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Meet #SmearforSmear – The Latest Online Awareness Campaign



We had the no makeup selfie, we had the ALS ice bucket challenge and now we have this. Appearing primarily on Instagram, but also on Facebook and Twitter by association, #SmearforSmear was devised by Jo’s Cancer Trust and aims to raise awareness about cervical cancer. The wording of the hashtag is geared towards encouraging women to get the pap smear test required to screen for the disease. 

Cervical cancer runs a frightening line between case frequency and mortality. It’s the 4th most common cancer for women worldwide and more than 265,000 patients died in 2012 alone. Cervical cancer is notoriously difficult to treat once it advances, given its location. During the early stages surgery to remove some or all of the womb can be effective (and/or radiotherapy) but once it really advances it’s virtually incurable. Chemotherapy can slow the advance and an extremely damaging procedure called pelvic exteneration, which entails having the cervix, vagina, womb, bladder, ovaries, fallopian tubes and rectum are all taken out. 

The campaign has taken off with serious momentum; several celebrities have already gotten in on the act, including Rita Ora, Georgia May Jagger and blogger Sam Chapman. Like the ice bucket challenge, the campaign is nomination based, but doesn’t class the picture as a penalty for failing to make any kind of donation; the aim is purely awareness-based. The most common age group of women affected by cervical cancer is under 35s and 1 in 3 women in the UK alone between 25-29 fail to turn up at scheduled screenings, so social media is the ideal platform to spread this message. 

Of course, whilst cervical cancer doesn’t affect men, that doesn’t mean they’re excluded from taking part in the campaign and searching the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter will reveal a peppering of men smearing lipstick across their faces in amongst the girls. It’s early days yet, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that the campaign will only continue to increase in size over the coming weeks.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Meet #SmearforSmear – The Latest Online Awareness Campaign Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 29, 2015 Rating: 5
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