At risk: More than 3,000 women in Far West NSW overdue for a Pap test

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week – November 7-13

Despite having access to a test that can significantly reduce their chance of developing cancer, the latest figures from the Cancer Institute NSW show that more than 3,000 women in Far West NSW have not had their Pap test in the past two years.

Professor David Currow, NSW Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, urges women not to be complacent about getting regular pap tests, worried that many women underestimate the importance of this regular health check.

“These days, women are less likely to know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, so they may not feel they are at risk. In fact, five women still get diagnosed with cervical cancer every week in NSW, yet 96 per cent of cervical cancers could be prevented by regular screening.”

With changes to the National Cervical Screening Program due to start mid next year, there are also concerns that women may be putting off their test until then. Professor Currow says, “Until the new program is fully implemented, it is vital that women have their Pap test as soon as it’s due. This is the best chance women have of finding and treating cellular changes before cancer develops.”

Professor Currow also explains that the changes to the new program will not change the actual procedure women go through for the test.

“It is important women don’t wait for the new screening program out of a belief that it might be a different procedure. The changes are primarily what is tested for and how it is diagnosed in the lab, rather than a change to how doctors take the sample of cells from the cervix.”

The main message from the Institute is for women who are overdue to book their Pap test today.

“This Cervical Cancer Awareness Week is an important reminder for the million women who are overdue to see their GP and have a Pap test that could potentially save their life.”

To access screening in Broken Hill please contact The Child & Family Health Centre, 2 Oxide Street, on 8080 1100 or your local GP.

You can also find your nearest GP or women’s health nurse that provides Pap tests online at www.csp.nsw.gov.au.

 

[1] Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

[2] Cervical Cancer Screening in New South Wales: Annual Statistical Report 2012–2013. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW, March 2015.

3 Cervical Cancer Screening in New South Wales: Annual Statistical Report 2012–2013. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW, March 2015.

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