National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week was this month. The ACCF and AGCF want to encourage all people with a cervix to catch up with their important cervical cancer screening. If you have been putting off your doctor visits over the last two years, now it’s crucial that you say hey to your favourite medical practitioner and get this life saving test.
About cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix. These can develop into tumours and in worst case scenarios, spread throughout the body. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV). Worldwide, cervical cancer is one of the 4 most common causes of death from cancer in women.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is one of the 4 most common causes of death from cancer in women
The National Cervical Screening Program
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if it is detected early. In Australia, we’re fortunate to have the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program that invites women aged 25 to 75 to undertake a simple test every five years. It involves taking a swab of your cervix to detect signs of HPV.
Research into cervical cancer is the answer
Since the National Cervical Screening Program was introduced in 1992, cervical cancer rates have halved in Australia. However, Indigenous women remain twice as likely to develop cervical cancer, and four times more likely to die from the disease because of late diagnosis.
Indigenous women remain twice as likely to develop cervical cancer
That’s why in 2018, the AGCF awarded Dr Aime Powell the Cindy Sullivan Fellowship for her outstanding research project on Aboriginal women and their increased risk of cervical cancer in an era with national prevention programs.
During her project, the research team interviewed many healthcare providers and women in the Kimberley District and identified the main reasons why many Indigenous women do not participate in cervical screening. In response to these barriers, Dr Powell and her team developed a new service model that offers women the option of HPV self-collection, paired with rapid point of care (PoC) testing and same day assessment.
This incredible project would not have been possible without research grants provided to Australia’s best and brightest minds for new ways to screen, treat and cure gynaecological cancers. This National Cervical Cancer Week it is our mission to give hope to every woman through world class research. We hope you join us.