A CARE home cook has been sharing her experience of cervical cancer as part of a national awareness raising week.
Yvonne Gibson, who works at The Oaks Care Home, in Blyth, Northumberland, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer five months ago.
Despite being on long-term sick leave, she decided to visit work to talk to the staff about the importance of going for cervical screening.
Her talk coincided with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2019, promoted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to educate others on reducing their risk of the disease.
Yvonne said: “No one thinks it will happen to them. It takes five minutes of your time to have your smear test and I can’t express enough how important it is to do so.
“It has been an exhausting five months going for treatments and I have been very lucky that I am on the road to recovery.
“I am looking forward to returning to work mid Feb.”
Natalie Brimelow, activities coordinator at The Oaks Care Home, said: “I am Yvonne’s niece and watching your family go through this is emotionally draining – some people are not as lucky.
“It is amazing what the NHS do for people suffering from cancer. Five minutes of your time could save your life.
“Yvonne is an inspiration and it was so kind of her to come and talk to us about her journey and express how important it is to attend for a smear.”
After her talk, Yvonne also went around each of the residents to give them hugs, as her visit also fell on National Hug Day.
Resident Marilyn Harwood said: “Yvonne is a brave lady to be coming back to work so soon. She looks brilliant for fighting cancer.
“It has been a lovely afternoon celebrating her upcoming return to work.”
Ann Mielnik, home manager, added: “I am so proud of Yvonne. She has gone through such a harrowing time, but she has remained so positive throughout her journey.
“She is so eager to get back to work and has greatly missed everyone as we have missed her.
“I cannot thank her enough for helping us out with what is a very difficult subject to talk about.”
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme aims to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer.
All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening every three years if aged between 25 and 49 and every five years if aged between 50 and 64. Women over 65 receive screening if they have recently had abnormal tests.
To find out more cervical screening, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening.