Mandip Gill and Tamsin Greig back campaign to encourage smear tests

They are trying to reverse the decline in young women going for tests.

Doctor Who star Mandip Gill, Countdown’s Rachel Riley and Episodes actress Tamsin Greig are among the stars backing a campaign encouraging women to get smear tests.

The #SmearForSmear campaign by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust aims to reverse the decline in the number of young women going for tests and is timed to coincide with cervical cancer prevention week.

Greig appears in the charity’s new short film to tackle some of the reasons women do not go for testing.

She said: “Millions of women are invited for smear tests every year. They save lives but it’s completely normal to feel scared or anxious.

“Whatever your question or concern, no matter how big or small, another woman will have felt the same. You aren’t alone.

“Don’t put your test off, instead talk to your nurse, or someone you trust.”

Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley has backed the campaign (Peter Powell/PA)

The charity is encouraging women to share photographs of themselves on social media with smeared lipstick as part of the campaign.

Last year more than 200 celebrities took part by sharing selfies.

Research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that women who delay or miss tests cite embarrassment, fear it will hurt and not knowing how to talk to a stranger about intimate body parts as among the reasons for not going.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy.

“We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.

“Our research has again highlighted the urgent need for making the programme more patient-focused.

“We want to see self-sampling being made available as well as more flexible locations for women to attend. It’s vital women have more control otherwise we will see attendance continue to fall and diagnoses of this often-preventable cancer increase.”

Cervical cancer prevention week runs from January 21-27 2019.

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