There are some things in life that need to be done, no matter how much you don’t want to do them. Most of these are pretty trivial - commuting in rush hour traffic, or going to visit your in-laws. Getting a smear test is not.
Smear tests, also known as cervical screenings, save the lives of 5000 women annually. Yet there are many women who ignore their invite to be screened, with a third of women aged 25-29 not making an appointment. Is it that they don’t care about their health? No - many say that they are too embarrassed, scared it will be painful, or they are just too busy to attend.
Sadly, there are also a lot of women who are scared that they will be told that there is something wrong. Cervical screening is commonly seen as a test for cancer - it’s not. It’s actually a test to check the health of the cervix, to find any abnormalities that may lead to cancer if left untreated. Over 90% of screening results are clear, and many abnormal results are mild cell changes that are likely to go back to normal on their own.
June 15th-21st is Cervical Screening Awareness Week and there are so many ways that you can get involved. Jo’s Trust is behind the #SmearforSmear campaign, which involves putting on your favourite lipstick, smearing it and taking a selfie. You then upload your selfie to every social media account you own and nominate a friend to do the same. With celebrities from Cara Delevingne to Rita Ora posting their own #SmearforSmear selfies, this campaign has a lot of potential, especially when it comes to reaching young women. Men are welcome to join in too!
The Red Lippy Project is running a similar campaign called Flip Your Lips. For this you just have to apply red lipstick, take a selfie and then rotate the photo sideways. Again, upload to social media and nominate three of your friends to do the same. Their 2014 campaign also drew celebrity attention and saw the Red Lippy Project team up with Topshop to create a limited edition lipstick and makeup bag. There’s been a significant build up to today’s launch and it will be exciting to see where they take the campaign this year.
Both of these campaigns are great examples of charities and individuals harnessing the power of social media to bring attention to incredibly worthy causes. With the unprecedented success of the Ice Bucket Challenge and #nomakeupselfie, charities can reach wider audiences and prompt engagement at levels they never have before. They are also really easy ways to raise awareness of the importance of getting a smear test - there’s no excuse not to get involved!
Kerrie, Account Executive