Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has shown her support for Cervical Cancer Awareness Week by joining Jo's Cancer Trust in championing #SmearforSmear.
Research shows that cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 in the UK, but smear test uptake is at a 21-year low in England, with Lincolnshire only just above the national average at 74.8%.
Women may put off their smear for a range of reasons, as Victoria Atkins acknowledges: ''It is natural to be apprehensive about a cervical screening, but it only takes five minutes and it could save your life.''
''I strongly encourage all women in my constituency to go to their smears when invited. It is not going to be anywhere near as bad as you might be imagining.''
Young women and girls are also strongly encouraged to get the HPV vaccine, which helps to prevent cervical cancer and a range of other HPV-related cancers.
Victoria said, ''I am encouraged that the uptake of the HPV vaccine in Lincolnshire is 87.1%, but there is still some way to go. If you are aged 12-18 and haven't heard about it through your school or nurse, please contact your local GP to enquire about it. It is really important that we continue to push for 100% uptake on both the vaccine and the smear. Please don't put them off!''
You can find more information about Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, cervical screenings and HPV vaccinations at https://www.jostrust.org.uk/. Please contact your GP if you have concerns about your feminine health.