Life Saving Wax: What you should know about the new initiative encouraging cervical cancer screening

25th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

Beauty booking app Treatwell is working with Public Health England on the new campaign.

Blue Wax

Many women don’t shy away from intimate waxing – in fact, it’s part of a monthly (or so) routine we follow.

But if so many of us are comfortable with letting someone wax down there, why is there still such a taboo around cervical screening, which is at a 20-year low?

If you live in a major city in the UK or Europe, you may have used Treatwell to book a beauty appointment in a nearby salon. After realising that more women than ever are getting waxes and yet fewer and fewer are going to get a potentially life-saving treatment, Treatwell has teamed up with Public Health England’s ‘Cervical Screen Saves Lives’ campaign for something new.

Here’s everything you need to know about ‘Life Saving Wax’…

Why do we need to raise awareness?

According to Public Health England (PHE), on average 2,577 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer each year between 2014 and 2016, with 689 women dying from the disease. What makes this even sadder is that many of these instances could have been prevented – it is estimated that if everyone attended regular screenings, 83% of cervical cancer cases could have been stopped.

With these kind of stats, you’d think that everyone would make their appointments – but this is far from the case. One in four women aren’t attending a screening, a number which is increasing year on year.

Professor Anne Mackie, director of screening programmes at PHE, says: “Two lives are lost every day to cervical cancer but this needn’t be the case. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts as the test identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous and ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible.

“The decline in numbers getting screened, particularly those aged between 25 – 34, is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test.”

Is intimate waxing really that popular?


In a word, yes. Treatwell has found that 90% of women aged between 25 and 34 maintain their pubic hair in some way, and around 1.2 million women head to a salon to do so.

One of the main reasons women give for missing their cervical cancer screening is embarrassment, and yet Treatwell saw an 84% increase in bookings for intimate waxing between 2017 and 2018. This begs the question – why is one seen as embarrassing, when the other is not?

So what’s Life Saving Wax?

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This campaign uses the intimate relationship between a woman and her waxer to open up conversations around cervical cancer screenings and break some of the taboo. Treatwell found that almost half the women it surveyed said they’d be comfortable talking about personal topics with their waxer, so why not about screenings?

It’s not like your waxer is a health professional, but in over 500 of the Treatwell partner salons they will be having more conversations with the women who pass through about cervical cancer and whether they’ve attended a screening. Salons will be stocked with further information about screenings, showing that it’s not something to be embarrassed about but could save your life.

Liz Hambleton, Beauty Director at Treatwell, commented: “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.”

© Press Association 2019