Help prevent the rise in cervical cancer with Smear for Smear!

Kettlemag, Health, Cervical Cancer, Kealie Mardell
Written by Kealie Mardell

It’s time to stand up against cervical cancer with the #smearforsmear campaign, launched by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in conjunction with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, from the 25th of January.

The campaign focuses on the importance of smear tests for cervical cancer screening. Jo’s Trust says that 1 in 3 young women aged 25-29 fail to attend screening when invited, reporting worries over pain, embarrassment, and thinking the test is unnecessary.

The social media campaign #smearforsmear invites you to smear lipstick across your face and snap a picture to remind others of the importance of smear tests. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, hopes to reverse the downward trend in smear test attendance and in doing so stop the rise in the number of women diagnosed with the disease.

Raising awareness and understanding

There is a lack of knowledge, most notably for young women, surrounding smear testing. The test detects abnormal cells on the cervix before they develop into cancer, a disease most commonly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). All women are invited for screening from the age of 25.

With the intentions behind many social media campaigns often questioned, it is important to have an understanding of the aims behind them. Throughout Cervical Cancer Prevention Week you should educate yourself on the disease, and urge those aged over 25 to remember the importance of attending smear tests.

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 a shift in awareness of cervical cancer and an understanding of the importance of smear tests.”

Every year, 300,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities. Every day, eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and three women will lose their lives.

The most recent figures show that over 36% of 25-29 year olds in England failed to attend screening when invited last year, with the diagnoses for this age group rising from 352 cases in 2010 to 427 cases in the UK in 2011.

“We hope the public get fully behind this fun and simple campaign,” said Robert Music. “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.”

How to share your lipstick smear

  • Apply your lipstick, smear it across your cheek and take a photo
  • Tag #smearforsmear and @JoTrust in your message.
  • Add the names of the people you want to nominate
  • Example tweet: Help prevent cervical cancer w/ @JoTrust. Attend your smear, reduce your risk. Join me @xxxx #smearforsmear
  • Post onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  • For more info on the campaign visit:

Don’t forget to also share your #SmearforSmear pictures with @KettleMag and let us know what you think of the campaign in the comments below!