An aspiring model who was turned down for a smear test because doctors said she was too young to get cervical cancer has died from the disease.
Sophie Jones, 19, from Eastham, near Liverpool, was initially told she had Crohn’s Disease when she went to the doctor complaining of stomach pains.
But she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last November after being admitted to hospital when her condition worsened, and died early on Saturday morning.
Now her family and friends have launched an online petition calling for smear tests to be offered to women from the age of 16, rather than 25.
‘The life and soul of everything’: Sophie Jones, 19, has died of cervical cancer after being refused a smear test.
Last Facebook picture: Miss Jones, who posted this photo two weeks ago, died early on Saturday morning.
Miss Jones was described by her sister, Stephanie, as ‘a very calming influence on everyone around her’.
While the disease is the most common cancer in women under 35, it is so rare in those under 25 that screening for it is not offered to women until they are 25.
Today Miss Jones’ sister, Stephanie Jones, said she had vowed to fight the disease ‘to the end’.
She said: ‘She was still in high spirits even on the morning she died; she was the life and soul of everything, and just lit the place up.
‘She was always a very calming influence on everyone around her, and she loved being with her friends.’
She added: ‘This should never, ever have happened to her. Sophie said she would fight it all the way to the end.
‘It’s totally wrong that people are getting refused even when they know something isn’t right. Everybody knows their own body, and Sophie knew she wasn’t well.’
Killer disease: Miss Jones, from Eastham, was admitted to hospital in November after her condition worsened.
Model: The teenager had suffered from stomach pains and was initially told she probably had Crohn’s Disease.
Miss Jones, pictured with her boyfriend Jake Molyneux, was ‘in high spirits’ the day she died, her sister said.
The family had been fundraising to take Miss Jones on a final holiday, but she died before she had the chance to go.
Now her family and friends have launched an online petition demanding that the minimum age for having a smear test be lowered to 16.
The lower age limit for routine testing in England is 25 because the condition is so rare. No girls under the age of 20 died from the disease between 2009 and 2011, according to Cancer Research UK’s most recent statistics.
Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘It is very rare for women who are still in their teens to be diagnosed with cervical cancer; there have been around 25 in the last decade.
‘But it’s important to go to your GP if you notice anything unusual, like pain or discomfort during sex, bleeding in between periods, after sex or after the menopause, or unpleasant vaginal discharge. It may well be caused by something much less serious than cancer, but it’s a good idea to get it checked.’
The Sophie’s Choice online petition has already collected more than 39,000 signatures since it was started on Saturday.