As part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week from 11 to 17 November, Darling Downs Health is urging women to take five minutes to get five years peace of mind.
Mobile women’s health nurse Kathryn Anning is asking women to check if they are due for a cervical screening test and make an appointment.
“The test takes five minutes of your time and only needs to be done once every five years, yet about half of Queensland’s eligible women are skipping their cervical screening,” Ms Anning said.
“More than 70 per cent of cervical cancers occur in women who have never been screened or are under-screened.
“The rate of deaths from cervical cancer has halved since the National Cervical Screening Program started in 1991.
“The program has started using a new cervical screening test which screens for human papillomavirus (HPV), replacing the pap test.
“HPV is the main cause of abnormal cells in the cervix, so the new test has meant women are receiving interventions earlier.
“The latest Australian data shows almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.”
Women aged 25 to 74 are encouraged to book a cervical screening test two years after their last pap test, and if the results are normal, get a test every five years after that.
“I urge all women to get up to date with their cervical screening – it’s quick and it may just save your life,” Ms Anning said.
Darling Downs Health has three mobile women’s health nurses who travel the region providing a range of free services including cervical screening tests, breast awareness education, sexual health testing and advice for issues such as continence, menopause, family planning, contraception and general wellbeing.
Contact your closest hospital and health service to find out the dates for the mobile women health nurses in your area. For more information on the National Cervical Screening Program visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au/cervical or call 13 15 56.