According to doctors, regular pap smears are the best way to detect cervical cancer. Alarmingly, one in three women between the ages of 25 and 29 in the United Kingdom don't get tested.
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, a U.K.-based organization that provides women with information about cervical cancer, has launched a selfie campaign called #smearforsmear in an effort to change that. The concept is simple: Smear your lipstick, take a selfie, post it on social media, raise awareness. Think Ice Bucket Challenge, but for cervical cancer.
"The number of women taking up their cervical screening invitation in the U.K. is going down year on year and this is extremely worrying," Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust spokeswoman Maddy Durrant told The Huffington Post. "Smear tests can prevent women from ever reaching a diagnosis, or can ensure early diagnosis so treatment plans are less extensive and side effects less impactful. Similarly an early diagnosis means a better chance of survival. Quite simply, a smear test could save a woman’s life."
Right now, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust isn't partnered with a research organization for the campaign, but it is hoping the effort encourages women to get tested.
"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," Durrant continued. "Smearing lipstick was an obvious -– and very visual –- choice. Using a hashtag that directly links the cause with the image was also key."
Check out some #smearforsmear selfies below:
— ST ✌️ (@__sthomson) January 28, 2015
— Now Magazine (@NowMag) January 28, 2015
— Jessica North (@JessicaNorthPR) January 28, 2015