Laura was then sent on to The Royal Oldham Hospital for further investigations, this is known as a colposcopy. This is where a specialist nurse or doctor takes a closer look at the cervix (the opening to the womb from the vagina).
Sadly just a few days before Christmas Laura got a letter telling her she needed to go back to hospital. Then on 29 December she found out that she had cervical cancer.
Laura said: “Christmas was really difficult this year trying not to worry while I waited to find out what was happening.
“I tried to convince myself everything was alright but then just before New Year they told me it was cervical cancer.”
Laura has always attended her cervical screening after following the story of the celebrity Jade Goody who died from cervical cancer in 2009. Jade’s story was recently highlighted when her son Bobby Brazier took part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and dedicated a dance to the memory of his mum.
Laura said: “I’ve always gone for my cervical screening tests. I remember Jade Goody’s story, so I know how important it is to catch cervical cancer – or any cancer – early.
“A few years ago, my cervical screening test picked up that I had high-risk HPV and so I was moved to annual cervical screening tests.
“I’m happy that I know I couldn’t have done any more to catch my cancer early.
“Now that it is cervical cancer awareness week, I want to share my story so that others know how important the screening is too.”
Laura has been told her cervical cancer has been caught at a very early stage – stage 1. She will now have surgery (a hysterectomy) to remove the cancer.
She added: “I don’t have any children and I’d already decided I didn’t want any, so luckily having a hysterectomy isn’t too emotional for me. I just need to have the treatment that’s necessary and then get on with the rest of my life.
“Reading other people’s stories about life after treatment for cervical cancer has really helped me. I hope if others read my story it will remind them to book their cervical screening when their letter arrives.”
Women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 will receive an invite letter in the post from the NHS to invite you for cervical screening. After your first appointment, when your next invite arrives will depend on your age and test result, but this is often every 3 or 5 years.
If you were invited for cervical screening but missed or did not book an appointment, you can contact your GP surgery.