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ACCF and WNSWLHD banding together to raise cervical screening rates in Western NSW

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  • ACCF and WNSWLHD banding together to raise cervical screening rates in Western NSW

11 March 2022

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) Women’s Health Service and the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) have banded together to raise the cervical screening rates in Brewarrina, Lightning Ridge, Coonamble, and Gulargambone.

Australia is on track to effectively eliminate cervical cancer by 2035. Preventative measures include the HPV vaccine available for all high school students and introduction of the new Cervical Screening Test. Despite this, there are still areas and groups that have lower rates of cervical screening.

“Aboriginal women and those living in rural Australia have lower rates of cervical screening than in metropolitan areas” Liz Ham, ACCF National Health Promotion Manager, said.

The Test in the West project is aimed at breaking down social and geographical barriers to cervical screening. The project will include health information sessions which will also offer pop-up women’s health nurse clinics, light refreshments, vouchers and giveaways.

“These events will be a safe place to embrace the awkwardness that so many of us have around women’s health topics, especially cervical screening. We want women to have an opportunity to put themselves first, and have a cervical screening Test,” Ms Ham said.

The National Cervical Screening Program encourages all women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 74 years of age to have a cervical screening test every five years.

“The new cervical screening test is incredibly accurate at detecting the virus that causes cancers before they have the chance to progress” Joanne Phillips, WNSWLHD Women’s Health Clinical Nurse Consultant, said.

Though the current process is similar to having a Pap Test, a self-collected sample may be an option for women who are overdue or have never been screened for HPV or cervical cancer.

“Having a cervical screening test with a Women’s Health Nurse is the gold standard. Self-collected tests are an option for some people to make sure they still have this vital screening,” Ms Phillips said.

Test in the West:

Brewarrina – OCHRE Medical Centre
Monday 14 March – 2pm to 6pm
Tuesday 15 March – 9am to 12pm

Lightning Ridge – Multipurpose Service
Tuesday 15 March – 3pm to 6pm
Wednesday 16 March – 9am to 12pm

Coonamble – Mackillop Family Services
Wednesday 16 March – 3pm to 6pm
Thursday 17 March – 9am to 12pm

Gulargambone – Gulargambone Youth Centre
Thursday 17 March – 1.30pm to 4pm

For more information on the Test in the West sessions, please contact:

Liz Ham
National Health Promotion Manager
Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation
liz.ham@accf.org.au

Siobahn Graham
Health Promotion Officer Women’s Health
Western NSW Local Health District
Siobahn.graham@health.nsw.gov.au