Young women are not attending potentially life-saving cancer screening tests because they are embarrassed about their body shape.

In a poll conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, 35 per cent of women between 25 and 35 said they were too embarrassed to attend smear tests because of their body shape.

31 per cent of women also admitted they wouldn’t go if they hadn’t waxed or shaved their bikini area.

All women registered with a GP and aged 25 to 64 are invited for a free NHS smear test every three to five years.

Despite this, across the UK, one in four eligible women (aged 25-64) do not take up their smear test invitation, this rises to one in three among 25-29 year olds.

Robert Music, chief executive at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Smear tests prevent 75 per cent of cervical cancers so it is a big worry that so many young women, those who are most at risk of the disease, are unaware of the importance of attending.

“It is of further concern that body worries are contributing to non-attendance. Please don’t let unhappiness or uncertainty about your body stop you from attending what could be a life-saving test.

“Nurses are professionals who carry out millions of tests every year, they can play a big part in ensuring women are comfortable.”

Doctors in Greenwich have joined the chorus urging women to attend regular cervical cancer screening when invited by their GP practice.

Dr Ellen Wright, a local GP and chair of NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “It’s really important that women attend their smear test when invited by their GP.

“Spotting pre-cancerous cells early can save lives, and having regular cervical screening offers the best protection against developing cervical cancer.

“It’s also important that women know the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. If anyone experiences symptoms associated with cervical cancer, they should book an appointment with their GP.”