Family greets new bid to spot cancer

Campaigners have welcomed a move that will help save young women from cervical cancer.

Colin Everett, who lost his 23-year-old wife Claire to the disease, said news that GPs would be given help to diagnose the illness was a "step in the right direction".

Last year, Colin, 28, and Claire's parents Bob and Lynn took their fight to Downing Street when they handed in a 15,000-name petition calling for the minimum age for a cervical screening test to be dropped from 25 to 18.

Brave mum Claire, of Washington, launched her campaign, Claire's Message, after being diagnosed with the disease, which might have been picked up if she had been old enough to have a smear test.

Today Colin, dad to Alex, three, said: "Anything that helps save lives is a step in the right direction. It's a brilliant thing and anything like this is great.

"I would still, without a doubt, say that the age should be brought down. This is what Claire started her campaign for and we carried on."

Health minister Ann Keen has announced that doctors will be given new guidance to help them identify symptoms and make an early diagnosis of cervical cancer.

The move follows a study that found women who visited their GP with abnormal bleeding experienced a delay in diagnosis because they did not receive a full pelvic examination.

Mrs Keen said: "Over the past year I have met a number of young women who have had cervical cancer.

"I have been touched by their stories and have resolved to do everything I can to prevent and treat cervical cancer in young women.

"The Independent Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening told us that screening women under the age of 25 did more harm than good but that more work needs to be done to ensure patients with symptoms are treated correctly.

"This is why this new guidance will support GPs and practice nurses to identify symptoms."