Hope new test will reduce cancer deaths

ALMOST 102,000 women in the Hunterare overdue for a pap test ahead of a new cervical screening procedure being rolled out from Friday.

Experts claim the newfive-yearly test is more accurate than its predecessor, with cervical cancer deaths expected to reduceby 20 per cent.

Morethan 18,000 women in Newcastle alone are overdue for a screening test, data shows.

Professor David Currow,chief executive of the Cancer Institute NSW, said the new test detectedthe presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that may cause cervical cancer.

“The previous pap test could only detect changes in the cells once they had occurred, whereas this test will allow us to identify and monitor women with HPV, who may be at a higher risk of these changes occurring, while women who are negative for HPV will have five years before their next screen,” Professor Currowsaid. “The new test will ensure women are one step ahead of cervical cancer.”

He encouraged thoseoverdue for screeningbook an appointment for the new test as soon as possible.

“We know that eight out of 10 women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had regular screening. Don’t let this be you,” hesaid.

NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, also urged women to speak with their GP about the Cervical Screening Test.

“Cervical screening has been one of the great public health success stories of our generation, halving both the incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer,” Dr Chant said.

Professor Karen Canfell, director of research at Cancer Council NSW, said the new program was “excellent news” for all women.

“Recent results from Australia’s largest clinical trial, Compass, have shown that the new Cervical Screening Test is substantially more effective than the pap test,” she said. “Our research also tells us that the renewed program will reduce cervical cancer cases and deaths by at least 20 per cent. Australia has been a leader in this space for decades, and it’s exciting to see us at the forefront of cervical cancer prevention again.”

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