Smear test saved life of young mum
A Gorey mum of two is alive today thanks to a life saving smear test.
The routine test showed that 36-year-old Esther Hope had high-grade-three pre-cancerous cells with doctors telling her that she would have developed cervical cancer within six months had she not had the smear test.
Esther said that she had delayed going for her routine smear test after the birth of her second child.
'I had just welcomed my second baby in 2012 and I was so busy juggling the two kids', Esther said.
'I knew I was overdue my smear test but when you're so busy things just go out of your head. Luckily I had a friend who was harassing me to just go and get it over and done with. It was just a simple trip into my GP, an uncomfortable minute or two, and I forgot about it soon after that.'
However about six weeks later she was told she needed a biopsy after some abnormalities were noticed in her test.
'Cervical Check got in touch with me to say there had been some abnormalities, which was worrying. I was sent down to Wexford Hospital for a biopsy and a few weeks later I was given the news that I had high-grade-three pre-cancerous cells. It was a very scary thing to be told in just six months or a year I'd have had cancer, when I had two small kids at home relying on me.'
Esther said that on hearing the news she feared her children would be left without a mother.
Following the diagnosis, stay-at-home mum Esther, who was 31 years old at the time, underwent LLETZ treatment to burn away the abnormal tissue. The mum-of-two said it was an intense time for her family, but her husband proved to be a huge support during the frightening process.
;The procedure I underwent involved burning away the cells that were there, which was quite unpleasant and a little bit invasive. Luckily I have such a good support in my husband Gareth, who came with me to all my appointments along the way.
'It still frightens me to think that I could have developed cervical cancer because of a routine thing I had been putting off. My kids might have been left without their mum.'
More than 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ireland each year, and Esther says her experience has encouraged her to become a campaigner for Cervical Check. In Ireland, women over the age of 25 are entitled to a free smear test through the service.
'I have never thanked anyone as much as my friend, who kept reminding me to go for that smear. For women over the age of 25 it's a free service, and such an important one. Now I've become this strange person who is always telling women to just go and get it done. It's two minutes of slight discomfort, but it could save your life.'
After her treatment Esther had regular check-ups to ensure that the cells hadn't returned.
For more information visit cervicalcheck.ie.