TV presenter Steph McGovern has smear test live on air to encourage more women to keep cervical screening appointments

TV presenter Steph McGovern had a smear test live on air today, to show how quick and easy cervical screening can be, following an interview with a dad whose nine-year-old is now growing up without his mother.

The test was performed on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 which is broadcast live from Leeds.

Steph McGovern’s test was performed by Dr Naomi Sutton who said: “There’ll be lots of reasons women don’t go but all these things can be tackled - embarrassment about their bodies, nervousness about pain, a skin problem, you might be menopausal and it’s dry and sore, but all these things we can sort out with a bit of dialogue and communication.”

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As her smear test was being performed, Ms McGovern said: “There are a lot women who struggle with going to their smear test because they think it’s going to be awful and embarrassing, so we decided to show you what actually happens.

TV presenter Steph McGovern.

“I’ve had my smear tests a number of times and they can be different each time. Sometimes you don’t feel anything. Now it feels pretty ok but sometimes they can hurt, or people worry it’s going to hurt. But it’s not for long, even if there is a little bit of pain. It’s not the most comfortable experience in the world. This isn’t hurting, it just feels weird.”

With the test complete, she added: “That took 30 seconds or something, it can sometimes take slightly longer, getting into the position because it is hard to stay relaxed. This is embarrassing and it is sometimes uncomfortable and for some women it can be painful but it can save their life.”

The test comes as Chris Hopkins has launched ‘The Smear Campaign’ following the death of his former partner from cervical cancer, which has left his nine-year-old son to grow up without his mother. Mr Hopkins wants to help prevent more children from losing their mothers to cervical cancer.

He said: “I wanted to do something positive so another child doesn’t have to go through this. Marie did go for smears, the diagnosis took a bit too long. After Marie’s passing, I started looking into figures around it and I read one in three, one in four women are not going for the smear test.”

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Rebecca Shoosmith, acting chief executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Cervical screening isn’t always an easy test, and the pandemic has added additional challenges. We’re so pleased that Steph is showing what having a test is like live on TV, helping to break down taboos and encouraging much-needed conversations."