A heartbroken Wearside family believe a routine smear test could have saved their beautiful young girl.
Amber Rose Cliff was just 25 when she lost her battle with cervical cancer at the weekend.
But,the Sunderland Gentoo housing officer’s symptoms began in her late teens and now her family want to see a change in the law allowing younger women to get a smear test.
Amber’s devastated brother, Josh Cliff, 27, said his sister visited the doctor several times, but believes she was refused a smear test on the grounds she was too young.
Her family paid privately for the smear to be carried out when Amber was 21 and were left devastated with the results, which showed a cancerous tumour in her cervix which had been growing for years.
Josh, who is heading the campaign for Amber’s Law, said this was the start of a gruelling four-year battle, which included at least ten operations and horrendous chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
You always hope you are going to get a bit more timeJosh Cliff
Sadly, the disease continued to spread, including to the Sunderland University business graduate’s lymph nodes, lungs and throat, and she lost her fight on Sunday.
Dad-of-two Josh said: “She was so brave, she lived life to the full. There was no way she was just going to lie there and die. She was so stubborn and just refused to back down.
“We had been told a number of times that she only had days left, but she just kept on fighting and bouncing back.”
He said Amber, a former Thornhill School pupil, always put a brave face on and even on Christmas Day she looked like there was nothing wrong with her.
Josh added: “You always hope you are going to get a bit more time.”
The businessman said Amber, who lived with her mum, Donna Cliff in Ashbrooke, was very private and told very few people about her illness.
He said: “I have questioned if I am doing the right thing because Amber was so private, but I feel it’s something we have to do if we can stop another family going through this.
“We can never bring Amber back, but she can save someone’s life.
“Amber died at the age of 25, we lost a sister, daughter, granddaughter and an amazing friend to cancer because she was failed by the people who were meant to provide her care.”
Although thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, health experts believe it would not be effective to routinely screen women younger than 25.
Josh said his campaign to create Amber’s Law is not calling for routine screening of younger women, but they should be given the option in certain circumstances such as Amber’s.
He is thrilled that 38,000 have already signed the online petition and is urging other to do so by visiting www.change.org/p/the-government-lower-the-age-of-cervical-cancer-screening-to-18.
A funeral service for Amber, who also leaves an 18-year-old sister, Cameron, will be held on Monday, January 16, at 9am at Sunderland Crematorium and everyone is being asked to wear something pink.