Recent research has revealed that 32.3% of Aussie women are putting off getting a cervical screening test as they felt ‘awkward’, with 27.6% stating they were avoiding the cervical screening test as they were ‘embarrassed’.
The research, conducted for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, analysed 1,005 Australian women and their attitudes towards cervical cancer screening tests. These statistics were released July, 2019 by the Foundation as a part of the CerFIX2035 campaign, which is aimed at educating women about their cervical health and eradicating cervical cancer by 2035.
Experts have predicted Australia will be the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer entirely, however, there needs to be a 30-50% increase in cervical screening tests for that to happen.
“Our national research demonstrates that whilst we as a nation have made significant gains when it comes to HPV vaccination rates and driving down new cases of cervical cancer, there is still a great misunderstanding of cervical cancer and of the Cervical Screening Test,” said Joe Toama, CEO of the Australian Cervical Council Australia.
In December 2017, the pap smear was replaced by the cervical screening test and women are now encouraged to get the test every five years. With 80% of cervical cancer occurring in women who are not up to date with their screening or have never been screened, it is crucial that women follow the recommended guidelines for early detection.
The test detects STI human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for around 99.9% of cervical cancers. Currently, over 78% of 15-year-old girls and over 72% of Australian boys received the HPV vaccination. In comparison to other countries, this number is high, however, it is critical that the rate of young people getting vaccinated against HPV continues to grow.
If you’re between the ages of 25-74, it is important to seek advice from your healthcare professional about getting a cervical screening test.
Find out more at: Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.