29 January 2019

According to a survey by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, one in three women aged 25 to 29 fail to attend their cervical screening. Cervical screening offers the greatest protection against cervical cancer which more than 3,200 women are diagnosed with each year and nearly 900 die from annually.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, surveyed 2,017 women and found that 484 delayed their screening and 149 were currently delaying their screening.

Further research suggests that screening rates are at the lowest they have been for two decades with Public Health England “concerned” by the fall. 

The statistics have led hair and beauty businesses across the country to take action and offer incentive schemes to clients. Salons for Screening was launched by the public health team in Middlesbrough to encourage women to attend their cervical screening.

Hair and beauty businesses in Middlesbrough have signed up to offer their support and discounts to women who have attended a smear test. Patients can access their discount card (which can only be used once) at GP surgeries and sexual health clinics in the area to start claiming discounts on hair and beauty treatments.

We heard from NHBF Member La Belle Vie in Oxfordshire who has been involved in a similar scheme.

Karann Rowland who owns La Belle Vie spoke to a nurse at her routine smear test and was horrified to hear that a huge number of women fail to turn up to their booked appointments.

Karann explains, “Having such a simple medical procedure could end up saving a life, so I was shocked to hear that so many women don’t turn up to their booked appointments.”

Karann was searching social media for ways to make a difference when she spotted a wax specialist in Scotland offering discounts on treatments as a way of encouraging women to have their cervical smear test. This inspired Karann to take action and offer free bikini waxes to clients who have attended their appointment.

Karann explains, “In addition to offering free waxes, we then decided to donate 10% of the cost of any additional treatments to Cancer Research for our clients who have had their cervical screening.”

La Belle Vie created a social media post to announce their incentive scheme to clients and were blown away by the reaction the post received. Karann explains, “We couldn’t believe that our post reached over 117,000 people, was shared over 1,000 times and had over 36,000 engagements – it was by far the biggest reaction we have ever seen on our social media accounts and our phone hasn’t stopped ringing!”

“Our incentive scheme has not only raised awareness of cervical cancer, but it’s also got our name out to new clients who wouldn’t have heard of our business before,” Karann explains.

Karann continues, “We have no plans to stop offering free bikini waxes or donating to Cancer Research. We just hope that other hair and beauty businesses will follow in our footsteps – it would be amazing if all businesses in the country could get involved. Think of the number of lives it would save!”

For further information on cervical screening, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening

If you are involved in a similar scheme in your area then please do get in touch by contacting marketing@nhf.info