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Rachel Riley posts rare photo with pet cat for important reason - and fans react

The Countdown host is encouraging fans to have their smear test

Sharnaz Shahid

Rachel Riley has sparked a mass fan reaction after sharing a funny picture with her pet cat for an important cause - Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which took place last week.

Encouraging her followers to take their routine smear tests, the former Strictly Come Dancing star shared: "This stat is bonkers! 57% of women are putting off their cervical screening because the beauty salons are closed so they're not professionally groomed.

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She added: "Who cares!? Get your smear done, it could save your life! Share your best 'lockdown look' cat picture #MyCat."

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Fans were quick to comment to express their surprise over the statistic, with one writing: "I've never had a wax, couldn't bear the thought of it! Can't believe that would be a reason to not get an essential medical check-up. I despair of the vanity of some women."

Another remarked: "I had mine done today... was done in about two minutes, no pain or discomfort... was chatting to the nurse (who I knew really well too) all the way through... please attend your smears, it really can save your life."

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Rachel pictured with her pet cat

However, some explained why they hadn't actually done their smear test, with one stating: "Mines due to anxiety. It's so stupid. I had a panic attack last time (about five years ago) and can’t make the appointment. I'm so annoyed at myself. (And I’m a nurse)."

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A fourth person said: "My docs surgery have cancelled mine twice during the pandemic. Tried to call many times to rearrange but can't get through. I'd love to have one, bushy or not!"

A smear test, or cervical screening, is a routine health check offered to women from the age of 25. It's usually performed at your GP surgery by a qualified nurse or in a sexual health centre.

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The screening involves collecting cells from your cervix, the opening of the womb from your vagina. It tests for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer over time.

Essentially, these screenings can be lifesavers. Cervical cancer can take a few years to develop as the abnormal cells form, so smear tests can catch any problems early before they become dangerous.

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