COMMUNITY HEALTH | Cervical testing push for the South-West

WOMEN'S HEALTH: A still image from the Test Out West campaign which is being run by Family Planning clinics across the South-West. Details: testoutwest.org.au.
WOMEN'S HEALTH: A still image from the Test Out West campaign which is being run by Family Planning clinics across the South-West. Details: testoutwest.org.au.

Embarrassment, cost and lack of knowledge are why women are putting off cervical screening testing, says the South-West's Family Planning NSW medical director Deborah Bateson.

Family Planning recently launched a new digital campaign to address low rates of cervical screening in the South-West. Test Out West, funded by Cancer Institute NSW, involves young women from the region in a range of social situations promoting the benefits of screening in a series of videos promoted through social media.

Cabramatta features in the digital campaign.

Cabramatta features in the digital campaign.

Women 25 to 34 in western and south-west Sydney have the lowest rates of cervical screening in NSW. At the Fairfield Family Planning clinic 15 per cent of women are overdue for screening.

Lots of women here come from countries without screening and have some misinformation.

DEBORAH BATESON, South-West Family Planning

Dr Bateson said the cervical screening test, which replaced the Pap test in 2017, detects the human papillomavirus and any abnormal cell changes that could become cervical cancer. Four out of five women with cervical cancer have never had a Pap test, a CST or don't screen as often as recommended. "Cervical screening is simple and can help save lives," she said. "It only takes a few minutes. Women often feel very worried about it, sometimes embarrassed and even the cost but it can be done through Family Planning clinics. We also want to educate men to support their partners. In this area, a lot of women come from countries that don't have an organised screening program and have some misinformation."

Cervical-cancer screening starts at age 25 and is recommended every five years.

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