It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week later this month, and if you’re a regular reader of this page you’ll know how passionate I feel about spreading awareness of the importance of cervical cancer screening.
Now there are several ways you can get involved during the week of January 24-30, including taking part in the national #SmearForSmear lipstick smear selfie campaign that is being relaunched for a second year.
The initiative, which encourages women to post selfies of themselves with a lipstick smear across their face with the sole aim of raising awareness of early cervical cancer detection, last year helped Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust reach over 150 million women to spread the message that it can be prevented.
Every day in the UK, eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three will lose their lives to the disease.
But what is so important is that cervical cancer is largely preventable with cervical screening. Early detection is also key in increasing survival rates, so educating everyone on the disease, its symptoms and ways to prevent it is key.
This is what Cervical Cancer Prevention Week does.
Other ways you can get involved include displaying Jo’s Trust posters and leaflets in GP surgeries, hospitals or libraries and at universities and colleges; holding fundraising events to raise awareness and funds, or even running a stand or table at your local hospital.
Smear screening tests are usually carried out within a few minutes by a nurse and save thousands of women’s lives a year but shockingly, one in five women fail to make their appointment, with the figure rising to one in three for women aged 25-29.
It is the third most common gynaecological cancer and the twelfth most common in British women, according to Cancer Research UK, so it really is important that women know the dangers of not getting their smear tests.
Just by posting a picture of your lipstick selfie will raise that awareness and hopefully even encourage someone to get their smear tests. Jo’s Trust hopes so.
“We understand it’s near impossible to replicate a viral campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge as these campaigns often start organically and require a little bit of magic,” said a Trust spokesperson. “Smearing lipstick was an obvious – and very visual – choice. Using a hashtag that directly links the cause with the image was also key.”
So what are you waiting for? Get your lippy out.