We all know that hearing someone utter the words 'smear test' can send shivers down one's spine, but when was the last time you actually went for one? While we've heard all the stories about that speculum or made excuses not to attend appointments because we don't have time or we're embarrassed, there's no hiding from the cold hard fact that more than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the UK, and nearly 900 die annually.
Cervical screening attendance is at a 20-year low and is steadily declining year on year, but in contrast, research has found that wax appointments are at an all-time high, with 1.2 million young women in England heading to the salon for their intimate wax.
Treatwell, the beauty booking platform, has launched 'Life Saving Wax' in partnership with Public Health England's 'Cervical Cancer Screening Saves Lives' campaign. The initiative aims to break the barriers to cervical cancer prevention by encouraging women to talk openly about cervical screening and to feel confident attending their appointment when they are invited, or if they have missed previous appointments, to book one with their GP.
More than 500 Treatwell partner salons across the UK will be placing information leaflets and pamphlets in their salons and beauty therapists will be opening up the conversation with their clients to ensure they know the importance of getting their smear test.
Liz Hambleton, Beauty Director at Treatwell, said: "We see thousands of women booking intimate waxes every day through Treatwell, so when we heard that women aren't attending a potentially life-saving test due to embarrassment, we wanted to see how we could change this. Just by talking about cervical screening with one person, it can have an amazing knock-on effect. It can really change attitudes and behaviours.
"Just one conversation is all it could take to remind or encourage someone to go for their screening when invited. That one conversation could stop cancer before it starts - it could save a life."
For more information about the initiative, go to www.treatwell.co.uk/lifesavingwax .
For more information on cervical screenings, visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening .