Susan Grimshaw, 47, of Benfield Crescent, Wombwell, was diagnosed with breast cancer last October. Women are not offered screenings for the disease until they are 50.
Just a week after the diagnosis a CT scan gave Susan the horrific news that the cancer had spread to her bones and lungs, and had become inoperable.
“I knew straight away with the look the doctor gave me,” she said. “I screamed the place down, I went into total meltdown and just couldn’t believe it.
“And then I pulled myself together, and started to process it.
“I thought, this shouldn’t be happening. Through doing research online and talking to people I made a lot of friends who were in the same position.”
Susan is three years below the age at which women start being regularly asked to go to their GP for mammograms - and she says if she hadn’t got checked when she did, she would ‘not make it to 50’.
The petition proposes to lower the age that women are offered mammograms from 50 to 30, as Susan doesn’t want women to end up in the same position as her - or worse - because they didn’t get checked soon enough.
“My future is really uncertain,” said Susan. “But if I can help anybody at all so they don’t go through what I have then I’ll have made a difference.
“It seems like the women who get diagnosed are getting younger and younger, and the screening age has stayed the same.
“At 50, women have gone through pregnancies and raised children, they’ve gone through all sorts of changes.
“Why are we leaving it so late?”
Susan takes a combination of tablets every day and has fortnightly injections, and attends appointments at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield every four weeks.
“I didn’t even know you could get secondary breast cancer,” she said. “Cervical screening gets much more attention.
“It’s a horrible thing living with that uncertainty but I’m being positive - there’s nothing else I can do.”
Susan decided to channel that positivity into action, setting up the petition last weekend after reading Coun Margaret Sheard’s account of her own breast cancer treatment in last week’s Chronicle.
Susan said: “It’s making me feel better, I’m checking the phone every two minutes to see how it’s doing.
“It’s very weird, I’m so fit and well. I feel like I did before.
“You have got to think you’re going to be one of the people who lives for years.
“I’m responding well to treatment so we’ll see the results in March when I go for another scan.”
Coun Sheard, who was diagnosed with breast cancer 23 years ago, has also appealed for the screening age to be lowered and has pledged her support to get Susan’s petition off the ground.
“I think 50 is too high as there are women being diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20s, their 30s and their 40s, and it’s very much up to them to seek help when they find out,” said Coun Sheard.
The petition has already had more than 1,200 signatures, and although this is still a far cry from the 10,000 needed for the government to respond, Susan is hopeful it can make a difference.
“Think about what you’re doing by signing this petition this is someone’s mother, daughter or sister and you’re helping to prevent them going through all this,” she said.
“If you catch it early enough there’s a good chance of survival.
“If I had been diagnosed early I’d have been in a very good position. Any later and I definitely wouldn’t make it to 50.
“It only takes two minutes to sign, think about how many lives it could save.”
The petition can be found here.