AN inspirational great-grandmother put the pedal to the metal for a fantastic cause.

Sue Pollock, from Bridport, took on a triathlon for Dorset-based cancer support charity the GO Girls.

Sue, 72, finished the triathlon feeling only a little tired - and was straight back to the gym.

“We could not believe it when we heard that Sue was the oldest competitor in the Try a Triathlon," said Hilary Maxwell, chairman of GO Girls. “Sue is an inspiration for all women. She is helping us raise awareness of gynaecological cancers – an area that is so underfunded and so not talked about – we must create change to support future generations as women did for breast cancer."

Sue's phenomenal fundraising totalled £1,115 which will help support the charity's next £50,000 campaign to raise awareness of all five gynaecological cancers.

The charity's Jen Barron said: "We are lucky to have so many people that now want to take on personal challenges for GO Girls. Why? We might be smaller than some charities – but with no paid staff and just six dedicated trustees, all we raise goes to support our strategic objectives."

Next week marks the start of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week - and the GO Girls is urging women not to risk a diagnosis of cervical cancer by avoiding a screening test.

Dr Emma Crosbie, a member of the charity's clinical advisory team, has been undertaking some exciting research at the University of Manchester. Dr Crosbie says that whilst the Jade Goody effect had a significant impact in uptake of screening, this has not been sustained.

The research, supported by Manchester NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, has been looking at urine testing.

“Picking up the pre-cancerous stage is critical to cervical cancer prevention whether this is by cervical smears, self-collected vaginal samples and urine testing to assess for high risk HPV – the causative agent. Cervical cancer is most common in women aged 30-35, but equally the pre-cancerous stage can be picked up some five-10 years previously with one in 20 women showing abnormal changes. Failing to attend screening is potentially putting you at considerable risk," said Dr Crosbie

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide and one of the most preventable, thanks to the introduction of the cervical screening programme. However, it has reached a 20-year low in screening uptake. Treatment for the disease is radical and may involve a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These treatments can have severe impacts on women’s quality of life, affecting bowel and urinary function as well as sexuality.

This year, GO Girls, which support women with gynaecological cancers is the chosen charity of Porter Dodson, Bridport Branch. The team is working hard to raise funds to support an animation targeted at younger women to encourage the importance of attending cervical screening.

Amy Mowlam, legal advisor, said: “Our office is mostly young women – we all feel passionately about educating girls and young women on the importance of screening. We hope that the success of our animation will be shown in schools across the county, and country, to tell young girls that as they leave school and walk out to create a path in life, protecting your gynaecological health is an important part of your life plan – we are very excited to be supporting such an important project”

“In 99.7 per cent of cases, cervical cancers are caused by persistent infections with a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). We are now vaccinating against high risk types of this virus, which is helping in disease prevention but screening is still required. A 5-minute test has to be preferable to a cervical cancer, surely”, said Hilary.

“A disease that may affect younger women who may have young children. Most mothers want to be there for their children and we want them to be too, so much better to take 5 minutes to prevent a cancer than crossing your legs and hoping this will never happen."