The estranged wife of Boris Johnson has urged women "to make time" for smear tests after having surgery, following her cervical cancer diagnosis in May. Marina Wheeler QC had two operations after a routine screening revealed she had developed the disease, she told the Sunday Times. The 54-year-old now considers herself "cancer-free", she added.
She said: "I know the take-up of smear tests is way down. I know they can save your life. If people are willing to listen - as they seem to be - why not say so? Why be afraid? I would urge other women to make the time and do the tests."
Describing her own reaction in May, after a doctor told her of her cancer diagnosis, she said she thought: "That's absurd. I have no time for this. Quite apart from everything else, I have a book to write."
She said her experience made her appreciate "the incalculable value of holding close those who you love and trust".
Ms Wheeler is the second wife of Prime Minister Johnson and the couple share four children. The UK's leading cervical cancer charity said it is "fantastic" Ms Wheeler has talked so openly to raise awareness of the disease, which affects women of all ages.
Robert Music, of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "Cancer can be very isolating and Marina's story may help others facing diagnosis feel less alone. While cervical screening does not prevent against all cervical cancers, it provides a high degree of protection against the disease. By using her experience to highlight the importance of the test, Marina may prevent others from going through the same as her."