Community cervix announcement: New test will save lives
CANCER Council Queensland has backed the new cervical screening program to be launched nationally later this year, replacing the two-yearly pap smear test.
Only about half of all eligible women in Queensland currently get regular pap smears - the second lowest rate in the country, national figures show.
Cancer Council spokesperson Katie Clift said the new HPV test, to be introduced in late 2017, would be more effective than a pap smear, just as safe, and hopefully improve uptake rates.
"The new test will detect HPV before abnormal cell changes occur, helping to prevent cases of cervical cancer and increase survival rates," Ms Clift said.
"We hope this change in the screening program will encourage more eligible women to take the test, giving themselves the best possible chance of detecting cancer early.
"The test will be available for women aged 25 - 74, based on evidence that screening is much less effective in women under the age of 25 years.
"We commend the Federal Government for expanding this screening program, helping to save the lives of more Queenslanders.
"Cancer Council was involved in the scientific review that has guided the release of the new cervical screening program."
The new cervical screening test will be available for all Australian women aged 25 to 74 in late 2017.
Cancer Council Queensland is urging eligible women to continue participating in the current pap smear screening program until the new test becomes available.
"Regular pap smears currently remain the best protection against cervical cancer," Ms Clift said.
"It's crucial that all eligible Queensland women prioritise regular pap smears and get screened every two years, until the new screening program becomes available.
"Participation leads to fewer cases of cervical cancer, and fewer women dying from this disease."
Around 200 women in Queensland are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 60 die from the disease.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.