Marina Wheeler urges women to ‘make the time’ for smear tests following own cervical cancer diagnosis

‘Why be afraid?’

Olivia Petter
Sunday 11 August 2019 15:45
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Marina Wheeler has urged women to attend their cervical screenings after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in May.

The QC and estranged wife of prime minister Boris Johnson revealed she underwent two operations as a result of her condition and is now “cancer-free”.

Wheeler shared the details of her diagnosis in The Sunday Times, recalling how she attended a smear test in January and was told she has abnormal cells in her cervix.

The 54-year-old explained that she wanted to share her story to motivate other women to book their cervical screenings in light of research claiming attendance has hit a 19-year low in the UK.

“I know the take-up of smear tests is way down,” Wheeler told the publication. “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.”

When Wheeler was diagnosed, she explained how she brushed it off entirely.

“That’s absurd. I have no time for this,” the QC remembered thinking at the time. “Quite apart from everything else, I have a book to write.”

Wheeler described the experience as “profound”, adding it gave her a new understanding of “the incalculable value of holding close those who you love and trust”.

Wheeler filed for divorce from Johnson in September last year. They have four children together.

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