A 21-year-old has died of cervical cancer after symptoms were dismissed as growing pains by doctors.

At 17, Kirstie Wilson had begged to be referred to a specialist after her concerns were dismissed by her GP three times.

It was only then she received the smear test that confirmed her fears. But despite having surgery and being given the all-clear, the disease returned, spreading to her liver and spleen.

Miss Wilson, who died on Sunday, said in January: "I had all the symptoms of cervical cancer but because I was 17, doctors ignored my concerns. I was bleeding in between periods and I was in agony, but doctors diagnosed me with thrush and growing pains.

"I knew there was something seriously wrong. It took four months of going back to my GP before I was given a smear test. A test when I first visited might have saved my life."

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After she was diagnosed in May 2012, she had most of her cervix removed. The operation was a success and she was cancer free for nearly two years.

"I had smear tests every three months and every time they came back normal," Miss Wilson said.

But in April last year, her stomach became bloated. She said: "I looked eight months pregnant and was struggling to breathe."

A biopsy confirmed the cancer was back. But after three months of chemotherapy, a scan revealed that her tumours were not shrinking because she had become immune to the drugs.

There was no other treatment on Britain's NHS, so she was advised to make a 'bucket list' of things she wanted to do. Instead, she decided to continue fighting the disease - but a new treatment at University College London Hospital failed to save her.

Miss Wilson's father, Gary, 52, a banker, said: "Right up until the end she was positive, fighting. She was one in a million."

Britain's NHS offers a free cervical screening test to all women aged 25-64 every three to five years. But it is not offered routinely to women under 25 because cervical cancer is so rare at that age.

In New Zealand, the National Cervical Screening Programme is offered to women aged 20-70.

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- Daily Mail

To find out more about cervical screening options in New Zealand click here: