Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer affects the cells of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus where it joins the inner end of the vagina) ref=24363. The biggest risk factor for cervical cancer is human papilloma virus (HPV); almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with a cancer-causing type of HPV. The other main risk factor is smoking tobacco.

Cervical cancer is preventable ref=24363. Screening for cervical cancer used to involve a Pap smear every two years, however, this has recently been replaced with the new Cervical Screening Test that recommends women aged 25-74 years get tested every five years. This new screening program is designed to work together with the HPV vaccination program that aims to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer impacts a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more commonly diagnosed with cervical cancer – and die from it – than non-Indigenous women ref=26088. While cervical screening programs are effective for reducing cervical cancer deaths, participation tends to be low among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

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