St Helens cancer survivor’s message for other women

Angelica (right) with friend Karen Jarvis, with whom she set up charity Bike for Boobs to raise money for other peoples cancer treatment. Picture: Stephen Sheridan
Angelica (right) with friend Karen Jarvis, with whom she set up charity Bike for Boobs to raise money for other peoples cancer treatment. Picture: Stephen Sheridan

Angelica Fenney was just 27 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and told she only had a 40 per cent of survival.

Now over a decade later - and countless bouts of treatment - Angelica, who is from Parr in St Helens, is sharing her story in the hope of highlighting the importance of smear tests.

The 39-year-old was speaking as part of cervical screening awareness week.

She said: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 17. Alongside the treatment I had regular smear tests.

“This test found an abnormality and my consultant asked to see me. My sister came with me for support. When I was told I had cervical cancer, and the only way to treat it was through a full hysterectomy. I couldn’t comprehend, I was only 27 and I didn’t know anything about cervical cancer.

“I just started crying and I left, I went to Norfolk carrying on with work, pretending that it wasn’t happening to me, but soon enough I broke down and I decided to have the hysterectomy.

“I was only given a 40 per cent survival rate. The most upsetting thing about having the hysterectomy is the fact that I can’t have children, and they weren’t able to save any of my eggs. But without it, I wouldn’t be here today.

“My sister was definitely a big support, and what’s spurred me on is supporting cancer charities and then setting my own up with my friend Karen who’s also been through cancer.

“Our charity is called Bike for Boobs and we do a lot of cycling activities like spinathons to raise money for people’s cancer treatment, but we also raise awareness of different cancers.

“I did lose my confidence, especially when it came to my modelling career; I couldn’t face it - but then I got involved with Models of Diversity and that really boosted my confidence and I’m now modelling again.

“I think smear tests are so important. If I had ignored mine I wouldn’t be here today. I would say to all ladies out there who have received their invite, go do it, it only takes five minutes, and it might feel a bit embarrassing, but I’m sure there are things that are more embarrassing than that, and it could potentially save your life.”

For more information about cervical cancer and smear tests, please visit the Jo’s Trust website: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/

For regular updates on work being carried out by Bike for Boobs, ‘like’ their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bikeforboobs/ - or follow them on Twitter: @BikeforBoobs