THE HUSBAND of a young mother who died from cervical cancer aged just 30 is urging the government to give women yearly smear tests.
Andrew Mathewson from Kelso in the Scottish Borders is campaigning so that all women can get annual smear tests, instead of waiting up to five years for check ups.
The 33-year-old lost his wife Fiona to cancer in April last year following a 17 month battle with cervical cancer that was detected during a routine smear test.
Medics described the tumour as being “barely the size of a pinkie nail” and were hoping that she would be cancer-free following a hysterectomy.
The mum-of-two then underwent chemotherapy which Andrew describes as a “belt and braces” approach to prevent any recurrent tumours.
But just months later, the family were given the devastating news that Fiona only had months to live after the cancer spread into the tubes connecting her kidneys and bladder.
Andrew, a former RAF aircraft technician, gave up his job to look after his two children, Ivy 5, and Harry, 2.
The devoted dad and Fiona’s friend Melanie Ford have set up a petition urging the UK Parliament to begin offering annual smear tests to women.
Speaking yesterday, Andrew said: “Fiona was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2018 and it all came on the back of a routine smear test.
“She didn’t have any symptoms at all.
“We had our children pretty close together, so Ivy was born in September 2015 and Harry was born in February 2018.
“She went in for her routine smear that following October and was diagnosed in December.
“I believe that if she had a smear in between having the children, it may have picked up on the abnormal cells.
Fiona, a former nursery nurse, was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in November 2018 from a routine smear test.
She underwent a radical hysterectomy in Jan 2019 before starting 5 gruelling weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
But in December 2019 she was rushed back to hospital with double kidney failure.
Medics discovered that the cancer had returned, prompting her to restart chemotherapy again.
She was later given just months to live, before passing away on 18 April last year.
Andrew added: “[The tumour] started off small. It was barely the size of a pinkie nail. It was just aggressive. We looked into clinical trials but she rapidly declined.
“She was a fighter, very brave and her sole goal in life was to be a mummy but because of this she has missed out on things like seeing Ivy start school in August,
“By in large the kids are okay. Harry will unfortunately not remember much. Ivy has her moments though I think.
“She still has times when she wakes up howling in tears for her mum.”
Andrew and Melissa set up the petition, “FIONA’S LAW – Women should be allowed a yearly cervical screening” on the UK Parliament website.
It reads: “Cervical screening needs to be every year.
“This is because women are dying, mothers, wives, daughters, granddaughters and sisters are dying.
“We need yearly checks regardless of the statistics. It should be law that every woman in England can access a yearly smear test.
“So they have a future.
“You are preventing women from watching their children grow.
“My friend will never see her children’s first day at school, watch her children grow, fall in love, watch them get married or hold her grandchildren.
“This could have been prevented.”
The petition currently has over 24,000 signatures, but needs to reach 100,000 before 7 March 2021 to guarantee it being considered for debate in Parliament.
To sign the petition, click here.