The estranged wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken about her cervical cancer diagnosis – urging women to make time for tests.
Marina Wheeler, who separated from Mr Johnson in 2018 after 25 years, told The Sunday Times that she underwent surgery twice after being given the news in May.
Recalling her reaction to the diagnosis, the 54-year-old said: “I left thinking, ‘That’s absurd. I have no time for this. Quite apart from everything else I have a book to write.'”
The QC, who shares four children with Mr Johnson, stressed the importance of regular cervical screening – or smear tests – after a routine check in January revealed the problem, leading to procedures in June and July.
Ms Wheeler added: “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.”
She added that she now considers herself to be free of cancer, and said the experience made her appreciate “the incalculable value of holding close those who you love and trust”.
A new campaign encouraging women to attend cervical smear tests was launched earlier this year after rates reached a 20-year low.
Appointments had temporarily risen owing to what was described as “the Jade Goody effect”.
Goody, one of the best-known contestants of cult reality show Big Brother, missed a letter saying there were abnormal cells on her cervix. She died in 2009 at the age of 27.