Viewers have today praised the BBC for showing a woman having a cervical smear test live on air.
Chloe Delevingne – sister of the supermodel Cara – had her cervix swabbed live on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme this morning.
The segment was shown as part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, after alarming figures realised earlier this week revealed smear test uptake is at an all-time low.
Chloe Delevingne (pictured) – sister of the supermodel Cara – had her cervix swabbed live on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme this morning
The straightforward procedure – carried out by Dr Philippa Kaye – took only a matter of seconds
Chloe – a 33-year-old mother-of-two, admitted the thought of having a smear test – which aims to pick up abnormal cells that could lead to cancer if left untreated – was a bit ‘nerve-wracking’.
However, the straightforward procedure, carried out by Dr Philippa Kaye, took only a matter of seconds.
Chloe, who was covered up for the test, described the sensation as being ‘odd’ but not painful.
In hope of encouraging other women to attend their smear test, she revealed she used to be scared by the thought of having it done.
But at just 20 years old, Chloe was found to have pre-cancerous cells and had part of her cervix removed.
‘If I had not have seen my doctor with certain symptoms [that I had], I may not have been able to have children,’ she said.
Most viewers on Twitter were supportive of the decision to show a cervical exam live on air.
One – Stephanie Bosset – said: ‘Great idea, helps demystify the process, making it less daunting for those maybe holding back from getting tested.’
BBC journalist Catrin Nye praised called Chloe ‘amazing’ for helping to raise awareness
Viewer Kate Sanger praised the programme for ‘breaking down stigma and taboo’ around the test, which is routinely offered to all women on the NHS between the ages of 25 and 49
Stephanie Bosset also backed the programme, saying: ‘Great idea, helps demystify the process, making it less daunting for those maybe holding back from getting tested’
Chloe, who had the cervical smear live on television, is the older sister of supermodel and actress Cara Delevingne (pictured at the Teen Vogue Summit in LA on December 1 last year)
‘Good on [Victoria Derbyshire] showing a live smear test to raise awareness of cervical cancer,’ viewer Emma Jane Gardener tweeted. ‘Book your smear now ladies!’
Viewer Alexandra Keates tweeted it was ‘really inspiring’ to see Chloe Delevingne having a smear test and hoped it would raise awareness of the ‘important’ screening
One viewer was keen to spread the message that a smear test is ‘less painful that a paper cut’
Rob McDowall – chair of the non-profit organisation Welfare Scotland – said he hopes that by broadcasting a live smear ‘apprehensive’ women will realise how simple the test really is
Cervical screening has been credited with saving around 5,000 women’s lives in the UK each year.
But the latest figures from NHS Digital show only 71 per cent of women are up to date on screening – with approximately five million being overdue.
This has dropped from a high of 75.7 per cent in 2011 – two years after reality star Jade Goody died from cervical cancer on March 22 2009 – and is at its lowest rate since records began.
Some 81 per cent of women admit to delaying the test because they feel self conscious of their bodies, according to Jo’s Trust – the cervical cancer charity.
The trust’s poll of 2,000 women aged 25-to-35 revealed 81 per cent are embarrassed about smear tests, 71 per cent are scared and 67 per cent report feeling a lack of control during the examination.
Chloe studied biomedical sciences and tumour biology at University College London.
While working on her dissertation on cervical cancer, alarm bells started to ring.
‘My periods weren’t right – I was getting irregular bleeding and sometimes they were just not happening at all – and because of the research I was doing, I recognised that I needed to get checked out,’ she previously told MailOnline.
Although women registered with a GP in the UK are offering their first smear on the NHS aged 25, Chloe’s doctor arranged for her to have the screening at just 20 when she reported her unusual symptoms.
The results revealed Chloe had CIN 3 stage – severely abnormal cells of the surface of the cervix that can become cancerous.
She was immediately booked in for an outpatient procedure carried out under local anaesthetic to remove the affected area.
Chloe recovered quickly, with the seriousness of what she had gone through only dawning on her later.
‘These gynaecological cancers are called silent killers for a reason, because often you don’t have obvious symptoms,’ she said.
WHAT IS A SMEAR TEST?
A smear test detects abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus from the vagina.
Removing these cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Most test results come back clear, however, one in 20 women show abnormal changes to the cells of their cervix.
In some cases, these need to be removed or can become cancerous.
Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing (stock)
Cervical cancer most commonly affects sexually-active women aged between 30 and 45.
In the UK, the NHS Cervical Screening Programme invites women aged 25-to-49 for a smear every three years, those aged 50 to 60 every five years, and women over 65 if they have not been screened since 50 or have previously had abnormal results.
Women must be registered with a GP to be invited for a test.
In the US, tests start when women turn 21 and are carried out every three years until they reach 65.
Changes in cervical cells are often caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be transmitted during sex.
In January 2018, women shared selfies with smeared lipstick on social media to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested for cervical cancer in a campaign started by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Celebrities including model and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, former I’m A Celebrity! star Rebekah Vardy and ex-Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye joined in to support the #SmearForSmear campaign.
Socialite Tamara Ecclestone supported the Jo’s Trust’s #SmearForSmear campaign