Cervical Cancer Prevention Week ran from 22-28 January with celebrities and citizens joining forces to show getting tested is nothing to “smear”.
Celebs such as Coronation Street star, Brooke Vincent, model-turned-actress, Cara Develigne and Loose Women presenters, Kaye Adams and Nadia Sawalha were just some of thousands of women who took part in the campaign, #SmearForSmear, raising awareness for the importance of smear tests.
Louise Dean, Communications and Public Affairs Assistant for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said “Our #SmearForSmear social media campaign is simple, fun and engaging for women through the nature of smearing lipstick and taking a selfie. Yet, it carries a serious message by encouraging women to go to their smear tests.”
In the UK, cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under-35 according to Jo’s Trust. Women aged 25-64 are entitled to smear tests every three years.
A smear test may seem daunting, but can detect “abnormal cervical changes” according to the NHS. Finding these early can prevent the development of cancer, but women are becoming reluctant to attend appointments.
Dean added: “in a recent survey we found 35% of women have delayed their smear test due to embarrassment. We try to address this is by encouraging discussion and reminding women of the role of smear tests in preventing cervical cancer.”
Ms Charlotte Paulin, 33, Creative Director at Paulin Watches said, “Sometimes it can be slightly uncomfortable, but never sore. If you relax and keep your mind distracted then it’s over in a flash.
“There’s absolutely no need to be embarrassed, it’s nothing the nurse hasn’t seen before.”
With around 15 thousand #s on Instagram, the #SmearForSmear campaign has been a success.
“We have had encouragement from MPs, health-care professionals, young women and celebrities saying how effective the campaign’s been”, said Dean.
“By encouraging conversation we are also breaking down some of the stigma and taboo associated with the test.”
There are plenty of tips and advice online, or if you need to talk about any of the issues discussed, you can call the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust helpline on 0808 802 8000 or visit their website http://www.jostrust.org.uk.
By Georgia Clyne