How to support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week with your #SmearforSmear selfie
Lots of things have become more difficult over the last year – but as Cervical Cancer Prevention Week begins, a charity is reiterating the importance of smear tests.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has today (Monday, January 18) launched its annual #SmearForSmear campaign for 2021 – and this year, the team is calling for faster action on at-home cervical screening, also known as self-sampling.
New research by the charity, conducted during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, revealed that 32% of women would prefer to take an HPV self sample rather than attend cervical screening with a clinician.
If self-sampling was easy and reliable, this number rises to 62%.
Smear tests are the best protection against cervical cancer, but the pandemic has created additional challenges around attending an appointment.
You are permitted to leave home to attend medical appointments under the current national restrictions; but before the pandemic began, one in four women and people with a cervix did not attend when invited.
Jo’s Trust is warning that the true picture of attendance is likely to be much lower due to NHS pressures and such programmes being paused during the early months of the pandemic.
Rebecca Shoosmith, acting chief executive at Jo’s Trust: “The pandemic has shown that our NHS is able to innovate quickly and we want to see that extended to cervical screening.
"More and more people find the current test challenging and coronavirus has accelerated this trend adding more barriers.
"Sadly those who found it difficult before are likely to be no closer to getting tested. Self-sampling would be a game-changer.”
During the week-long campaign, people are being invited to spread awareness through sharing their #SmearForSmear selfies and sharing their own tips, experiences and stories alongside the pictures.
If you want to take part, smear your lipstick to take a photo, or use the Jo’s Trust Instagram filter, then share it on social media using the hashtag and tag the charity.
Dr Philippa Kaye, GP and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust ambassador, added: “We want to make it clear that the NHS is open. If you have been invited to make a cervical screening appointment, that’s because your GP has put measures in place to make it safe to attend.”