Mary's cancer petition in memory of her niece
A woman has launched a petition to make it easier to get cervical cancer screening after making a promise to her dying niece.
Mary Cort wants the age at which women can get routine NHS screening for the disease lowered from 25 to 20.
Her niece Maryanne Makepeace, from Braunstone Town, Leicester, died from the cancer in October, aged just 23.
It was not diagnosed until just after Maryanne's 22nd birthday by which time it was too far developed to be successfully treated.
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Mary, from Sileby, said: "Maryanne first went to her doctor feeling ill when she was 21 and was told she had an infection and nothing more. The alarm bells did not ring.
"The cancer was not diagnosed until much later when it was at stage three and far too advanced for her to have a hysterectomy.
"She hadn't been tested because she was too young.
"If she had been, there may have been time to stop the cancer spreading. If caught early, it is treatable. Maryanne should still be with us."
Maryanne died in October, leaving her daughters Abi, six, and Leah, three, to be looked after by her younger sister Kerry.
Mary said: "She was battling so bravely against the disease and was very ill and worried about what would happen with her girls when she was gone.
"I promised her I would do everything I could to raise awareness about the issue and try to stop any more families being torn apart.
"She said she hoped something good could come out of her struggle and if we can get the rules changed and save the lives of young women then at least we will have done that for her."
Mary hopes to present the petition to Prime Minister David Cameron.
During her illness, Maryanne lived for a time in Woodhouse Eaves and Mary is being supported in her campaign by the village's MP Nicky Morgan.
Mrs Morgan said: "This is the most tragic story because we have the death of a young woman which may have been prevented had she been able to get NHS testing from 20.
"The NHS is about early intervention in illness and it seems eminently sensible to lower the age.
"At the moment, the Government has its policy but if enough people campaign and sign petitions hopefully we can get a rethink.
Mrs Morgan said she would try to arrange for Mary to take the Petition to Downing Street once a good number of signatures had been collected.
The Department of Health says routine screening is offered from the age of 25 because of a review carried out by the Independent Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening, in 2009.
A department spokesman said: "That is the age recommended by leading experts, including the World Health Organisation."
To sign the petition visit: