Mum inspired to help after surviving cancer
A HULL mum who survived cervical cancer has set up a support group to help others through their ordeal.
Julie Newman set up the group after she was diagnosed with the condition a few years ago.
Julie, 38, who was a mother to teenage girls when she was diagnosed, says her busy life meant she had put off attending a smear test.
As part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs until January 26, Julie spoke to the Mail about her ordeal.
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Julie, who lives in east Hull, said: "I set up the group because I thought it was important for women to have a network of support around them.
"There was nothing like it for me when I was diagnosed, so it will help women who have cancer and those who have lived through it.
"It is important to let them know they are not alone."
Statistics show the Humber and Yorkshire East region has a 13.9 per cent incident rate for the disease – more than 5 per cent higher than the national average and the highest in England.
At 77.2 per cent, cervical screening uptake for Hull falls below the national average and has sparked concerns that one in five females are putting themselves at risk of developing the disease.
Julie is backing a national campaign by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust to help increase awareness of the condition.
She said: "At the end of 2007 I was almost a year late for my cervical screening test.
"When I finally did it, I was soon diagnosed with cervical cancer.
"I'm so glad I did, otherwise I might not have been here today."
Julie was treated at Princess Royal Hospital in Hull.
She was told the cancer had spread to her womb, so a hysterectomy was not an option.
Instead, she had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and internal radiotherapy.
She said: "I should have paid more attention to my body.
"I was more than ten months late for my smear test.
"Some women are put off because they think the smear is going to be embarrassing or uncomfortable, but it isn't.
"You have to remember the nurses have seen it all, and your health is important."
Cervical screening is thought to save 5,000 lives each year in the UK, but the campaign this week wants to encourage more women, especially those who have ignored smear test reminders or put them off, to get tested.
Julie, who is mum to Charlie Aston, 20, and Georgia Aston, 17, has been trained by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust to run the support group in Hull.
It will give women who have cervical cancer the chance to meet other people going through the same things.
There will also be doctors, nurses and other specialists who will be invited in to give talks and answer questions.
The first meeting will be on February 26 at 7pm at St Aidan's Church in Southcoates Avenue, east Hull. Visit www.jostrust. org.uk for details.