Cancer Council says an improvement in the uptake of breast and cervical screening is crucial, following the release of new figures by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare yesterday.
The AIHW report showed almost 6 in 10 women in the target age groups for breast and cervical screening participated in the programs in 2011 or 2012 – similar to the rates in previous years.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said more women needed to participate in regular screenings to reduce their cancer risk and improve chances of survival.
“An improvement in the uptake of breast and cervical screening in Queensland is crucial,” Ms Clift said.
“If cancer is found and treated early, there is an increased chance of surviving the disease.
“It’s also concerning that breast screening continues to be lower among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, as shown in the report – around 38 per cent.
“While some women are screened privately, there is concern that many others may be missing out or failing to follow up on their reminder notices.
“Queensland women should be breast aware and familiarise themselves with the normal look and feel of their breasts.
“All women should also see a doctor immediately if they notice any unusual breast changes.
“Regular pap smears are the best protection against cervical cancer.
“Through population screening at regular intervals, the pap smear test has the potential to reduce up to 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases in Australia.”
Cancer Council Queensland recommends all Queensland women undertake recommended screening for all cancers.
“Early detection is crucial in the fight against cancer, and in improving female cancer survival rates,” Ms Clift said.
“Talk to your GP regularly about necessary check-ups and screenings, and consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your overall health.
“Early detection of cancer can improve your survival rate, and lead to better quality of life due to less invasive treatment.
“Your personal health is too important to ignore.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Queensland women – around 2900 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Around 770 women across Australia are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year – 180 of these are from Queensland.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council Helpline