We’ve been in and out of lockdown more times than Piers Morgan’s foot’s been in his mouth, but the end is finally in sight. I used to fantasise about escaping to a tropical island with only cute monkeys and a mute, raw vegan chef for company. Now my most decadent fantasy is clothes shopping maskless (the shame!) followed by coffee in germ-ridden air with friends in Costa. I used to scowl when I was wolf-whistled, but now I’d probably do a twirl*. I expect this euphoria to last about three weeks before we’re all struck down with every wallflower virus that hasn’t had a look-in during the past 12 months. There is something important I need to remember to do, that has nothing to do with friends or hugs or hanging out in the park, and I’m nagging you to do it too. 

I’m going to book a smear test

The only upside of dodging Covid for an entire year is that we’ve all caught fewer coughs, colds, viruses and even STDs overall, thanks to increased hand-washing and social distancing. Yes, we know our readers all wash their hands and boink responsibly, but some people apparently have to be reminded! I’ve definitely got out of the habit of regular checkups and dentist appointments, and that’s made me sloppy about all kinds of things.

In the rush to hug everyone I’ve missed, sort my split ends out so I don’t look like I’ve joined the Moonies, get my Netflix & pizza-addicted arse to the gym and just, you know, stand less than two feet away from other humans outside a pub, I may be in danger of forgetting that I have a cervix. In my rush to claw my life back, I could be putting it at risk. 

The truth is, most adults with a cervix are at risk of cervical cancer. There are hundreds of deaths every year – but there are also hundreds of survivors. Catching it early is key. Your smear test could save your life, and it would be a real shame to survive the pandemic, with all of the mental health challenges, tragedy and financial stresses and strains, just to be seriously ill with something preventable straight afterwards. Book your smear test and I’ll see you outside the pub!

*I am joking. I do not really humour street harassment!

Find out what cervical screening is for, who is invited and what to expect at the appointment. and lots more information at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.