Join Annmarie on 5km walk for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
A businesswoman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 28 years old has given a stark warning to other women not to put off a screening for the disease, which she described as 'horrendous'.
Annmarie Pearson, now 31, from Dereham, learned she had the illness on March 12, 2009 after ignoring a letter about going for a cervical screening. Now, she is organising the first 5km walk for Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust in Earlham Park, Norwich, on Saturday, June 16.
Annmarie, who got married to Andrew in January 2006 and is now thought cancer-free, said: 'Jade Goody was dying of cervical cancer at the same time I was diagnosed. For me it was horrendous because I was watching a woman who was dying of a disease I had. I didn't know if I would end up in the same situation.
'If you don't take control of your health you won't get taken care of. Don't put off a cervical screening. The experience has changed my life forever.
'Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. The HPV vaccine is proven to protect women for cervical cancer. For those who haven't had the HPV vaccine there is such a good screening process in Britain which is not offered in many countries.'
Jade Goody, who shot to fame after appearing in the Channel 4 reality television show Big Brother in 2002, died on March 22, 2009, aged 27, from cervical cancer.
Women between 25 and 49 are invited for screening every three years; women aged between 50 and 64 are invited for screening every five years; and women over 65 are only screened if they have not been screened since they were 50 or if they have had recent abnormal test results.
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Cervical cancer can be caused by the human papillomavirus, and since September 2008 there has been a drive for girls aged between 12 and 17 to have the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV).
Although she has not had the all-clear, Annmarie, a sales manager of a Dereham removals company, had a trachelectomy operation on June 1, 2009, at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea.
This rare surgery involved removing her cervix and replacing it with a prosthetic one.
Although Annmarie can never have children because of a hysterectomy in November last year, all the cancerous cells were successfully removed during the trachelectomy.
Before her diagnosis she had three miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies – where a fertilised egg grows outside the womb.
The last ectopic pregnancy caused her fallopian tube to rupture and she had to have surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Annmarie had a smear test in June 2008 after an infection developed, but she assumed it was the same as a cervical screen, so ignored letters which reminded her to have the test.
The businesswoman, who works for APAK Removals and Storage, received support from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, a national charity.
The 5km Walk for Fun in Earlham Park to raise money for the charity starts at 10am and ends at 1pm, and anyone can take part. For more information visit www.jostrust.org.uk/WalkForFun, or contact Geraldine Warren by ringing 0207 9367498 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
It will cost �5 to register, and advanced registration is required.