Cancer survivor and all round good egg Nikki Hartley is getting the conversation of cervical cancer started.  Her beauty salon Beautiful You have started an initiative offering free bikini waxes for women as an incentive to book in for smear tests. Gef caught up with Nikki to speak about this hugely important and often overlooked issue impacting women.

Cancer Research UK show two women die from cervical cancer every day, and one in four miss their screenings.Nikki Hartley, owner of beauty salon, Beautiful You, is aiming to break down the stigma associated with cervical screening aka the dreaded smear test. Inspired by the #CheersForSmears UK campaign, Nikki has offered all customers free bikini waxes if they provide proof they are booked in for a smear test.Nikki says she is starting this initiative as it is a subject matter very close to her heart:“I was diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 31 years old. Sadly, it resulted in me having a radical hysterectomy. Going through cervical cancer and the operation took up 18 months of mine and my family’s life. A smear test is an uncomfortable 3 minutes and I understand it can feel like a loss of dignity. But hopefully people will come to the salon, have their lady bits waxed and realise that they can overcome this. And also realise how important it is too”As Nikki points out, girls are likely to spend more time removing their clothes pre-test than they will in the procedure itself. It appears that one of the main reasons for ladies’ ‘smear-fear’ is down to old-fashioned British embarrassment. Whether that be the act of getting naked or shyness over the, shall we say, unkempt nature of their nether regions! Nikki’s free bikini wax will, she hopes, begin the process of overcoming such bashfulness, instead, igniting a conversation that is in dire need of starting.“The hope for me is when somebody is out with their friends, having a few drinks on a Friday night, they ask them ‘When was your last smear test?’ and then before you know it that becomes the norm where everyone is talking about it. When this is part of the conversation, without shame or embarrassment, then more women will have their smear tests and potentially, more lives will be saved from early detection”Nikki’s message has, only a couple of days in, caught fire. She assures us this won’t be the end of this; she plans to make this a lifelong campaign and has plans hatched to push for a lowering of the age range for screening. Watch this space.Head to the Beautiful You facebook page now for more info. The bikini wax offer is available until the end of April. 

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