26 September 2023

‘Women to DIY cancer test

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In a bid to increase cervical cancer screening rates across the country, NSW women are to have access to do-it-yourself tests that can replace their regular pap smears.

Announcing the new tests, the Commonwealth Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney said Australia was one of the first countries in the world to offer self-collection as a choice for all screening participants.

“For many women and people with a cervix, particularly those who have experienced sexual violence or abuse, having a regular ‘pap smear’ from a GP can be extremely traumatic, and many women instead opt not to get this test done, which exposes them to a higher risk of developing cervical cancer,” Ms Kearney said.

“Being able to do the test yourself is also expected to increase the rates of cervical cancer screening for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who may have experienced cultural barriers and taboos around traditional ‘pap smears’,” she said.

“It will also make a world of difference for the gender diverse community who also face access barriers.”

Ms Kearney said the self-collection option would be available through GP clinics, women’s health clinics, Aboriginal health centres and other healthcare providers.

She said both test options were free under Medicare, were accessed through a healthcare provider and were an accurate and safe ways to collect a sample for a Cervical Screening Test.

Further information on self-collection and the National Cervical Screening Program can be accessed at this PS News link.

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