A young woman died after her cervical cancer was dismissed 15 times – and a doctor told her she was worrying too much because of the “Jade Goody effect”.
Emma Swain begged GPs for a smear test after she experienced symptoms but was repeatedly told she was too young to have one.
Instead, the 22-year-old’s doctor blamed her contraceptive pill and said what happened to reality star Jade – who died of cervical cancer in 2009 aged 27 – would be very unlikely to happen to her.
But less than a year later, Emma was dead.
Her GP has since admitted if she had been given a smear test, she would probably still be alive.
Emma’s devastated dad Darren said: “To have watched one of your children go through that and to know it could have been prevented is incredibly hard to accept.
“We trusted these people – the professionals – to know what they were doing. I’ll never forgive them.”
Emma first asked her doctor for a smear test in May 2013 after experiencing back pain and bleeding after sex.
But her request was refused because cervical screening is only offered to women over 25.
Emma’s GP said she was unduly concerned by the “Jade Goody effect”.
Darren, 51, said: “Basically, he told her she was worrying over nothing. He couldn’t have been more wrong. It cost Emma her life.”
Over the next four months, Emma contacted her GP another 14 times – but was merely advised to swap her brand of pill five times.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2013 and died aged 23 the following October.
In a letter to dad-of-three Darren – who has been awarded compensation after a six-year battle – Dr Stephen Golding, Dr Hendrik Parmentier and practice nurse Maureen Dillon from The Haling Park Partnership in Croydon, South London, apologised for what happened to Emma.
They wrote: “We admit that if the care and treatment provided to your daughter had been of a reasonable standard, on the balance of probabilities, she would have survived.”
A spokesperson for the surgery added: “Since Emma’s death, the practice has reviewed its processes to ensure lessons have been learned.”
Last year, one in five women missed a smear test – and around 600,000 appointments were cancelled during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Darren said: “I want Emma’s story to make women go to their screening exam. Don’t put off getting symptoms checked because of the pandemic.”
- Hear Emma’s full story in a new episode of The Case Files podcast, Too Young To Get Cancer. Listen at smarturl.it/casefiles