Only a few weeks after getting my first cervical screening, (also known as a smear test), I found myself chatting amongst friends. Both were older than me, yet despite receiving invitations, had never actually gone to their doctor for a cervical screening. Then, only a week or so ago, I read an article about how the number of women going for smear tests was at a record low and that 'the Jade Goody effect' had worn off. For those who don't know of Jade Goody, she was a reality TV star in the UK that was diagnosed, and rapidly lost her battle, with cervical cancer. Whilst this unfortunately happens to many women around the world, Jade chose to document her entire battle with the disease from start to end, through TV and any other means that could encourage women to get tested. After her death, the number of women attending cervical screenings rocketed, and now nearly nine years after her death, those numbers are falling dramatically.
One beauty salon owner in the Isle of Wight, UK, also found herself troubled by the latest figures and decided that she was going to do something about it. Noni Dixon, who previously worked in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, often saw patients discover problems after missing smear tests, and finds the subject close to her heart. With that, she launched #fanniesforfacials, an initiative that encourages women to go for their cervical screening in exchange for a 30-minute facial at the salon.
The initiative is running from now to the end of February, and anyone who attends a cervical screening receives a voucher for the treatment at Zen Beauty and Hair.
“No catch, no upsell, no gimmicks. I'll swap you, your fanny for a facial,' Dixon wrote on social media. 'I don't care if we end up doing a thousand of these if a thousand women on the Isle of Wight go for a smear. It will be worth every hour and penny.”
The campaign has already been a success in the local community, with two doctors surgeries reaching out and thanking her. “I had a lovely phone call from one of our local GP surgeries to say they think it's a great initiative and that their uptake of appointments for smears in the last three days has been phenomenal,” Dixon added.
Here's hoping that with the likes of people like Noni, those numbers will slowly begin to rise again.