Life-Saving Campaign Targets Women In South West

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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An intensive campaign will begin tomorrow in the South West region to save women’s lives through screening for cervical cancer.

The Department of Health’s WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program aims to increase cervical screening participation among women up to 70 years of age, especially among unscreened and under-screened women.

WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program Manager Gillian Mangan said the Program’s strategies focus on women over 50 years of age, Indigenous women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women in rural and remote areas and women with disabilities.

“63.89 per cent of eligible women participate in cervical screening in the South West, which compares favourably with the State rate of 60.97 per cent, however, there is always scope for improvement given that over 35 per cent of eligible women are still not having Pap smears every two years,” she said.

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“One of the ways we can reduce the incidence and death rate from cervical cancer is to encourage all women who have ever had sex to participate in regular two-yearly Pap smears. This includes those who have been immunised with the new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as the vaccine does not protect against all types of the cancer-causing virus.”

Ms Mangan said the campaign aimed to encourage local health service providers, general practitioners and other health professionals to raise awareness of the importance of regular Pap smears and, in turn, empower women to be actively involved in their own health care.

The campaign will include radio and press advertising as well as education sessions and Pap smear clinics for women in the region.

“Three out of every four women who develop cervical cancer have either never had a Pap smear or have not had one in the past five years,” Ms Mangan said.

“Women who have never had a Pap smear, or haven’t had one in the past two years, are strongly urged to make an appointment with their doctor, health centre, Aboriginal Medical Service or Well Women’s Clinic.”

One test, 15 minutes, every two years is all it takes to help prevent up to 90 per cent of cervical cancer.

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