NHS look to rebrand ‘smear test’ in new campaign

The government has launched its first cervical screening advertising campaign in England, as the number of women having checks has hit a 20-year low.

Public Health England’s campaign has decided to avoid the term “smear test” amid concerns that it may be putting people off.

Last year just 71% of women aged 25 to 64 had been screened at regular intervals.

More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with abnormal cell changes that could lead to the disease every single year. Two women die from cervical cancer every day in England.

Experts predict that 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented if everyone attended screening regularly.


What could be the reasons that people aren’t going to get checked?

There are a variety of different reasons that people aren’t going to the screening, which include:

  • Embarrassment
  • A lack of awareness
  • Just putting it off
  • Their body shape
  • Appearance of their vulva
  • Concerns over smell


A third said they would not go if they had not waxed or shaved their bikini area.

15% said they would miss their screening test for a gym class or a waxing appointment.


PHE director of screening Anne Mackie said the campaign was about “breaking down barriers”.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Chief Executive Robert Music said:

“We know attending screening isn’t always easy for a wide range of reasons, yet cervical screening can be lifesaving as it can detect changes in the cervix before they become cancerous.”


Watch their campaign video below:


Text Reference

Triggle, N – BBC News. (2019). Is it time for ‘smear test’ to be rebranded? Accessible: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47445785. Last Accessed: 5 March 2019.