Bradwell woman diagnosed with cervical cancer at just 24 urges others to get tested

Rhiannon Staff with her fiance Kyle Beales. Rhiannon is encouraging young women to take up screening

Rhiannon Staff with her fiance Kyle Beales. Rhiannon is encouraging young women to take up screening tests after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 24. Photo: Rhiannon Staff - Credit: Rhiannon

A nursery nurse who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 24 is urging young women to always take up screening and doctors not to write off potential cases as being too young.

Rhiannon Staff, of Jackson Close, Bradwell, has received chemotherapy and radiotherapy but wont find out until July how well it has gone.

She says it was her stubborness - repeatedly going back to the doctor over a period of a year - that eventually lead to her diagnosis after she was first treated for a water infection.

The NHS offers screening to women over the age of 25 although Miss Staff is backing moves to lower it to 18.

'My main thing is to get girls out there to have their smear test,' she said.

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'A lot get the letter but do not go, although I did not have that option.'

She is also keen that doctors fully assess patients presenting with symptoms like hers even though they may not have reached 'the magic trigger age' of 25.

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Initially she did put off concerns about bleeding, lower back pain, and dull aches but became increasingly concerned.

Following investigations last summer she was finally diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Because of her age it came as a massive shock to friends and family too, she said.

Treatment involved six rounds of chemotherapy and 35 of radio therapy. A CT scan will reveal if she is clear of the disease.

Miss Staff who lives with her partner Kyle Beales said losing her hair and not being able to work added to her difficulties.

She hailed Fusion hairdressers in Gorleston High Street for their specialist wig service and also fellow cancer sufferer Vanessa Carter for her free holistic therapy and pamper nights.

Being able to try Reiki and enjoy a facial had been a real treat, Miss Staff said, at a time when paying for it herself was out of the question because she couldn't work.

Miss Staff has since returned to her job as a bank nurse at the special care baby unit at Gorleston's James Paget Hospital.

Cancer blogger and author Vanessa Carter learned in September last year that her breast cancer had spread to her bones.

She is an advocate of holistic therapy and has been hosting sessions every two weeks on alternate Tuesdays and Sundays with the next event on Tuesday May 30 6-9pm.

Kevin Huggins of Fusion said: 'I could not think of a better reason to open the doors when we are not open to help people. It just gives them a little bit of normality.'

To find out more call Fusion on 01493 603336.

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