A MUM has spoken out during Cervical Cancer Awareness Week after charting her own journey in a book.

Sarah McDonald, who lives in Ilkley was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. 

She went to see her GP in August 2015 with abnormal bleeding and abdominal pain. 

She was referred to a gynaecologist and underwent a biopsy which found cancerous cells.

Sarah, 37, subsequently underwent a hysterectomy in August 2016 to remove the cancer.

However, in early 2017, Sarah was told the cancer had returned and had spread to her bowel.  

She had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she also had a colostomy fitted and went into early menopause due to her treatment.  She was given the ‘all clear’ that August.

Sarah, who lives with her husband Karl, and three young children Meadow, Phoebe and Joseph, is now in her final year of midwifery studies at the University of Bradford.

Prior to her illness, she was training and qualified as a teacher but made the career change in part to help care for others and do her bit for the NHS.

Ilkley Gazette: Sarah, with son Joseph, was given the 'all clear' in 2017Sarah, with son Joseph, was given the 'all clear' in 2017 (Image: UGC)

Sarah said: “Being diagnosed with cervical cancer was a huge shock and completely turned my life upside down.

"But I was determined to win the battle, and with the help of my family and friends, I did that.

“I also approached my recovery with as much positivity as I could muster together, which led to me writing my book.

“I’m so excited to be nearing the end of my studies. I can’t change what I’ve been through but I’m now living life to the full.”

Ilkley Gazette: Sarah has three children. Here she is with her daughter PhoebeSarah has three children. Here she is with her daughter Phoebe (Image: UGC)

She added: “Hearing the word cancer doesn’t need to be a death sentence, and while it’s a journey nobody wants to go on, I’m proof that you can get through the other side."

Three years after her diagnosis, Sarah was made aware of an error in the reporting of a 2013 cervical screening result.  At the time she had been incorrectly told it was ‘normal’ when it was in fact ‘borderline.’

After her care was investigated by experts at Irwin Mitchell, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that Sarah’s smear test had been incorrectly interpreted in 2013. 

It further admitted that had it been correctly recorded, Sarah would have been referred for further treatment to remove cells likely to become cancerous and wouldn’t have developed invasive cervical cancer. 

The Trust apologised to Sarah for care that “fell short of expectations.” 

Sarah, who charted her journey through her book 'The Spider in Mummy's Tummy: My Family’s Cervical Cancer Journey’ has now joined her legal team and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in marking the awareness week.

She said while errors in her care were admitted "the NHS as a whole does a great job and I would urge women to continue to undergo their cervical screening".

Sarah added: "Also be aware of the symptoms of cancer. We all know our own bodies and see your GP if you think something isn’t right.”

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs until January 29 and is organised by the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. For more information visitwww.jostrust.org.uk