What is known?
Cervical cancer is preventable through both primary vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and cervical cancer screening. Australia has one of the lowest overall cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates globally, reflecting the success of the national population-based cervical screening program in 1991. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women continue to have a high cervical cancer burden.
What is new?
Results based on more than 2 million women (around 47,000 Indigenous) aged 20 to 69 years who had a Pap Smear, showed that Pap test participation rates decreased over time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, as well as other Queensland women.
There was substantial geographical variation in cervical screening participation rates across Queensland. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women consistently had lower participation rates in most small geographical areas across Queensland than the total Queensland average.
What does this mean?
Cervical cancer burden in Australia can only be reduced through concentrated efforts on identifying and addressing key drivers of the continuing disparities in screening participation. This will require active involvement of Indigenous women both in finding out key barriers to screening participation and designing appropriate effective localised interventions.
Contact: Paramita Dasgupta
Reference: Dasgupta P, Aitken JF, Condon JR, Garvey G, Whop LJ, DeBats C, Baade, PD. Spatial and temporal variations in cervical cancer screening participation among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, Queensland, Australia, 2008- 2017. Cancer Epidemiology. 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2020.101849.