Inspiring businesswoman Sian Louise shares her cancer story with the aim of helping others and normalising the conversation around smear tests

A WOMAN was diagnosed with cervical cancer – after attending her smear test four months early due to an admin error.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 10:00 am

Now businesswoman Sian Louise, 34, from Warsash has taken her experience as an opportunity to raise awareness for smear tests and encourage the conversation around cervical screenings.

Sian said: ‘I got my letter, and I go to my smear tests religiously. I've never had a bad one, never any bad cells or abnormalities or anything like that. So I went to this one and they said “Sian, you’ve been sent this in an error, you’re not actually due one for a good few months yet” so I said “well I’m here now so you might as well do it.” And thank goodness they did because they found a tumour on my cervix.’

A few weeks later, Sian returned for a colposcopy, a simple procedure which further examines the cervix if abnormal cells have been found from the initial smear test. Sian also had a biopsy during the procedure, which she said was a painless but emotional experience as it brought back difficult memories.

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Pictured: Sian Louise

She said: ‘It really isn't anything to be scared of and lots of women my age have had this done but don't talk about it. It didn’t hurt it was just a bit scary because it brought back a lot of memories from when I had my miscarriages.

‘Queen Alexandra Hospital has been incredible, I had the smear test in November then I had the colposcopy a couple of weeks later, I've had another operation to cut out some more to make sure all the cancer is out.

‘I’ve had an MRI scan and I’m due a CT scan just to make sure it hasn’t spread, then in six months’ time I’ll have another smear to make sure it’s all gone. Then I’m going to have a huge party to celebrate being cancer free.’

Sian’s said the experience had led her to finding her ‘purpose’ with her skincare business, Obvs Skincare, that she created in the middle of 2021.

Pictured: Sian Louise

Sian said: ‘Just before the first lockdown in 2020, I did my second round of IVF. Unfortunately, it resulted in a second miscarriage, and it gave me the absolute worse adult acne. I tried everything on the market, the doctors were prescribing me stuff with all sorts of chemicals in them. So I thought, why don’t I have a look at the ingredients and see if I can make something myself?

‘I did loads of research and a few courses regarding formulation and biochemistry. I formulated a cream and after lots of failures, it actually worked. It got rid of my acne within a week. My friend had just had a baby who was suffering with really bad nappy rash and she asked to give my cream a go, and overnight the nappy rash began to heal, so that was a turning point for me.’

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Never intending for her hobby to turn into a business, Sian realised through helping her friend’s son that her creams had the potential to help others.

She said: ‘That’s what I do it for, to change people’s lives like that. With the cancer I know I’m going to be fine, there’s no other option, I have to be because I need to keep making creams that help little babies. I truly believe that my purpose now is to make these creams for people with skin concerns that want to choose a natural healing method. It’s not about making money, it's to help as many people as I can.’

Sian hopes that through sharing her story, she can encourage others to talk about their own experiences and reduce the taboos surrounding cervical screenings, miscarriages and IVF.

‘I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. It’s just another negative which I’m planning on talking about to make another positive. The positives I got out of my miscarriages were that I raised a whole load of money by talking about my experiences for The Miscarriage Association. It opened up conversations with people that I had no idea had miscarriages, and especially with the IVF as well, it’s such a taboo subject with some people.’

In the UK, the minimum age for cervical screenings is 25, with invitations for the first test being sent up to six months before the patient’s 25th birthday.

In England, invitations are then sent every three years between the ages of 25 and 49, after which the time period is extended to every five years. In other parts of the UK, the tests are every five years from the age of 25, which Sian thinks is not regular enough.

She said: ‘My smear test two and a half years ago was absolutely fine, no abnormalities. The doctors said to me “Sian if you had left it a few more months it could have developed into stage two” so it just shows that people need to go to their smears. I had no symptoms at all.’

A few weeks ago, Sian was told that she is now cancer free. She plans to have a short break before celebrating with family and friends.

For more information, visit nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/.

For 2020/2021 in England:

3.03m individuals aged 25 to 64 were tested

This was a decrease of 5.3 per cent on the previous year, when 3.20m were tested

4.59m individuals aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening

This was a decrease of one per cent on the previous year, when 4.63m were invited

70.2 per cent of eligible individuals aged 25 to 64 were adequately screened

This was a two per cent decrease on the previous year, when coverage was 72.2 per cent

The target for testing coverage is 80 per cent.

Cervical screening coverage statistics amongst 25-49 year olds

Q2 2021/22

63.6 per cent coverage in Portsmouth

73.8 per cent coverage in Hampshire

67.4 per cent coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 111th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 31st in national ranking

Q1 2021/22

64.4 per cent coverage in Portsmouth

74.4 per cent coverage in Hampshire

68.1 per cent coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 111th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 31st in national ranking

Compared to the same quarters in the previous year

Q2 2020/21

63.4 per cent coverage in Portsmouth

73.7 per cent coverage in Hampshire

67.4 per cent coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 113th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 28th in national ranking

Q1 2020/21

64.2% coverage in Portsmouth

74.8% coverage in Hampshire

68.5% coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 114th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 26th in national ranking

Cervical screening coverage statistics amongst 50-64 year olds

Q2 2021/22

71.3% coverage in Portsmouth

77.1% coverage in Hampshire

74.5% coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 121st in national ranking

Hampshire placed 24th in national ranking

Q1 2021/22

71.6% coverage in Portsmouth

77.2% coverage in Hampshire

74.7% coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 119th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 22nd in national ranking

Compared to the same quarters in the previous year

Q2 2020/21

72.1% coverage in Portsmouth

77.2% coverage in Hampshire

75% coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 117th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 23th in national ranking

Q1 2020/21

72.5% coverage in Portsmouth

77.6% coverage in Hampshire

75.5% coverage nationally

Portsmouth placed 120th in national ranking

Hampshire placed 24th in national ranking