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A Kent woman has been telling Heart why she is urging other women in Kent to go for cervical screening
As new figures released show that more than 1 in 5 Kent woman aged 25 to 29 are not going to their cervical screening tests - we've been speaking to one woman who is urging others to take up the test.
26 year old Emily Gassempour from Folkestone had ignored all her letters calling her to go for a smear until her 28 year old friend needed urgent treatment for pre cancerous cells.
Sarah from Herne Bay said:
"I booked in my cervical screening, as i had received a letter inviting me to book an appointment with my GP. I was really shocked when the results came back as abnormal.
I had to go to the hospital for a colposcopy, which is a more detailed examination of the cervix.
I remember the nurse telling me to relax but it was hard as I was worrying about what the results would show. But the staff were great and helped to put me at ease.
When the letter arrived with the results, I was alarmed to read the words 'precancerous cells'. The word cancer sticks out like a sore thumb and I was in a state of shock!
After receiving that news I went back to the hospital for another colposcopy and the precancerous cells had gone up the scale to severe. I started doing research on the internet which made me feel worse, and I couldn't stop thinking I had cancer!
It wasn't until I started talking to friends and family that I realised I wasn't alone and many of them had gone through the same procedure.
By the next colposcopy, the precancerous cells had gone back down to mild. Now I have to go back for a cervical screening once a year to make sure the cells don't go up a scale.
Sarah's friend Emily says that after Sarah's experiences she finally made an appointment for a smear, after ignoring 3 letters.
Click here to listen to Heart's Charlie O'Brien chatting to Emily about why she's urging women to go for screening
Even with the screening programme, about 66 women in Kent and Medway are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. In 2008, 28 women died of cervical cancer, the vast majority of whom will have not been screened regularly.