The Prime Minister has told the Commons she knows what it is like to have a cervical smear test.
Theresa May was asked to back the “life-saving” tests during PMQs to protect other women from developing cervical cancer.
Mrs May said she understood the tests could be “uncomfortable” and even “painful” but called on all women to make sure they took up the offer of a test.
She said: “I, as a Prime Minister, can stand here and say this – I know what it’s like to go through a cervical smear test.
“It is not comfortable. Sometimes, for some, it will be embarrassing, sometimes it’s painful, but those few minutes can save lives, so I would encourage all women to take up their smear tests.”
Earlier, Tory MP Rachel Maclean (Redditch) had spoken of her own test picking up abnormalities.
She said: “Ten years ago I had a cervical smear test that picked up some abnormalities which if they had been left untreated could have developed into something much more serious.
“But unfortunately cervical screening is at a 21-year low – over a quarter of women don’t take up this life-saving test.
“So will the Prime Minister please join with me – we all know it’s a bit uncomfortable and it can be embarrassing for some women – but will she please urge all women up and down the country to take up this life-saving test?”
Mrs May replied: “I think her experience shows exactly why it’s so important for women to take up this test and we do need to encourage more women to undertake their cervical screening test.”
She added that Public Health England was about to launch a national campaign to highlight the risks and encourage more women to get checked.