Talk about cervical health: National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week
According to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, forty-three per cent of women are not having a Pap test regularly enough. This week, to mark National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, GPs are encouraged to talk to their patients about keeping up to date with their cervical screening and Gardasil vaccinations.
Highlighting the importance of regular screening is the fact that eighty per cent of all women that are diagnosed with new cancers of the cervix in Australia have either never been screened or are lapsed screeners. GPs play a vital role in informing their patients of the importance of regular screening and reassuring them about the process.
From May next year, under an updated National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP,) the Pap test will be replaced with a cervical screening test for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) for women aged between 25 and 74 years of age, with routine screening to occur every five years instead of every two years.
The new program will adopt a risk-based approach to cervical screening, with women to receive a result based on their risk of developing significant cervical abnormalities in the following five years. As part of the changes a new National Cancer Screening Register will be introduced to send women invitations and reminders about the program.
To coincide with National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation has developed and launched a Cervical Health App and a Comfort Checklist to promote awareness about the disease
For more information about the NCSP, or the changes to the program, please visit the Department of Health’s website.