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Australian women don't get regular Pap tests

Photo: Aust women not having regular Pap tests
Nearly half of Australian women are still not getting screened regularly for cervical cancer, which kills more than 200 women in the country every year.

Australian women are still dying from cervical cancer because they're failing to have regular pap tests.

The Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation says nearly half - 43 per cent - of Australian women don't get screened every two years, as recommended.

Joe Tooma, chief executive at the ACCF says it's those women who end up with cervical cancer.

"We know how to prevent probably 98 or 99 per cent of cervical cancer by vaccinating people, boys and girls, against the human papillomavirus (HPV)," said Mr Tooma.
The other way to prevent the cancer is to get a pap test, he says.

Every year, more than 20,000 women in Australia are diagnosed with high grade abnormalities after having a pap test.

Often there are no symptoms and if the abnormalities aren't picked up soon enough they can develop into cancer.

About 800 to 1000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in Australia. In 2013, there were 224 deaths from cervical cancer.

"It's because those cancers were found too late," says Mr Tooma.

"That's why we really need to find those women who aren't getting regular pap tests so we can save their lives."

Screening is recommended every two years for sexually active women aged 18-70 to detect any changes in the cells on the cervix.

From next year the two-yearly pap test will be changing to a five-yearly HPV test, a measure expected to prevent an additional 140 cervical cancer cases each year.


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