A British woman has died at the age of 25 after being refused a cervical smear multiple times by her GP because she was too young. Amber Rose Cliff, a housing officer and business studies graduate from Sunderland, died last weekend after a four-year long battle with the disease, reported The Independent. Cliff's family are calling for more flexibility for women to be screened before the age of 25, the age at which women are currently invited for their first smear. Cliff's symptoms first emerged in her late teens but her GP denied her the opportunity to be tested multiple times because of her age, her brother Josh Cliff told local newspaper Chronicle Live. “We went for a private smear test when she was about 21, three years after she’d first been to the doctors," he said. “It turned out that the cancerous tumour in her cervix had been growing for years.” Cliff received chemotherapy and radiotherapy and eventually had to have parts of her reproductive system removed, but the cancer spread to her lungs and throat and doctors were unable to help. Cliff's brother is now campaigning for women under 25 to be given the option of cervical screening if they visit their GP with gynaecological issues more than once.
“I want it to be called Amber’s Law," he told Chronicle Live. “Any female under 25 showing any problems with their reproductive system should have the option of a cervical screening. It shouldn’t be mandatory but that option needs to be there.” A petition he set up has so far received nearly 80,000 signatures. However, Cancer Research UK said that research shows offering cervical cancer screenings to women under 25 can “do more harm than good”, The Independent reported. Dr Jana Witt, the charity's health information officer, said: “This is because cervical changes that screening detects in younger women tend to clear up by themselves and are less likely to develop into cancer, so screening may lead to unnecessary tests and treatment." She said it is important for women to arrange a GP appointment – whatever their age or screening history – if they notice symptoms, "such as bleeding between periods, after sex, after the menopause, or any other unusual changes". Read our guide to smear tests and what to do if the results show abnormalities.