Rebekah Vardy has been praised for highlighting the importance of smear tests as the number of women being screened for cervical cancer dropped to a 21-year low.
The reality TV star and wife of footballer Jamie Vardy shared a post about her smear test in November that divided opinion among some, but that was hailed by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust for raising awareness.
Vardy, who appeared on I’m A Celebrity in 2017, shared a picture of her legs on a bed before her screening, and alongside it she 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!”
Quoting a statistic from Jo’s Trust, Vardy added: “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.”
The trust’s chief executive Robert Music told the BBC at the time that the charity was “really pleased to see Becky sharing her smear test experience”.
He said: “We want women to know they’re not alone if they feel worried about going for their smear test and that there’s also lots of support available to help them feel more comfortable when they go for their appointment.”
Vardy is one of many celebrities who have spoken out about the importance of attending a smear test.
The number of women going for smear tests rocketed after the death of reality star Jade Goody in 2009 but the uptake of cervical screenings plunged to a new low last year.
Goody had campaigned to raise awareness of the importance of having a cervical screening before she died and now other stars are highlighting the cause.
Michelle Keegan last year shared a string of videos on Instagram in which she talked about having her test done and how she would frequently ignore letters and pleas from her mother to book an appointment with her doctor.
Keegan said she had used the excuse of being too busy and thought it was embarrassing to have to “drop your knickers and open your legs in front of a total stranger”.
But she said she went to her appointment despite her fears, it lasted less than two minutes and was not painful.
The Our Girl actress said she was horrified to learn cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, with some having no symptoms whatsoever.
A number of other stars, including supermodel Cara Delevingne, actress Kate Beckinsale, Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent, Strictly Come Dancing’s Dr Ranj Singh and TV stars Stacey Solomon and Vicky Pattison are among those who supported Jo’s Trust’s recent #SmearForSmear campaign on social media.
Delevingne shared a picture of herself with her lipstick smeared across her face in a bid to raise awareness of the drive.
Along with her post on Instagram in January, Beckinsale wrote: “I’m supporting @joscervicalcancertrust with a #SmearForSmear selfie because smear tests prevent cervical cancer but attendance is at an all-time low.
“If your test is overdue, you can find tips and support at jostrust.org.uk/smearforsmear.”