Cervical cancer complacency in Baw Baw
 Baw Baw News  

By // 00:13, Tuesday 12 March 2013

cervical cancer screening gippsland warragul citizen by william kulich

JUST two thirds of women in Baw Baw take part in regular cervical cancer screening, data from the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry reveals.

Graphic: author.

Only 61.4 per cent of women in Baw Baw had a pap test in the 2010-2011 reporting period.

National Cervical Screening Program guidelines suggest women aged between 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active have a test every two years.


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PapScreen Victoria manager Hiranthi Perera said in a media release tests are required even for women who have had the HPV vaccine.

“I would encourage all women who are overdue to book a Pap test today, even if they’ve had the HPV vaccine,” Ms Perera said.

The vaccine protects against 70 per cent of cervical cancers. Regular screening can prevent up to 90 per cent of cancer cases.

Baw Baw’s screening rate is however the third best of all Gippsland Local Government Areas, and is higher than the Gippsland average of 59.7 per cent and the state average of 59.2 per cent.

Latrobe City had Gippsland’s lowest screening rate: 56.4 per cent.

The 2009-2010 reporting period saw 61.6 per cent of women in Baw Baw screened.

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3 responses to “Cervical cancer complacency in Baw Baw”

  1. Bente says:

    It’s not complacency, But, perhaps like me, some woman prefer a female GP to do this job, but have not been able to locate one. I am in Yarragon 3823

  2. EEB says:

    I don’t think it’s complacency, I think more women are getting to the facts and choosing not to screen or not to screen as often. Our program has always been excessive, which greatly increases the risk of a false positive and potentially harmful excess biopsies and over-treatment for NO additional benefit. Our program should have been changed many years ago, IMO, it’s now harmful.
    I got accurate and complete information from countries that offer evidence based testing and respect our legal and ethical right – informed consent. Since the 1960’s the Finns have had a 6-7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30 to 60 and they have the lowest rates of cervix cancer in the world and refer far fewer women for biopsies/over-treatment. (which can damage the cervix and lead to premature babies, c-sections, miscarriages etc)
    The Dutch had the same program, but will shortly move with the evidence yet again and introduce 5 hrHPV primary tests at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 (or self-test with the Delphi Screener) and only the roughly 5% who are HPV+ and at risk will be offered a 5 yearly pap test. Most women are HPV- and not currently at risk, they will be offered the remaining 4 HPV primary tests. (or self-test) This takes most women out of pap testing and out of harms way. Many women will be HPV- and in a monogamous relationship or no longer sexually active, they might choose to stop all further testing. The self test device is also being used in Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere. UK women can buy Tampap to self-test for HPV.
    More Aussie women are ordering the HPV self-testing device online, testing, and mailing their sample back to Singapore, results arrive by email. This device was invented by Dutch gynecologists. Your result gives you very important information: HPV- you’re not currently at risk and cannot benefit from a pap test, HPV+ and you’re at at risk, you have a small chance of benefiting from a pap test.
    Australia does not offer HPV self-testing or HPV primary testing, just outdated and excessive population pap testing…why?
    Our program is currently under review, women should write to their Federal member and ask why women are not being offered evidence based HPV primary testing and the long overdue option of HPV self-testing. If we were serious about this rare cancer, we wouldn’t be bothering with population pap testing. HPV primary testing identifies the fairly small number at risk so should save more lives and will take most women out of pap testing…why would any HPV- woman wish to spend a lifetime having unnecessary pap testing with the high risk of over-treatment. The Aussie program carries a 77% lifetime risk of referral for colposcopy/biopsy, almost all are false positives caused by serious over-screening, we screen too early, too often and for too long maximizing risk for no additional benefit. The lifetime risk of cervical cancer is 0.65%, it’s rare, always was and was in natural decline before screening started. The tragedy is there was never a need to worry and harm so many women.
    Also, we should not be paying GPs to reach screening targets either, it’s a potential conflict of interest. (PIP scheme – currently 70% of eligible patients)
    HPV Today, Edition 24, sets out the new Dutch program.
    Delphi Bioscience provides information on HPV self-testing.
    “Time to Change the Policy” by Dr James Dickinson, MJA, 2002 contains a chart which highlights the excess in our program. This article is now 11 years old and women are still being told they “need” 26 or even more pap tests.

  3. Miss Duncan says:

    You state “tests are required”….I think not – they are recommended NOT required – please remember all screening is elective and all women have the right to choice