Bride-to-be’s death at 26 brings plea for earlier cancer testing

The grieving mother and fiancée of a 26-year-old woman who died from cervical cancer are calling on the Government to lower the age patients can be screened.

They are trying to raise awareness of the disease and hope Becky Perryman’s death will alert people to the fact it can strike at any age.

Becky, from Hull, succumbed to cancer after a two-year fight – just two weeks before she was due to be married.

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She was tested aged 19 and 22, but discovered she had cervical cancer in June 2009, before having a further test.

The administrator underwent chemotherapy and beat the first bout of cancer, getting the all-clear in February 2010. But three months later she began complaining of a pain, and tests revealed the cancer had returned requiring more treatment.

Mother Liz, of Hull, said: “The way this cancer attacked my daughter was evil and wicked. It robbed her of everything.

“She was a bubbly, fun-loving and active young woman who loved to go out and dance. She was always doing something or going somewhere. From that this cancer reduced her to walking with a limp, then using a stick then finally a wheelchair.

“It made her so weak she struggled to lift her legs up and she couldn’t do simple things such as dress herself. It was frightening and heartbreaking to see.

“To see my daughter, who was my world, lose everything makes you so upset and angry.”

She said the increase in screening age made her “furious” and claimed it was “bizarre” that patients are screened at different ages in different parts of the UK.

“This shouldn’t happen to a young girl of her age,” she said. “When the cancer returned for the second time the doctors said it was highly unusual for it to return in someone so young.

“We were both furious about the screening age being lifted from 20 to 25 when we found Becky had cancer.

“It’s bizarre that if you’re a young lass and you live in Wales, Scotland or Ireland you can be tested but if you live in England you normally have to wait until you’re 25, it doesn’t make any sense.”

She was due to marry sweetheart Danny Ward, 32, on September 3. The couple had been together for seven-and-a-half years after meeting in a nightclub.

Painter and decorator Danny said: “She went through hell, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through what she had to. She was determined to beat cancer but it just chopped away at her. She would be tired all the time and was regularly being sick.

“After she first got cancer the doctors told her that it was very, very unlikely she would be able to have kids which was probably the most upsetting thing for her because she loved kids and we wanted kids.

“We had arranged to get married and we both couldn’t wait, it was going to be the happiest day of our lives.

“She was brilliant, so bubbly and always had a smile on her face. Before her illness she was so active. We moved in together and she wanted to do everything, she was painting, decorating and putting shelves and things up. She had everything just as she wanted.”

Reality TV star Jade Goody died from cervical cancer in March 2009 – just a month before Becky started showing symptoms. Despite a high-profile campaign the Government has refused to lower the age limit.

Danny said: “When Jade Goody died this issue about screening was very high-profile but it all went quiet. It needs to be highlighted again. Whatever people thought of Jade it raised awareness and that’s what we need. This can strike at any age.”