Only 50 years ago, the leading cause of cancer death among women was cervical cancer. But thanks to the Pap test becoming a regular part of women's annual gynecological exam in 1945, mortality from the disease declined by more than 70 percent. In other words, although we tend to just think of it as another part of our annual GYN exam, it's incredibly important and saves lives. Devastatingly, after one young woman in the U.K. wasn't allowed cervical cancer screening, the disease claimed her life.
Dawn Weston was just 24 when she visited her doctor with excruciating back pain in December 2012. She was refused a Pap test because she was under 25 years old, which, in the U.K., is the minimum age for the simple procedure. After what sounds like an unreasonably long fight, she finally got the procedure in February 2013, which confirmed she had cervical cancer. Dawn endured another exam, treatment, biopsy, followed by internal and external radiotherapy.