Despite having access to a test that can significantly reduce the chance of developing cancer, the latest figures from the Cancer Institute NSW show that more than 30,000 women in Western NSW have not had their Pap test in the past two years. Cervical cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women around the world. However, in Australia rates have halved over the last 25 years due to the free national screening program and the introduction of the HPV vaccine.
Professor David Currow said: “These days, women are less likely to know someone who has been diagnosed with the
disease, so they may not feel they are at risk. In fact, five women still get diagnosed every week in NSW, yet 96% of cervical cancers could be prevented.” With changes to the National Cervical Screening Program due to start this year,
there are also concerns that women may be putting off their test until then.
Professor Currow said: “It is vital that women have their Pap test as soon as it’s due. This is the best chance to find and treat cellular changes before cancer develops.” The main message from the Institute is for women who are overdue to book their Pap test today.
To find your nearest GP or women’s health nurse, visit www.csp.nsw.gov.au.