A Shoreham mother is urging women to attend their cervical screening appointment after losing her daughter, aged 28, to cervical cancer.
Samantha Chapman died in 2016 just five months after being diagnosed by doctors, leaving behind three young children.
Her mother, Mandy Stephenson of Church Green, Shoreham, said Samantha had not attended a cervical screening appointment.
She said: “She was invited at 25 but didn’t like the thought of it.
“We didn’t know she hadn’t gone.”
In March 2016, Samantha went to the doctor with back ache.
She was fast tracked to hospital and, after biopsies were taken several weeks later, she was told she had an inoperable Adenocarcinoma of the cervix stage 2b.
Samantha started chemoradiotherapy but complications followed, including the discovery of a blood clot in her lung.
On August 22nd, Samantha’s family were given the tragic news that her cancer was terminal and that, even with treatment, she had just nine to twelve months left.
Samantha was moved to St Barnabas for symptom relief on Friday, August 26, but her condition was deteriorating and the family were then told she had only days or even hours left to live.
Over the weekend, Mandy said Samantha had many visitors come to see her.
Her family told her children – Bryan, six, Leland, five and Delisha, four – that ‘mummy was growing her angel wings’.
Samantha passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday, August 29.
A fundraising page, set up before Samantha died in the hope of sending her on holiday with her husband Colin and their children, raised a total of £4,000.
The family decided to go ahead with the holiday and spent their first Christmas without Samantha at Disneyland Paris, joined by other members of the family.
Two years later, Mandy said she still could not believe that Samantha was gone.
She said of the children: “They’ve adapted quite well. They were so young at the time.”
For cervical screening awareness week, which started on Monday (June 11) and runs until Sunday, Mandy is encouraging women not to put off going for the test.
She said: “I try to do my best at making women aware of cervical cancer.
“All my sharing of Sammie’s experience has made a lot of women go for their smears and they have messaged me and said that because of me, they have gone.
“If I can save just one life then it’s worthwhile.
“I wouldn’t want any woman and their families to go through what we have, when it is preventable if caught early.”
Cervical screening prevents 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing, yet one in four women do not attend, according to the NHS.
Statistics show that the number of women aged 25 to 29 years of age being screened for cervical cancer is the lowest in any age group.
Surveys by cancer charities indicate embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind the fall in attendance.
But screening is important: more than 5,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
For anyone who has yet to attend a screening, Mandy this message: “Five minutes of discomfort could save your life.
“Yes, it can be uncomfortable.
“But it can stop a person and a family going through what we’ve gone through.”