The Mid North Coast Local Health District is encouraging women to attend free Cervical Screening Clinics being held across the region in conjunction with National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2020 from November 16-22.
Women who attend health checks at participating services will also be offered a goodie bag that contains toiletries and snacks, as well as educational materials about reproductive healthcare, courtesy of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's report Cervical screening in Australia 2019 shows that participation in cervical screening varies by remoteness, being highest in inner regional areas at 57 per cent and lowest in very remote areas at 46 per cent.
The National Cervical Screening Program now tests for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer. This means earlier detection of any issues and the chance for increased monitoring or early treatment, leading to better outcomes.
Joe Tooma, CEO of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation said, "We know there are many barriers to getting a Cervical Screening Test including distance or transport access in regional areas. These local women's health clinics are an excellent way to improve access to healthcare, especially because they are run by experienced female clinicians. Many people have put off healthcare during the pandemic, so now is the time to make sure you are up to date."
The Cervical Screening Test is recommended for all women aged 25-74, every five years. HPV and cervical cancer are usually asymptomatic, particularly in the early stages. Women who have symptoms such as abnormal bleeding should talk to their doctor.
Clinics are provided by female nurses who specialise in women's preventive health matters and are at no cost to women accessing the service. The clinics ensure local women can obtain vital healthcare tests, including the Cervical Screening Test which could be lifesaving, as well as treatment, advice and referrals to other services or specialists if needed.
Tuesday November 17 and Thursday November 19 in Kempsey
9am - 4pm at Community Health Centre, 119 River St, West Kempsey
Ph. 02 6562 0325
Friday November 20 at South West Rocks
1pm - 4pm at Community Health Centre, 7-9 Eagleton Dr, South West Rocks
Ph. 02 6561 2990