Katie urges others to take smear tests
A former Wexford underage camogie star has urged women to take their cervical smear tests seriously after she suffered a cancer scare. Blackwater's Katie O'Brien is much relieved that she took up the offer of a free test which she underwent in September at a clinic in Dublin, where she lives.
The result was a traumatic few months as she was referred to Holles Street Hospital and had an operation before Christmas to remove a tumour. Now back in the best of good health, the 26-year-old has embarked on a campaign to let everyone know that early diagnosis of the condition really works.
Her story has appeared in the 'Evening Herald' and she has lined up interviews too with 'The Irish Times', 'U', 'Image' and Irish Tatler'.
'All I want to do is spread awareness,' explains Katie who works as hairdresser for David Marshall at his George's Street salon in Dublin. 'I had no symptoms before I went for the routine check. Early detection is vital. That's why screening is so important.'
Daughter of Sean and Kim O'Brien, she has a sister Josie and brother Seanie, and she reports that there is no history of the disease among her relatives. She hopes to be back playing camogie for Blackwater in the coming season.
'There is no cancer in my family at all. None from my mother's side or my father's. I thought maybe it was to do with my diet or lifestyle. I soon learned to realise that I was just unfortunate.'
She is still monitored regularly at Holles Street and will still have to submit to one further operation to remove nodes: 'I'm looking forward to getting through this and moving on with my life.'
She is happy to talk about her experience of smear tests, MRI scans, biopsies and surgery to anyone of her own age or to mothers who may encourage daughters to be screened.
Katie O'Brien may be contacted through her email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.