Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer but according to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, smear test attendance is falling across the UK with a 20 year low in England.
#SmearForSmear is an annual campaign run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (JCCT) during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to raise awareness of the importance of attending smear tests in preventing cervical cancer.
During the week (Monday 22nd January-Sunday 28th January) the charity encourage people to share a #SmearForSmear selfie- an image of themselves with smeared lipstick, with a message to support smear tests on social media.
#SmearForSmear is now in its fourth year and JCCT say that previous campaigns have proved a success: 'the conversation has been opened up and we see it reducing fear and embarrassment around the smear test.’
Some key facts:
- 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day
- Smear tests prevent 75% of cervical cancers from developing, yet 1 in 4 women don’t attend (1 in 3 among women aged 25-29)
- Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35
- The reasons women don’t attend are wide ranging, including embarrassment, fear, not thinking it’s important, not understanding what it’s for and simply putting it off
Another key reason women don’t attend tests is the difficulty with making appointments around work and family. The JCCT ‘Time to Test’ campaign involves encouraging employers to allow employees to attend appointments during working hours if necessary.
CAN Jenny's #SmearforSmear
This year’s theme of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is ‘Reduce your risk’.
Women can reduce their risk by:
- Attending screening when invited from the age of 25
- Being aware of the symptoms- visit a GP
- School girls having the HPV vaccine
- Leading a healthy lifestyle
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has office space at CAN Mezzanine, Borough