Dad says daughter died from disease she ‘wouldn’t be tested for now’

A dad devastated by the death of his daughter has called for the mandatory smear test age to be lowered after she died of cervical cancer.

Rhian Griffiths was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 23 back in 2010 and died just two years later.

At the time of her death women as young as 20 were invited to go for cervical cancer screenings, known as smear tests.

The simple procedure detects abnormal cells in the cervix which can be removed to prevent the growth of the cancer, Wales Online reported.

In 2013 the age for automatic invitation was raised to 25 in Wales, prompting an outcry from Rhian's dad Wayne.

While the test did not save his daughter it may have prolonged the time she had.

"Lowering it to 20 again means more young women will checked for the early signs of cancer," he said.

"I feel this was done for financial reasons. As one of the richest countries in the world we should be investing in our fantastic NHS."

During her two year battle with cervical cancer nursery teacher Rhian was given courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She also underwent a partial hysterectomy which did lead to the cancer going into remission.

Unfortunately the disease returned twice and became terminal.

Rhian died in June 2012 at the Velindre Cancer Centre.

"She was bubbly, compassionate, empathetic and was the life and soul of the party," said Wayne, from Talbot Green in south Wales.

"She would light up a room when she walked in but that light was sadly doused.

"Even all these years on there's still a void in our lives which will never be filled."

Wayne and his family have spent a decade raising money for cancer charities both before and after Rhian's death.

They have collected an eye watering £200,000 for Macmillan and £439,000 for the Rhian Griffiths Velindre Rose Tribute Fund.

“I find we are making a little bit of difference to other people’s lives and people do appreciate it," said Wayne, a retired senior partner at Devonald’s Solicitors.

“Even though Rhian didn’t survive we had absolutely wonderful support from Macmillan nurses and Macmillan generally and wonderful support from the Velindre team as well.”

In response to the call to lower the smear test age for women, a Welsh Government spokeswoman said: the age for cervical screening policy across the UK is based on "the latest available evidence".

"This shows that cervical screening is most effective for women between 25 and 64 years old," she added.

“The evidence shows that, on balance, the additional risks associated with cervical screening to the health of women under the age of 25 outweigh the potential benefits.”

Anyone who needs information, support, or simply a chat can call Macmillan free on 0808 808 0000.

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