#SmearforSmear Campaign is Raising Awareness for Cervical Cancer

Users are smearing lipstick across their faces as part of a campaign to raise awareness of smear tests. Picture courtesy of ITV


Following social media crazes such as the ice bucket challenge, a new trend is spreading across all platforms, in which women are sharing ‘lipstick smear selfies’ and nominating their friends to do the same.

The campaign, entitled #SmearForSmear, is an an attempt to raise the awareness of the importance of women getting smear tests to detect cervical cancer early on or before it even begins.

Between 2013 and 2014, more than a million women failed to have their smear test, demonstrating that either people are unaware that this check is available to them, or have heard horror stories about the test.

The test involves a sample of the cervical cells being taken and examined under a microscope at a laboratory to look for abnormal cells. For some women the procedure is uncomfortable, but the majority find it painless.

Director of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Professor Julietta Patnick, stated that “regular attendance at screenings remains the top preventative measure against cervical cancer and we would encourage all women to make the decision to attend when invited.” Since the screening programme was introduced in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about 7% each year, with cervical cancer being one of the few cancers which can be treated.

An e-petition calling for the minimum age to be lowered to 16 is also in circulation, after many cases of women dying younger than the screening age, for example Sophie Jones at the age of 19, the mother of whom is heading the e-petition. In Australia, screenings are done from the age of 18, from 20 in Greece, yet women in the US are eligible after two years of being sexually active.

The photos, also being posted by men in support, are to be shared after having the test with the hashtag #SmearForSmear and a mention of @JoTrust, as well as a donation. To donate, text CCPW01 followed by the amount you’d like to donate including the ‘£’ symbol, to 70070.​


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