Another Woman Died Because She Was 'Too Young' for a Pap Smear

team emma fiskWhen Emma Fisk, 23, became incredibly sick two years ago, her doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong. Even after Emma visited him 10 times. The one test she was not given? A Pap smear. It wasn't until months later that Emma was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer -- which that very simple test could have diagnosed. Unfortunately, it's now too late.

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We'll warn you: This story is heartbreaking, from beginning to end.

Emma, who lived in the U.K., began bleeding and suffering from stomach cramps when she was 23. She asked her doctor for a Pap smear but was told she was "too young." 

In the U.K., the simple in-office test isn't given to women until they're 25.

Emma was assured that she had an infection or a "little tear." But she wasn't so sure -- and the pain didn't go away.

On repeated visits to the doctor, Emma begged for a Pap smear. And in April 2014, she FINALLY was administered one. According to the Mirror, her cervix began to bleed and crumble. And soon after, Emma was told that she had neuroendocrine carcinoma, an extremely rare cancer.

Emma began chemo, followed by daily radiation for two months. But last December, tests revealed the cancer had spread to her liver and stomach.

More from The Stir: Doctors Think Pap Smears Are Too Traumatic for Women

In January, despite being told she had only six months left to live, Emma married her longtime boyfriend. In June, at the age of 25 -- when she was finally of legal age to have a Pap smear -- she passed away.

Emma's family -- including her six siblings, parents, and step-parents -- are determined to make sure that a) we don't forget what happened to Emma, and b) no other woman has to go through the same thing.

They've launched a campaign to lower the legal age of Pap smears in the U.K. from 25 to 18.

As Emma's mom, Adele Willis, told the Mirror, "If girls were called up for smears earlier ... then our beautiful Emma might still be here with us today."

They're meeting with politicians and founded the Team Emma Campaign on Facebook.

Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated event. We've written before about women who've died from cervical cancer because they weren't old enough for a Pap smear. And more than once. And all because some health-care or political so-and-so followed a blanket rule about what medical tests should be administered when.

Whatever happened to providing the utmost in care? In this case, administering EVERY test you can to reach a diagnosis.

Pap smears aren't complicated tests. They take under five minutes to administer, and in an office exam room, not a hospital. Surely the cost is worth women's lives.

Our hearts go out to Emma's family. While it's impossible to bring Emma back, we're hoping they'll succeed in saving others.


Image via The Team Emma Campaign/Facebook

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