Alexandria mum battling cervical cancer urges others not to put off smear tests

Carrie Henderson has been diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer with family members
-Credit: (Image: Lennox Herald)

A Levenvale mum battling cervical cancer has urged people to attend smear tests - stressing “it only takes a minute but could save your life.”

Carrie Henderson was heartbreakingly told she had just 18 months to live at the age of 39 after the disease spread to her lymph nodes.

Since her diagnosis she has dedicated herself to bravely raising awareness through a series of raw TikTok videos she hopes will help save lives.

And Carrie spoke out last week, urging women to attend smear test appointments as the country marked Cervical Cancer Screening Week.

The mum-of-five told the Lennox: “I was one of those people who read stories and always thought that it wouldn’t happen to me. I thought it would just happen to other people.

“I want people to know this does kill. And this does happen. People need to take heed and know that smears are the only thing that will detect this quick enough to save your life.

“It’s like going in for a jag. That’s how quick and simple it is. You don’t feel anything, it’s a quick process.

“It’s something that takes a minute and could save your life. It’s that simple.”

Carrie Henderson, 39, was given just 12-18 months to live after the devastating diagnosis last month - just four months after being given the all-clear.
Carrie is fighting on for the sake of her young family. -Credit:Lennox Herald

Carrie was diagnosed in September 2022 after suffering with heavy bleeding 18 months after having her son, Paul.

She had also started experiencing extreme fatigue, regular urine and ear infections, a low mood and a shooting pain down her leg.

Carrie said she felt something was seriously wrong and said it was initially put down to postnatal depression and weight gain, before medics made the devastating discovery of incurable cancer.

However she now hopes to have more time to make memories with her family, as she starts immunotherapy this week.

Carrie explained: “They are starting me on immunotherapy which was off the table during chemo, but now that is back on the table. So I’ve been accepted for that and will start it this week.

“If that works then it can add an extra two years to my life expectancy. It’s given me a real boost, but I’m so scared at the same time because it feels like everything is riding on it working.

“You don’t want to get your hopes up. But you need that hope to keep pushing on.

“My message to anyone starting their journey is never to give up. Miracles do happen. There is always hope.

“I still have the hope that I’m going to live, I still need to have that.

“It’s a scary road, but you can fight it and you can beat it.”

Carrie Henderson has been diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer with family members
Carrie has dedicated herself to raising awareness of the importance of smear tests. -Credit:Lennox Herald

And she said that raising awareness to prevent others ending up in her situation is keeping her strong as she battles the condition.

“Through this there is not a lot of joy, let’s be honest. There is a lot of misery and sadness,” she added.

“But the only bit of joy I get is spreading awareness and saving lives. As well as making memories with my family, I feel as if it’s my life’s mission to make sure that I get the message out there.

“I speak to a lot of younger girls in my position. And that’s heartbreaking.

“There’s no need for them to be in that position. And it’s all because they have felt uncomfortable or are scared of the unknown.

“There should be a lot more about smear tests in school. It’s something that should be a lot more visible. So why not show girls in high school what a smear test entails to prepare them for adulthood?”

Carrie’s TikTok is @carriehenderson3.