The UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the importance of smear tests (cervical screening), following concerning figures which show over one million women failed to be screened in 2013-14 and, incidence of cervical cancer rose among women under 35.
The social media campaign involves people of all ages and genders smearing lipstick from their lips across their cheek, to try and diminish the embarrassment of smear tests.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows women diagnosed with cervical cancer under 35 in England has risen by 3.98% in one year and 33.1% over 10 years.
Across the UK more than 1 in 5 of all women invited to be screened failed to attend, with screening uptake falling below 78% for the first time (reaching 77.8%) in over 20 years. Among the 25-29 age group invited, screening uptake has dropped from 78% in 1999 to 66.3% in 2014.
From January 25-31, it is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, and as part of the campaign Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is asking you to join #SmearforSmear, a social media campaign which aims to draw attention to the importance of smear tests, and in doing so stop the rise in numbers of women diagnosed with the disease.
A survey by the charity has shown that young women do not attend their smear tests because some see it as an unnecessary health test, concerned it will be painful and that they will find it embarrassing.
Robert Music, chief executive for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Every day we see the devastating impact a cervical cancer diagnosis can have on both a woman and her loved ones. But to know that for those that delayed their screening before diagnosis, this could have been prevented, is tragic. It’s now time that we see an upward shift in awareness of cervical cancer and an understanding of the importance of smear tests.”
Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS cancer screening programmes, said: “It is evident that women in this younger age group still need encouragement to be screened and, PHE is working hard to address this with research underway to investigate new ways of improving cervical screening uptake among younger women.”
Robert Music added: “We hope the public get fully behind this fun and simple campaign. The more women who take this life saving five minute test, the fewer who will face infertility, early menopause, more extensive long term effects and potentially even loss of life. It’s time we all acted as it may just save a life. “
Share your lipstick selfies with us and on social media, use #FNCCPW so we can see your posts: