Natasha Sale (pictured) has died after she fought to have the cervical cancer screening age lowered from 25 to 18
A young mother who led a campaign for the cervical cancer screening age to be lowered has died aged 31.
Brave Natasha Sale launched an online petition which called for the screening age to be reduced from 25 to 18.
The mother-of-four died on December 28th in Torbay Hospital in Devon, six days after her 31st birthday, following a two-year battle with the disease.
Mrs Sale, from Chudleigh, endured 25 rounds of radiotherapy and six chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer.
She was given the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her peritoneum and lung and was incurable three months after her treatment.
Despite being given just 12 months to live in August 2018, her condition quickly deteriorated.
As she fought cancer, she lobbied the Government about the screening age and to raise awareness, garnering more than 78,000 signatures in an online petition. If it reaches more than 100,000 it will be considered for debate in Parliament.
The brave mother of four (pictured in hospital) has died just six days after celebrating her 31st birthday
Mrs Sale said in August: ‘By reducing the age of smear tests and cervical screening today we can save lives, we can tackle cell changes early and prevent cervical cancer.’
‘If I can do anything with my life I want to make this change happen. It’s too late for me but it’s not too late for the next generation of young ladies.’
Natasha Sale (pictured, right, and, left, with her four children) was described as an inspiration for her campaigning
Her friends and fellow campaigners adopted the name Natasha’s Army and promoted the slogan ‘lose the fear, take the smear’.
They described Mrs Sale as ‘inspirational and brave’.
Amanda Scott wrote online that Mrs Sale was a ‘warrior who fought long and hard’.
‘It absolutely breaks my heart to be writing this and never thought in a million years you’d be taken from us my beautiful best friend Natasha grew her wings and passed away peacefully 6:08am yesterday surrounded by the people who truly loved her,’ she wrote.
‘We have grown up since nursery my true life long friend.
‘I still can’t get my head around it and doesn’t seem real, God only takes the best and you was an absolute warrior you fought long and hard and proved many wrong time and time again.
‘You were an inspiration and such a caring beautiful women, always helping others and worried about others more then yourself when you were going through such a tough time.
‘You were the best mother to your four beautiful children who will never forget you and will always be reminded of what a legend you were.
Natasha Sale (pictured) bravely battled the disease while also using the few months she had left to campaign for reform
‘I have many years of memories I will forever cherish, I’ve been privileged to have you as my best friend and having you in my life.
‘I could write so many things but everyone already knows what a woman you are, sleep tight my beautiful angel.’
She leaves behind husband Dean and children Josh, 12, Ella, 11, Lily, nine and four-year-old Oakley.
Mrs Sale described her children’s bravery as she neared the end, saying: ‘They are fantastic.
‘They respect it when I’m not feeling well and keep the noise down and are being so positive.’
WHAT IS CERVICAL CANCER? AND HOW DO SMEARS TESTS WORK?
A smear test detects abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus from the vagina. Removing these cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Most test results come back clear, however, one in 20 women show abnormal changes to the cells of their cervix.
Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, destroyed to stop cancer developing.
Cervical cancer most commonly affects sexually-active women aged between 30 and 45.
In the UK, the NHS Cervical Screening Programme invites women aged 25-to-49 for a smear every three years, those aged 50 to 60 every five years, and women over 65 if they have not been screened since 50 or have previously had abnormal results.
Women must be registered with a GP to be invited for a test.
In the US, tests start when women turn 21 and are carried out every three years until they reach 65.
Changes in cervical cells are often caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be transmitted during sex.