Women are being urged to attend their smear tests in a campaign launched today after take-up hit a 20-year low.
The check-ups detect abnormal cells that could develop into cervical cancer, which kills around 690 women a year in England alone.
But one in four do not go due to embarrassment.
Loose Women star Christine Lampard, 40, fronting the Public Health England campaign, called Cervical Screening Saves Lives, said: “I can’t say I’m thrilled when my cervical screening invite arrives but it’s an awkward five minutes that could save your life.”
Around 2,600 are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in England.
Some 83% of cases could be prevented if all eligible women were screened regularly – but just 71.4% are adequately tested, according to NHS Digital.
Young women in particular put off tests as they are embarrassed and do not know what to expect, polls found.
Prof Anne Mackie of PHE, said: “It’s a major concern.”