to lower the age for cervical cancer screening after she was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 20 years old.
Hannah Booth, 22, has started a petition to lower the age of screening from 25 back to 20 and has so far collected 7,000 signatures.
Once the student from De Montfort University collects 10,000 she will take it to Downing Street.
Petition: Hannah wants routine smear tests to be offered from the age of 20 in England like it is in Scotland
Hannah, who has a four-year-old daughter Jayleigh, was diagnosed with the cancer two years ago. She had a hysterectomy to remove two tumours, which gave her the best chance of survival.
Ms Booth decided to become a nurse after battling with the disease and hopes, once qualified, she will be able to care for people in a similar situation.
'Having been through the illness myself, I want people to understand how important the issue is and that people my age can get cervical cancer,' she said
'Up until the age of 18, girls can have the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and then at 25 routine screening starts – but in between those ages there’s nothing to prevent or detect the disease.'
Hannah, who had a hysterectomy, said: 'I am so lucky that I already have my daughter'
The mother of one said she went to her GP after showing symptoms of the disease and it was confirmed by a smear test.
'If I’d have waited until 25 then I probably wouldn’t be here now – which is terrifying,' she said.
'When I went into hospital to have my hysterectomy the nurses and carers on the ward were absolutely brilliant and it was then that I decided I wanted to become a nurse.
'I know I can’t have any more children but I am so lucky that I already have my daughter and I look forward to becoming a nurse and caring for people who are battling similar illnesses.'
Once Hannah has collect enough signatures, she hopes to cycle the 100 mile trip from Leicester to London to deliver the petition and raise money for charity.
She said: 'I urge people to sign my petition and help make a difference. Changing the screening age could save lives and that’s worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.
The age for routine cervical screening was raised from 20 to 25 in England in 2003 after a review concluded that screening under-25s would do more harm than good. Scotland and Wales still do routine smear tests at 20.
Hannah’s electronic petition is at www.petition.co.uk/lower-the-age-of-cervical-screening-from-25-to-20