A woman who died of cervical cancer had repeatedly asked for tests to diagnose the disease, her brother has said.
Amber Cliff, 25, first asked for smears when she was 21 because she was worried about bleeding and pains she was experiencing in her stomach, but was told she wasn’t old enough.
Health officials state that tests on women under 25 are often unreliable and may lead to unnecessary procedures.
Ms Cliff eventually paid for a private test however tragically died on Sunday. She underwent chemotherapy but the disease had spread to her lungs and throat.
Her brother Josh has now collected over 35,000 signatures in an online petition that urges the NHS to make smear tests available for anyone who asks for one.
Speaking to the BBC he said:
“We had a really nice Christmas and everyone was so happy. Amber was laughing and making jokes - then two weeks later she passed away.
“You can sit and grieve or do something about it.
“The problem is there are no guidelines - every GP seems to be different - we’ve had some say they would have given her a smear because of her symptoms.
“We’d like there to be a guideline right across the board, regardless of age, that women with certain symptoms can have a test.”
A spokesman for the Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees GPs in the area Ms Cliff lived in, has said:
“We are very sorry to hear about the loss of Amber and our thoughts are with her family and friends.
“We encourage women over the age of 25 to attend for their regular cervical screening test and we would always advise women of any age to seek advice from their GP or sexual health clinic if they experience symptoms like abdominal pain or unexpected bleeding.”
A spokesperson for Public Health England added: “The routine cervical screening programme is for women who, at the time of taking the test, are not known to have any cervical cancer related symptoms.
“Changes in the bodies of women aged under 25 mean that routine screening can often produce false test results, which can in turn lead to procedures which do them more harm than good.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further where the full medical history is not known.”