An MP was forced to have most of her cervix surgically removed after delaying a smear test for four months.
Alex Davies-Jones, 31, was invited to her first routine screening in December 2015 but decided to ‘put it off’ until she received a reminder in April the following year.
She was later diagnosed with CIN3 – an abnormality in the cells that line the cervix – which has a high chance of becoming cancerous if left untreated.
Miss Davies-Jones said she was left ‘without the majority of her cervix’ and urged other women not to put off cervical screening.
The NHS advises women between the ages of 25 to 49 to have a smear test every three years and every five years for those aged 50 to 64.
After putting off her cervical smear for four months MP Alex Davies-Jones was diagnosed with CIN3 and had to have an operation which left the MP, pictured with husband Andrew and son Sullivan, with without much of her cervix
Regular screening helps to prevent cancer by taking a sample of cells from the cervix to check for certain types of high-risk viruses.
If found and detected early, the cells can be treated before they risk turning into cervical cancer.
Describing her experience, Miss Davies-Jones said she had used ‘all the usual excuses’ to put off the screening by saying she was too busy, had no symptoms and couldn’t get an appointment.
After being told by friends to book an appointment, she did so – thinking that the routine screening would ‘just be five minutes of awkward conversation with the nurse at my local GP whilst taking my knickers off’.
But Miss Davies-Jones said she was ‘utterly terrified’ when her initial test results came back abnormal.
After undergoing a colonoscopy and LLETZ treatment to burn off the abnormal cells from her cervix, the MP underwent a ‘cold knife biopsy’.
After her own experiences, the MP is now urging other women not to put off getting their cervical smears
Writing in the i newspaper, she said: ‘I didn’t ever think that there could be a chance that my cells would be “abnormal” and that the next few months of my life would leave me terrified and constantly contemplating my own mortality.’
The operation left the MP with without much of her cervix but she says her ‘life was saved’ by medics.
Despite her treatment coming with the slightly increased risk of premature birth, Miss Davies-Jones gave birth to her son Sullivan in March 2019.
She became the Labour MP for Pontypridd, south Wales, in the 2019 General Election.
There are about 3,200 new cervical cancer cases each year in the UK, according to the charity Cancer Research.
The mother of one became the Labour MP for Pontypridd in 2019, several years after her diagnosis
In 2018, Public Health England said it was ‘concerned’ after reports suggested that three million women in England had not had a smear test for at least three-and-a-half years.
After receiving the all-clear at her last screening in April 2018, Miss Davies-Jones said every time she gets an appointment letter her body ‘freezes’.
She said: ‘I go quiet and I have a little cry thinking about what I previously went through all while being terrified it will happen again.’
However, the MP, who also has two stepsons with husband Andrew, admits ‘the situation could have been different’ if she had put off that initial appointment any longer.
Discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cancer screening, Miss Davies-Jones acknowledged that some smear tests had been delayed and cancelled in a bid to ease pressure on the health service.
But she said that even during a global health pandemic, cervical cancer screening appointments were ‘vital’ and could be life-saving.
She added: ‘Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.
‘If you’re in doubt please check when your last screening was, and if you do receive that all-important letter, don’t delay in booking.’