This year the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) is encouraging women to make a commitment to getting up-to-date with their cervical screening and to paint their nails orange in support of cervical health awareness.
Thanks to vaccination and screening, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.
However, of big concern is that 80% of cervical cancer eventuates in women who have never had a cervical screening test or who under-screen, said Far West LHD Women’s Health Nurse, Jane Davies.
“It means they have not had a cervical screening test at least every 2 years,” said Mrs Davies.
“The current cervical screening test (the Pap smear) has always looked at cells taken from the cervix and observed them for variations that may be indicative of changes that could eventually, after many years, lead to cancer. So it is important to have screening at the recommended interval.”
Another concern is that only 58% of all women undertake cervical screening regularly. “Health professionals understand that the procedure for cervical screening can be one of the reasons that women don’t screen, so research conducted by the ACCF this year suggested that a woman-focused “comfort checklist” would be useful to address the anxiety and vulnerability felt by some women,” said Mrs Davies.
The “comfort checklist” is available at https://accf.org.au/cervical-health/prevention/comfort-checklist
Mrs Davies said the “comfort checklist” aims to increase the likelihood of cervical screening being perceived as a comfortable procedure and a positive experience, and includes ways to overcome barriers to improve screening adherence.
Mrs Davies is encouraging women, during National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, to book their cervical screening test with a Women’s Health Nurse or their GP.
Women’s Health Nurses and GPs will also be able to discuss the new Cervical Screening Program changes, set to become effective on 1st December 2017, with women.
Courtesy of ACCF 2017