Prime Minister Theresa May wants you to know she’s had a smear test. And while we’d be more surprised if she hadn’t had a smear test (she is 62, after all), we do support her intentions.
The PM was sharing her experience to encourage more women to attend cervical screening, at a time when uptake for appointments is at a 21-year low.
Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday 23 January, she said: “I, as a Prime Minister, can stand here and say this – I know what it’s like to go through a cervical smear test.
“It is not comfortable. Sometimes, for some, it will be embarrassing, sometimes it’s painful, but those few minutes can save lives, so I would encourage all women to take up their smear tests.”
May’s rally came after Conservative MP Rachel Maclean urged May to encourage women to attend appointments. Maclean said 10 years ago, her own smear test flagged abnormalities, which could have developed into cervical cancer if left untreated.
Earlier this week, research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust revealed among women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening, nervousness is the key factor holding them back.
The majority report feeling scared (71%) and vulnerable (75%) at the thought of going. Embarrassment also remains high (81%), while a worrying two thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.
Worried about taking the plunge? Read our no-holds-barred guide to having your first smear test.