Health on Female First

Health on Female First

Out of the UK women who are eligible for cervical screening, 3.7 million are putting themselves at risk of life-threatening cervical cancer through failing to attend cervical screening when invited and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is launching their 2016#SmearForSmear campaign to encourage more women to attend their smear tests.

The charity's award winning campaign #SmearForSmear first launched in 2015 reaching over 500 million people and gaining huge support from the public and celebrities including Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne and Georgia May Jagger.

Since the campaign ran, the latest screening data has shown increased attendance among 25-29 year olds in England however 1 in 3 in this age group still do not attend their test. Following the success of other viral campaigns including Movember, the charity hopes the campaign's success will escalate providing an annual reminder for women to both think about their own health, and to ask their friends when they last had their smear test.

Smear tests can detect abnormal cells on the cervix before they turn in to cancer, yet last year in the UK a huge 1 in 4 did not attend and this figure is declining year on year. Previous research by the charity found 26.2% of 25-29 year olds were worried their smear test would be painful, 26.6% worried it would be embarrassing, 29.5% think cervical screening is not important to have regularly and 48% don't openly discuss cervical screening with their friends.

The charity is re-launching the campaign at the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24th -30th January) to encourage women of all ages to go for their smear test when invited and to combat current statistics that show the number of women attending their smear test declines as age increases.

Last year in England 81.6% of 50-54 year old women attended their smear tests last year and this fell to 74.8% of 55-59 year olds and 73.2% of 60-64 year olds.

Diagnoses of cervical cancer have risen and are currently the highest since 1999 in England(apart from in 2009 when Jade Goody's battle with the disease resulted in significantly increased screening uptake). Research supported by the charity has shown a huge 27% reduction in deaths could be achieved in just 5 years if screening coverage could reach 85%, it is currently at 73.5% in England).

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said "Cervical cancer is a preventable disease and we cannot afford for incidences to keep rising. So it is a matter of urgency that we see positive actions to turn around the downward trend in cervical screening uptake and we are urging policy makers and health professionals to increase investment in targeted approaches to tackle barriers to screening for women of every age, ethnicity, location and circumstance."

"The 2015 campaign resonated with women at the start of the screening programme and in its first year also drove more women than ever to use our support services and online information. However, cervical cancer affects women of all ages and we are as determined and focused on reversing the declining screening attendance that exists among women at the end of the screening programme. We believe the campaign's success is its simplicity. By encouraging women to attend cervical screening it has the potential to save countless lives and ultimately contribute to eradicating this largely preventative and hugely devastating disease."

How To Join The Campaign

1. Put on your lipstick

2. Smear your lipstick and take your #SmearForSmear selfie

3. Share your selfie on facebook, twitter and instagram using #SmearForSmear and nominate a friend. Example tweet: My #SmearForSmear for @JoTrust. Attend your smear, reduce your risk of cervical cancer I nominate @xx [attach selfie]

4. For more information please visit

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