LOVE ISLAND star Maura Higgins is using her new-found fame as a platform to spread the word about the importance of going for regular smear tests.
The Longford native, 28, took to Twitter with the hashtag #EndSmearFear, and referenced her unintended Love Island catchphrase "Fanny Flutters" to encourage women to speak openly about vaginas, cervixes and smear tests.
She suggested starting the open dialogue by asking her Twitter followers to share their favourite "vagina emoji" and said hers was undoubtedly the butterfly.
The full Twitter post reads:
"Smear tests aren't always easy so let's help #EndSmearFear by talking more about them. I got the nation talking about Fanny Flutters now let's do the same with vaginbas, cervixes and smear tests! Starting with a hunt for our favourite vagina emoji. Mine is definitely [butterfly emoji]."
Smear tests aren't always easy so let’s help #EndSmearFear by talking more about them. I got the nation talking about Fanny Flutters now let's do the same with vaginas, cervixes and smear tests! Starting with a hunt for our favourite vagina emoji. Mine is definitely 🦋
— Maura Higgins (@MauraHiggins) September 16, 2019
The move has been widely welcomes by women across Ireland and beyond as the campaign is simply so important-- particularly in a country where mistakes by the Government and Health Service Executive (HSE) has resulted in hundreds of women receiving the wrong results of their smear, and in some cases developing cervical cancer which should have been preventable.
While women's trust in the HSE is lower than ever it is still of the utmost importance to go for a regular smear test. Early detection results in lives saved, and replies to Maura's original tweet shows the stark reality of this.
My smear test saved my life!! I was diagnosed with Stage 1b Cervical Cancer.... after a Radical Hysterectomy at the world famous The Christie Hospital I am now 5 years Cancer free!! 👍🏻💕.... so come on ladies get yourself booked in for ur smear tests xx 👍🏻💕
— lorraine lealand (@lorrainelealand) September 16, 2019
Yes!! I was diagnosed this year with cervical cancer picked up by a smear!! They save lives im now in remission after a hysterectomy 🦋 get your smears ladies ❤️
— Cheri (@Cheri_Barwell) September 16, 2019
I think it's great you're talking about it. My sister was diagnosed 4years ago with cervical cancer , she's now in remission. She was always afraid to get a smear test done, she said if she could go back instead of getting chemotherapy she would . Love my Sister🌹
— 💕Karen Lynch💕 (@kaz5858) September 16, 2019
You can easily book a smear test through your GP in both Ireland and the UK.
It takes less than ten minutes and could mean the difference between treatment for abnormal cells and treatment for cervical cancer.
More information can be found on the HSE's website.