Young women in Victoria are being urged to have a life-saving Pap test in a new Brumby Labor Government funded campaign to boost cervical cancer screening rates.
Health Minister Daniel Andrews today officially launched PapScreen Victoria’s new campaign, Peace of Mind, aimed at breaking down emotional barriers and normalising Pap tests.
“We are taking action to provide world-class health services and encourage the early detection of cervical cancer to save lives,” Mr Andrews said.
“Cervical cancer is one of the few cancer types largely preventable through regular screening and that is why we have delivered $485,000 to PapScreen Victoria to develop this new campaign to prevent cervical cancer and save lives.”
In Victoria, at least 85 per cent of women who develop cervical cancer have either never had a Pap test, or have not followed the recommended two-yearly screening in the 10 years before diagnosis.
Mr Andrews said the campaign targeted young women aged 25-35 and featured new ads on television, radio, print and online, as well as community posters.
“Peace of Mind provides the hard-hitting message that every woman aged 18-70 should have a Pap test every two years, even if they have had the cervical cancer vaccine,” he said.
“Research shows deaths from cervical cancer in Victoria would be reduced if women who had never had a test or had tests irregularly had a regular Pap test.
“Finding cervical cancer early gives the best chance of successful treatment and recovery.
“Specialised ads targeting multicultural communities will also be run alongside the main campaign during the same period.”
Mr Andrews said Victoria had a proud history of tackling cervical cancer.
“The number of cervical cancer deaths each year in Victorian women aged 20 to 69 is now a third of what it was, falling from 2.8 per 100,000 in 1991 to 1 per 100,000 women in 2006, which is among the lowest mortality rates in the world,” he said.
“Victoria also has the highest two-yearly cervical screening rate in Australia at 63.6 per cent, well above the national average of 61.2 per cent in the 2007-08 period.”
Mr Andrews said the new campaign was funded through the Brumby Labor Government’s $150 million Victorian Cancer Action Plan, which supported innovative research, prevention and treatment strategies to improve care and save lives.
“Cancer is a high priority for the Victorian Government and the plan aims to increase cancer survival rates for Victorians by a further 10 per cent by 2015,” he said.