A new group has been set up in the West Country for those affected by cervical cancer.
The group is the first of its kind for the region and is for women dealing with cervical cancer, which kills around three UK women every day and sees one woman every three hours being diagnosed and facing an uncertain future.
Vikki Groves from Kingsdown and Naomi Willmott from Warmley have been trained by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the only dedicated UK charity for women and those close to them affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.
Vikki, 38, said: "A smear test in 2000 showed that I had abnormal cells that required treatment. Following this treatment a multitude of factors including living abroad and failing to join a new doctors, surgery on my return meant that I fell off the cervical screening programme and failed to get screened. Nine years later after suffering a massive bleed I was told I had cervical cancer and underwent a hysterectomy in 2009. It was devastating.
I know first hand the huge impact cervical cancer can have on both a woman's mental and physical state, and this support group will offer invaluable support to women who are on a similar journey. It will be a confidential place for them to meet others affected, talk about their own experiences or offer a haven for them to simply listen and gain support."
Naomi Willmott, 39, from Warmley, Bristol, will be a joint group leader after having cervical abnormalities and watching a close friend die of the disease.
"Thanks to cervical screening, when the doctor found abnormalities in my cervix they were successfully treated before they turned into cancerous cells. However my dealings with the disease did not end there as three years later my best friend Sarah, who I'd known since childhood, was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I watched her go through treatment offering support where I could but it would have been great if she had had a group like this one.
Just one year after her diagnosis Sarah passed away. I was devastated but determined to do something to help other women in the South West, going through a similar experience. I would urge anyone looking for help and support to get in contact and come to a group session."
Robert Music, Director of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "I know that this group will offer wonderful support to women affected by cervical cancer in this community. Women we have supported voiced a need for groups like this, and we are delighted that we can help extend our support network to the south west."
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