May 2016 is “Wheatbelt Pap Smear Month” and the Cancer Council WA is urging women in the Wheatbelt to make an appointment for a Pap smear if they are due or overdue.
Karen Hansen, Regional Education Officer Wheatbelt from the Cancer Council WA said, “We need to encourage all women to have a Pap smear every two years as four out of five women who develop cervical cancer have either never had a Pap smear or do not have them regularly.”
In 2013-14 the Wheatbelt region had a cervical screening participation rate of 52.2%, which is lower than the State rate of 56.1%. Across the Wheatbelt women in the 20-29 age group are mostly under screened. This shows a large number of women in the Wheatbelt who do not screen regularly and are therefore at risk of developing cervical cancer. The biggest risk factor for cervical cancer is not having regular Pap smears.
To encourage women to have regular Pap smears Cancer Council WA, Wheatbelt Public Health Unit and the WA Primary Health Alliance, Country WA Primary Health Network are hosting a number of activities during May. These include women’s information sessions with health professionals and Pap smear clinics to be held in some towns.
All women aged between 18 and 70 years who have ever been sexually active need to have regular Pap smears as part of their ongoing health and wellbeing checks.
If you are living in the Wheatbelt, are aged between 18 and 70 years and have not had a Pap smear for more than two years or never had one, speak to your GP or practice nurse.