Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 00:27 UK

'Deadly disease took my daughter'

Shelley
Shelley had got married a year before she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Denise Burgin's daughter Shelley, an occupational therapist in Dundee, died from cervical cancer in 2007 at the age of 27, just nine months after being diagnosed.

Mrs Burgin, from Dollar in Clackmannanshire, explains, in her own words, about the devastation the illness caused.

I think actually the first thing she complained of was abnormal bleeding, but because she was newly married and on the contraceptive pill, the GP just thought that she needed a change of pill, which is what happened.

Shelley rang me from work one day and said 'Mum, I just can't carry on with this, it's making it difficult for me to go to work.' She just knew something was wrong.

She went for her private appointment. It was a beautiful sunny day in June.

I dropped her off and everything seemed fine. She went to meet her husband. We were going out with friends that night and she rang us up, as you can imagine with quite a devastated cry to say that she'd been told she had advanced cervical cancer.

She didn't fall into any of the risk categories. She certainly wasn't promiscuous, she didn't smoke, she ate healthily and she was very into exercise.

It was devastating, absolutely. It was just like everything was spinning and it was as if the whole world had imploded and it's never, ever been the same since and it never will be. It's a devastating disease.

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Mrs Burgin on Shelley's cancer fight

It was unremitting, and it was from the start of her treatment. The chemotherapy, the radiotherapy, the insertion of radium rods into her vagina which was extremely painful.

And she never had any remission. She died nine months after the diagnosis.

She died here at home with us and was very, very courageous in the way she coped, but she definitely didn't want to die and if only we could have had the vaccine when she was 12, I feel she probably would still be alive.

I can understand parents being worried [about the vaccine]. We're of the generation that the children have had so many immunisations and vaccinations for a variety of illnesses, but what you have to realise is this is a deadly virus and it does kill.

Please take the vaccine. It's a fantastic breakthrough and just do it.

If we can help just one other person and prevent them having to go through what we went through then her death would not have been in vain.




SEE ALSO
Schools start cancer vaccinations
31 Aug 08 |  Scotland


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