Jane Forward, CEO, Blog

Women’s Health Week 5-11 September 2022

This week, I was honoured to attend the Woman and Family Health Service annual women’s health week breakfast.   After hearing of our Health Minister’s passion and conviction towards a social model of health, it was with pride that I learned Australia is positioned to be the first country to eradicate cervical cancer.

Dr Tang walked the audience through how our screening and vaccination programs would ensure that we would achieve elimination by the 2036 target.  She advised that milestone targets were being achieved apart from some target cohorts, such as first nations people and women with a disability.

It comes as no surprise to those reading this blog, that nearly half of adults with a disability rate their health as poor compared to 7% of adults without disability[1]. Only a quarter of people with a disability consider their health needs as good, with most reporting a shortage of suitable services.

Cervical screening tests are critical in the early detection of cervical cancer. It is currently recommended that all women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years old, who have ever had any sexual contact, should have regular cervical screenings.

A CST is a quick procedure where a medical practitioner will check the health of your cervix by swabbing your cervix and taking a sample to be sent for screening at a laboratory. The test is looking for the presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer. The CST has replaced the Pap smear, it is only required every five years and provides better early detection of cervical cancer.

From the 1st of July, patients have the ability to self-collect.  This new self-collection method for cervical screening is a less invasive option which we hope will encourage people to screen regularly.

For more information visit the National Cervical Screening Program, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-cervical-screening-program

Based in Northbridge, Women and Family Health Service (WHFS) is one of a few women specific services across Perth.  WHFS offers the new self-collection (and clinical collection) methods.  They are disability friendly, have an amazing team of friendly doctors and nurses and can be contacted on ph.6330 5400 or email at info@whfs.org.au and if they can’t help you, they will put you in touch with someone close to your home.

I encourage all women to access screening services and make their health needs a priority.

Jane Forward, CEO

Valued Lives Foundation

[1] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/contents/health/health-status

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