Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the national cervical cancer charity, shows that women are more likely to visit the doctor with a persistent cold than with a symptom of cervical cancer.
A third of women in their late 20s miss their smear test despite cancer being most common in this age group. NHS figures obtained by Jo's show that 36 per cent of women aged 25 to 29 due their first smear test last year failed to attend. This research found many women are too embarrassed to have the test or too busy to make an appointment. It also found that a third of women aged 50 to 70 did not believe the test was necessary - so missed their last test!
Chloe Madeley, who vowed to have regular smears after Jade Goody's death in 2009 and had to have pre-cancerous cells removed from her ovaries is helping mark Cervical Screening Awareness and joins us on the Lorraine sofa with Dr Hilary Jones.
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix connects a woman's womb and her vagina. It is also known as the neck of the womb. Cervical cancer can affect women of all ages but is most common in women between 30 - 45 years of age. It is very rare in women under 25.
Cervical screening - previously known as a smear test - can prevent cervical cancer and saves thousands of lives each year (up to 4,000). In the future, most cervical cancers will be prevented by HPV vaccination. But for the next few decades, cervical screening will still be vitally important. The earlier cervical cancer is diagnosed, the better.
The early symptoms
Bleeding after having sex (postcoital bleeding)
Bleeding outside of your normal periods
New bleeding after the menopause
Blood in your urine (haematuria)
Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
Swelling of one of your legs
Severe pain in your side or back caused by swelling in your kidneys related to a condition called hydronephrosis
Changes to your bowel and bladder habits
Loss of appetite
Tiredness and lack of energy