Fears of cervical cancer prompt young mother to encourage others not to delay their swab tests


Wrexham.com > News

Posted: Mon, November 21, 2022

Deciding to have a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer is not an easy decision for a woman of any age.

However, that is exactly what 33-year-old Nicola Hughes, from Bagillt, was facing when she was diagnosed with the disease in May 2022.

The results of a routine swab test earlier in the year confirmed Nicola had high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cell changes.

“I had my first smear test when I was 25 and I should have attended my next test three years later, but I postponed it,” explained Nicola.

“I wish I’d left earlier – you always think that’s not going to happen to you and if I could turn back the clock I would have left when I should.

“I was encouraged to go there by my friend and I’m so glad I did. After receiving my results, I was booked in for a colposcopy for further evaluation.

“The abnormal cells were cancerous, but luckily they hadn’t spread anywhere else in my body.”

After discussions with her clinical team at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Nicola decided to have a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) to reduce the risk of cancer cells returning to her cervix.

Nicola, who is mum to 13-year-old Oliver and six-year-old Ava, said it was the right thing to do under her circumstances.

“The decision to have a hysterectomy was certainly not an easy decision, but it was the right one for me.

“I have two wonderful children and I feel like my family is complete. It’s more important to me that I’m there for my children to grow up, so I wanted to do whatever I could to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.”

Having surgery in September, Nicola became the first patient in Wales to have a hysterectomy performed with CMR Surgical’s Versius robot as part of the new National Robotic Assisted Program in Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Her surgeon, Miss Ros Jones, said: “We are very proud to have completed the first robotic hysterectomy at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

“Nicola has recovered very well and we are pleased to have this technology to help us perform complex procedures with precision and accuracy.

“The HPV test we are now using in Wales is a more effective way of identifying people at higher risk of developing cell changes that can cause cervical cancer and is a real step forward for the cervical screening programme.

“Going to your screening appointment could save your life. By attending your appointment, you have the opportunity to prevent cervical cancer from developing or to catch it at an early stage when it is more treatable.”

Nicola, who is doing well after her surgery, is now encouraging others not to delay their smear test.

“I should have come to my screening appointment much earlier and if I hadn’t it might have been a worse outcome for me.

“My experience has shown how important the swab is – it can save lives. I hope my story encourages more people to participate in their swab and not procrastinate – it’s so important.

“I feel very fortunate and very grateful to the team at Ysbyty Gwynedd for looking after me throughout my time under their care.”

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