A young Clara mum of two who was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year has spoken out to encourage other women in their twenties to have a smear test.
Like all Irish women over the age of 25 in March 2015, Lauren Burns began receiving letters about getting a cervical check. She put the letters to one one side until after Christmas, when she thought to herself “I might as well get it over with.”
Speaking to the Offaly Indpendent, creche worker Lauren says that she had no reason to worry when she went for her test in January of last year.
“Two weeks later I was asked to go into my doctors to discuss the results. When I went in I was told that they were sending me up to Tallaght Hospital as they found severe abnormal cell changes.
In Tallaght, doctors performed a biopsy on Lauren, which was followed by a colposcopy and LLetz procedure. After being told that the results would be sent out within four to six weeks, three weeks later she was asked to come back to Tallaght, where she feared that the news wouldn't be good. Her appointment was exactly a year to the day after her sister Caoimhe had a cancerous tumour removed.
“When I was told to come up to talk about the result, I kind of knew that this wasn't good news as they weren't sending them out to me. I was brought into a room and told that I had early stage cervical cancer.”
Lauren says that the news hit her like a “bombshell”, particularly with two young daughters [Chloe now 7, Éabha now 5] at home to look after
“It wasn't the worst case because if I had left it any longer it would have been a different situation. I'd look at them and I didn't know which way it would go. They just knew that I wasn't well and we didn't go into the extent of it.”
Following her diagnosis, Lauren had a cone biopsy to get rid of any cancerous cells and make sure that it didn't spread. On May of last year, she heard that she was cancer free.
Lauren suffered complications from her treatments and is still recovering today. However, she knows that things could have been a lot worse if she hadn't went for a smear test last January.
“If I had left it another three months with the rate my cells were changing it would have been a completely different situation. I'm speaking out now to encourage other people to go for a smear test.”
Lauren and his sister are organising a number of fundraisers for the Marie Keating Fondation in the coming weeks, starting with a Tough Mudder style race, Obstacle Overload, in Clara on April 30.
The foundation is currently running a Don't Fear The Smear campaign to enourage women to avial of their free smear test through Cervical Check.