Young Mom Who Was Refused Pap Test Dies of Cervical Cancer

exam room gynecologistIn Britain, health experts maintain that no woman needs a pap smear until they're 25. (Here in the U.S., it's 21.) Because of that decision, cervical cancer in young women is going undetected -- and sometimes with fatal results. The latest victim? A 24-year-old mom whose story will likely break your heart.


A 24-year-old woman named Rachel Sarjantson passed away on August 12 from cervical cancer. The mother of a 20-month-old son had been battling the disease since last year -- even putting off her wedding to concentrate on getting better.

But despite undergoing a radical hysterectomy and weeks of radiotherapy and chemo, the cancer returned. Earlier this month, doctors admitted to Rachel they couldn't do anything else to stop it.

Had Rachel's symptoms been noticed sooner, her death could have been prevented, her family is now saying. They're urging the government to lower the legal age of cervical screening.

This heartbreaking tale is becoming increasingly frequent. RIP Rachel.

Posted by The Mirror on Sunday, August 23, 2015

"[Rachel] didn't need to suffer this," her mother, Lisa Rich, told the Mirror. "It was tragic and completely avoidable. It shouldn't be happening in this country."

More from The Stir: Mom Dying of Cervical Cancer After Being Told She Was 'Too Young' for a Pap Test

Health "experts" in the U.K. insist that giving a Pap smear to anyone under 25 isn't a good idea. According to the Mirror, the harms of screening women at a younger age "are currently thought to outweigh the benefits."

It's not clear what the "harms" are. Thirty seconds of discomfort as you lie back and put your feet up in stirrups? Or perhaps they mean the government having to pick up the additional cost of all those procedures.

"So many young girls are dying of it," Rachel's sister Zoe told the Mirror. And it's true. We've recently reported on several other women who've died of cervical cancer because they were deemed "too young" to be at risk.

Rachel's friends had been raising money to help fund costs of her treatment. But now, it will be used for her funeral. Which is pretty much the saddest thing ever.

What can you do? For starters, make sure you get YOUR pap smear when your doctor tells you it's time. Next, be aware of symptoms of cervical cancer like pain during sex, abnormal discharge, and bleeding between periods or after sex.

And head over to, where many women in the U.K. have posted petitions, urging the British government to lower the age when women can get screened.

It's too late to save Rachel's life, but you could save someone else's.


Image via Rainbowphoto/iStock

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