It isn’t a fashion faux pas in your Instagram feed — celebrities and women around the world are smearing their lipstick for a good cause.
The new #SmearforSmear social media campaign and hashtag, spearheaded by UK-based organization Jo’s Cancer Trust, aims to raise awareness during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this January. Participants post selfies with smeared lipstick, encouraging women to get regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. Then, similar to the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, they nominate friends and family to do the same.
Cervical cancer, usually linked to serious cases of the HPV virus, is the most common cancer in women under 35 in the UK (eight women are diagnosed every day). It’s the third most common cancer for women worldwide.
In the U.S., more than 12,000 women are diagnosed every year, and more than 4,000 die.
As many as 8 million adult American women haven’t had the necessary checkup in the past five years.
Pap tests can detect early signs of cervical cancer for early treatment, and can also find abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer cells, saving countless lives. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 are recommended to get tested every three years, according tonew guidelines.
As of this writing, more than 1,200 images show up under the #SmearforSmear hashtag on Instagram, with more on Twitter and Facebook. Public figures, including model Georgia May Jagger and musician Rita Ora, are getting involved — and you can, too.
You can follow along with the #SmearforSmear hashtag and the curated page on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s website. Learn more about cervical cancer and the Pap smear screening test here.
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