A young Scottish mother who was diagnosed with cervical cancer after putting off a Pap smear for a decade is now urging other women to get the routine test in a bid to save others from a similar diagnosis.
Kim Montgomery, 31, told South West News Service (SWNS), a British news agency, that she put off the test because she had four children “back-to-back.” She decided to go in for a Pap smear after experiencing abnormal bleeding — what can be a sign of cervical cancer — for nine months.
“I had the smear test on Dec. 20 and then in the new year I got a letter to say I had abnormal cells,” she said, noting she was formally diagnosed with Stage 2 cervical cancer on Feb. 5. “I thought right away it was cancer, I just had a feeling, but it wasn't really until the doctors told me and I broke down.”
“You automatically think you are going to die,” she added. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get cancer — I am only 31.”
Doctors have reportedly told Montgomery that she will likely require chemotherapy and a hysterectomy. She is also awaiting the results from a recent MRI that will show if the cancer has spread to other parts of her body.
“It’s really daunting and I wanted to have more children, but I just feel lucky I have my four,” she said.
“I had been pregnant with my four children back to back for three years and you can’t have a smear test when you are pregnant,” she continued. “That was a huge factor in why I didn’t get one for so long.”
But, she noted, “I also just didn’t realize how important it was.”
Doctors typically recommend women begin Pap smear testing at age 21, according to the Mayo Clinic. The test is then repeated every three years for women ages 21 to 65.
“I want to raise awareness of how important it is for people to have their smear test,” added Montgomery. "I hope sharing my story means more lives can be saved."