CONEL Alumnus Mek Mehmet-Yesil studied Access to HE: Nursing in 2017 and is now the NHS’s representative for North London and Haringey, raising awareness of HPV and cervical cancer. Mek returned in May to talk to the current Enfield Access and Pre-Access learners about her work in this area. 

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 representing 7.5% of all female cancer deaths. It is estimated that there are more than 311,000 deaths from cervical cancer every year. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives and some may be repeatedly infected.

Working alongside Public Health England, Mek has been raising awareness for HPV and cervical cancer for four months, screening over 400 patients in this short time.

Mek said, “I’ve always wanted to be a Scientist in health, and biology and chemistry were my favourite subjects. I graduated from medical school back in 1990 but never pushed my career forward due to unforeseen circumstances. At the age of 45 I revisited my education with outstanding grades, many of which were distinctions. 

“This has been such an amazing journey after my one year Access to HE: Nursing course at CONEL in 2017.  I set up Health Screen UK back in February 2017 as I noticed there was a need for this service, especially in the deprived non-English community. The service consists of checking bloods, for people’s cholesterol levels, body mass index and diabetes. I have done several community events this year already.

“My daughter was taken ill because of the HPV virus so I conducted some research and was taken up by Public Health England in March this year to educate and spread awareness about this preventable disease. 

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“Since studying at CONEL I have gone on to study a Masters course in Cardiology along with Human Sciences.” – Mek Mehmet-Yesil

“Attending CONEL gave me a new sense of life again, although most of the students were half my age it didn’t deter me. It was quite energising. It’s never too late to re-educate one’s self and there are no barriers involved. I felt complete after the course.”

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