HEALTH professionals are encouraging Central Queensland women to ensure their cervical screening tests are carried out regularly after a drop in local participation numbers.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report Cervical screening in Australia 2019, shows participation in cervical screening varies by remoteness, being highest in inner-regional areas at 57 per cent and lowest in very remote areas at 46 per cent.
The report also notes the incidence of cervical cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is more than twice that of non-Indigenous women, and the mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is more than three times the non-Indigenous rate.
Data for 2015-16 shows that in Australia the average participation rate for cervical screening was 55.4 per cent, but the rates in Queensland Primary Health Networks was lower than the national average.
Average participation rates in Central Queensland and the Wide Bay area were 54.2 per cent with rates dropping to 49.7 per cent in western Queensland.
Central Queensland Mobile Women’s Health Service clinical nurse consultant, Melissa Smail, said there were services available for women in rural and regional areas.
“The Mobile Women’s Health Service has been operating for almost 30 years because access to health services, particularly specialised services such as women’s preventive health, can be challenging in rural and remote areas,” she said.
“Many women still don’t know about our services so we’re hoping to raise awareness in the local community and encourage women to have their Cervical Screening Tests.”
The Cervical Screening Test is recommended for all women aged 25-74, every five years. HPV and cervical cancer are usually asymptomatic, particularly in the early stages.
The National Cervical Screening Program now tests for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer. This means earlier detection of any issues and the chance for increased monitoring or early treatment, leading to better outcomes.
Women who have symptoms such as abnormal bleeding should talk to their doctor.
Mobile Women’s Health Services are provided by female nurses who specialise in women’s
preventive health matters and are at no cost to women accessing the service.
The nurses travel to rural and remote areas of Queensland to ensure local women can obtain vital healthcare tests, treatment, advice and referrals to other services or specialists if needed.
Visit the website to find out the nearest service to you.
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