On the front page of today's Mail, and continued on page two, we tell the tragic story of Joanne Jagger, a woman who sadly died of cervical cancer after missing three smear tests.

It is worrying then to learn that 26,529 women in Cumbria missed out on a potentially life-saving smear test in 2019.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said while low uptake was ‘already a concern’ before Covid-19, the pandemic has created further barriers to attendance.

A survey of 851 women carried out by the trust reveals delayed and cancelled cervical screening appointments have left nearly four in ten women feeling worried, while 12 per cent say they are less likely to attend than before the pandemic.

Some 13 per cent think it is best to put off getting a smear test at the moment.

A quarter of women said they are worried about their risk of catching the coronavirus if they attend a screening, while fears around safety (11 per cent), not wanting to put “additional strain” on the NHS (15 per cent) and uncertainty over changes to services were also selected as reasons for concern.

Smear tests can help avoid tragedy and are certainly nothing to be afraid of -if anywhere is likely to adhere to best hygiene practises it is the highly trained health professionals of our NHS.