A CARDENDEN mum has spoken on the importance of going for a smear test after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer five years ago.

Speaking up for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Emma Hutt is now cancer-free and celebrates the milestone every August by throwing a party in her home for family and friends.

Having suffered two miscarriages before having daughter Bonnie in 2019, the Fife Council worker said she was around a year late getting her vital smear test done because of her pregnancy.

Central Fife Times:

"I was about a year away from when I should have had it," she told the Times. "I had just normal smears every couple of years so it was a massive shock if I am honest because my smears have always been ok. I didn't have many symptoms.

"If you look at some of the symptoms that cervical cancer has, mine was just I had a small lower back pain but I was training. I do a lot of training at the gym in Lochgelly, I am up there five or six times a week and I thought I had niggled it with the weights.

"I had seen a few physios and nothing seemed to shift it but it didn't over worry me. It was just niggling away."

After having her smear test in October 2019, Emma got a letter back saying abnormal cells had been detected and asked her to attend Queen Margaret Hospital for a biopsy.

"That was in the early December and it got sent away to wherever it goes and, at the time, I was reassured they do this all the time," she said.

"They were really really nice and I felt totally at ease. Still in the back of my mind, there was maybe something but I would say I was not that worried because I had no symptoms. If I did, maybe I would have worried a bit more.

"The results came back and I got a phone call to go in on December 30. It was quite a quick turn around and it was a phone call to ask me to come in and go over my results. I just went myself to the appointment. I had been and got the biopsy by myself and felt reassured and felt ok within myself.

"I had planned to go and get things as we were having a New Year's Eve party the next day. I said to my husband 'I will just go to the appointment and get everything I need to'. I didn't expect the news I got.

"He said 'I am going to tell you some news that is going to upset you'. The lady who was in the room came and sat next to me. He said they had found cancer cells but couldn't tell me anything more about that. He handed me a cervical cancer booklet and asked me if I could phone my husband."

After receiving the devastating news, Emma was called to go for an MRI scan in early January and soon received the news back that the tumour was under two centimetres and had stayed in her cervix.

Central Fife Times: Emma going through treatment after her cervical cancer diagnosis.Emma going through treatment after her cervical cancer diagnosis. (Image: Contributed)

"They never said it is going to be ok as they couldn't," she said. "They had said they wanted to take me in for a radical hysterectomy. I got a full hysterectomy and they moved my ovaries up by my rib cage as they didn't want me to go into menopause.

"They took 17 lymph nodes and everything else. They took a fair bit out. I went in for my surgery in the February and the surgery was a long one. It took six and a half to seven hours. I was under for quite a while and they struggled to wake me up so I was put in high dependency.

"I think it was the trauma."

Emma returned home to husband Lee and children Brody, now 10, and Bonnie, now 5, and, a week later, the country was placed into lockdown.

"I don't know if I would have had the surgery if I had been later as they shut everything down," she said.

"We got the results back and they said everything had been removed but they had a slight worry because the cancer cells were sitting next to the blood vessels so they said 'We would like to give you five weeks treatment so there is no risk of it coming back'."

Central Fife Times: Emma Hutt who has shared her story to raise awareness of cervical cancer with son Brody and daughter Bonnie.Emma Hutt who has shared her story to raise awareness of cervical cancer with son Brody and daughter Bonnie. (Image: Contributed)

Emma was put through gruelling chemotherapy, radiation and brachytherapy – a type of internal radiation – to ensure no cancer cells remained.

Although it thinned, her hair didn't fall out but she did suffer side effects, some of which – balance issues, scarring near her kidneys and a hernia type issue – she is still having to deal with.

"The final treatment was on June 7 and I got the all clear in August 2020 so every year on August 31, I throw a party to celebrate being cancer free.

"My appointments went to three months then six months and now they are down to yearly. I have got a lot of radiotherapy damage so they are just keeping an eye on me."

Central Fife Times: Emma Hutt who has shared her story to raise awareness of cervical cancer.Emma Hutt who has shared her story to raise awareness of cervical cancer. (Image: Contributed)

Having come through the experience, Emma is urging other women to ensure they get their scheduled smear tests and get checked if they have any concerns.

"I know what it is like to be a normal mum," she added. "People are so busy and it doesn't seem important if that makes sense. It takes five minutes and it saved my life.

"Because I had very little symptoms, that is the scariest part. It can just take hold."