It’s time to get screening rates on the rise again (Picture: REX, Getty)

It has been ten years since Big Brother star Jade Goody died at the age of 27.

The reality star was competing on the Indian version of Big Brother, Bigg Boss, when she received the results of a cervical smear test telling her that she had cervical cancer.

Six months later, the cancer has metastasized, and on 22 March 2009, the mum-of-two passed away – exactly one month after she tied the knot with Jack Tweed.

Goody’s tragic diagnosis and death led to a huge uptick in women booking in for their smear tests, with a 12% year on year increase seeing 400,000 women getting their check ups – including Hayley Prince, who discovered she had cancer when she was inspired to get a smear test by Jade.

Then Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘Jade’s bravery and openness in her fight against cervical cancer has brought home to young women across the country the importance of regularly going for these checks.’

Jade died seven months after her diagnosis (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

However, ten years on, women going for their regular check-ups – women between the ages of 25 and 49 should go every three years, and women between 50 and 64 should get one every five years – has dropped to a new low.

Cervical smear tests can identify abnormal cells that could potentially develop into cervical cancer, so it’s very important that you keep those appointments in your diaries. Sure, they may seem like they’re going to be painful, or embarrassing, but the slight discomfort is outweighed by the benefits.

And many celebs have joined the cause to encourage anyone with a cervix to look ater themselves.

Rebekah Vardy

Back in November, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! campmate Rebekah chose to take a picture from the bed in her doctor’s office as she prepared to have her smear test done.

Rebekah took pictures from inside the doctor’s office (Picture: Instagram)

The 37-year-old took a snap showing her legs beneath a blanket, and wrote: ‘I dread smear tests & I don’t even know why, so I wore my red jungle socks from @imacelebrity to my smear test today to remind me that if I can do a Bushtucker Trial and eat a sheep’s anus to win food, then I can certainly brave a smear test that could potentially be life saving and you can too!

‘More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, and nearly 900 die annually and yet 1 in 4 women skip cervical screening because of embarrassment. Don’t be a statistic ladies – GO FOR YOUR SMEAR TEST.’

Michelle Keegan

Michelle also chose to pose on the dreaded bed as she filmed the aftermath of her smear test, which she stressed was not painful, just uncomfortable.

The Our Girl actress wrote on Instagram: ‘It’s Time to talk Cervical Screening examinations… AKA the dreaded SMEAR (horrible word) test! I’m going to be honest with you all, I’ve had numerous letters come through my front door that I’ve pushed aside. I’ve also ignored my mums tiresome pleas telling me to book an appointment with my local GP …because 1) I used the excuse of being ‘too busy’ with work and life in general 2) let’s face its it’s bloody embarrassing to drop your knickers and open your legs in front of a total stranger 3) I was apprehensive thinking about the pain I was going to endure!

Michelle kept fans updated on her screening (Picture: Instagram)

‘However I finally got my finger out, (pardon the pun) and went to my appointment. My doctor was so lovely, I hopped onto the bed and it was over in less than 2 MINUTES!!! It was a tad uncomfortable but no means painful.’

The 31-year-old continued: ‘After doing some research I found that the number of women who should go for a test has dropped to an all time low in 20 years!!! Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, with some having no symptoms whatsoever. 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by having regular cervical screening, let me break this down for you…SMEAR TESTS SAVES LIVES.

‘My advice to you… STOP making excuses, book, and go for your bloody smear! A smear tests last 5 minutes the impact of cervical cancer lasts a life time! [sic]’

Nadia Sawalha

Loose Women star Nadia decided to film her smear test diary for the folks at ITV, and was commended for dismantling the embarrassment around the check-up.

Nadia was a year late for her check-up after putting it off repeatedly, but joined in on the #FaceYourSmear campaign to encourage other women to book in their screening.

Proving it was nothing to worry about, the 54-year-old said: ‘Have you done it? Is that it?How easy it is! It just takes seconds! I got my tests and I’m clear. It’s that worry, just get it done get it out the way.’

Cara Delevingne

Cara’s sister Chloe is the co-founder of the Lady Garden gynaecological cancer fund, so it’s no surprise that she was on board to promote the #SmearForSmear campaign.

Cara is among the supporters of #SmearForSmear (Picture: Instagram)

The model, 26, was one of the most high profile kickstarters of the social media campaign, which saw participants take a selfie with smeared lipstick to remind women to get their screenings booked.

Other stars who took part include Rita Ora, Myleene Klass and Vicky Pattison.

Chloe Delevingne

Speaking of the Delevingnes, Lady Garden co-founder Chloe put her money where her mouth is by undertaking a smear test live on TV.

The 33-year-old went on Victoria Derbyshire to have her check-up done, all while being interviewed.

Chloe got a smear test live on TV (Picture: BBC)

Now that’s mulit tasking.

Chloe said: ‘It is a bit nervewracking, but you just need to relax and talk to the doctor about it. It’s not painful, it’s just weird.’

Alex George

Love Island’s resident doctor has been using social media to encourage safe sex and talking about mental health, and also wants his female friends to book in their smear tests.

The reality star wrote on Instagram: ‘Smear tests can help prevent cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells before they develop further. Over 1 in 4 women don’t go for their screening tests and one of the reasons for the low uptake is thought to be due to concerns about what happens when you attend the appointment. If you’re feeling a little anxious or embarrassed about your smear test and it’s making you feel like you want to skip it, just know that you’re not alone.

Alex works in the NHS (Picture: Instagram)

‘Most women will have these thoughts about their routine test but it’s honestly not as scary as you might think. The nurses and doctors who perform the tests do hundreds each month so they are very used to it! If you’re thinking of skipping your smear test please talk to your GP about your concerns as smear tests can detect abnormal cells early and removing them can prevent cervical cancer.’

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. For more information, visit the website.

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