Only half of Warwick women receiving a regular pap smear
ONLY half of women in Warwick receive a regular pap smear, and it's not a check-up to be ignoring according to women's health specialists.
A pap smear is currently the only means of detecting the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer according to a Darling Downs health spokeswoman.
"It is very important that cervical cancer is diagnosed as early as possible through regular diligent screening," she said.
"Cervical cancer is treatable so the earlier you can detect it the better."
The latest available data for the two-year period of 2014-2015 shows 1919 women aged between 20 and 69 participated in cervical screening in the Warwick area.
"This was 48.2% of the eligible population," the spokeswoman said.
The startling statistics come the same day the Cancer Council released news of a cervical screening program to be launched nationally later this year, replacing the two-yearly pap smear test.
Warwick's statistics align with that of the rest of regional Queensland, with only half of all eligible women in the state currently getting regular pap smears, the second lowest rate in the country.
Cancer Council spokeswoman Katie Clift said the new HPV test 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 to 74, based on evidence that screening is much less effective in women under the age of 25 years."
Until then, the Darling Downs healthy spokeswoman encouraged all women to keep an eye out for the mobile women's health nurse Kathryn Anning's free Well Women's clinics.
"The service is free and confidential and is available to all women," she said.
Where you can get a pap smear in Warwick
Your local GP
Women's health nurses