Michelle Keegan has admitted she put off having smear tests as she urged women to be screened for cervical cancer.
The Our Girl star said she had found excuses to ignore letters from her doctor calling her for a test but reassured her fans that the process was not painful.
She posted a string of videos on Instagram in which she talked about having her test done and wrote: “It’s time to talk cervical screening examinations… AKA the dreaded SMEAR (horrible word) test!
“I’m going to be honest with you all, I’ve had numerous letters come through my front door that I’ve pushed aside. I’ve also ignored my mum’s tiresome pleas telling me to book an appointment with my local GP.”
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”.
She also admitted she was apprehensive about how painful the test would be.
She added: “However, I finally got my finger out, (pardon the pun) and went to my appointment.
“My doctor was so lovely, I hopped onto the bed and it was over in less than 2 MINUTES!!! It was a tad uncomfortable but no means painful.”
Keegan said she was horrified to learn that cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, with some having no symptoms whatsoever.
She wrote: “SMEAR TESTS SAVES LIVES.
“My advice to you… STOP making excuses, book, and go for your bloody smear!
“A smear tests last 5 minutes the impact of cervical cancer lasts a life time!”
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 20-year low earlier this year.