Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer affects the cells of the cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina) [43954]. The biggest risk factor for cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (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 [43955].

Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females [31288], though one of the most preventable types of cancer. Currently, cervical cancer can be prevented through HPV vaccination [43596] and screening is carried out via the National Cervical Screening Program which tests for HPV. The program invites females aged 25-74 years to get tested every five years [43954].  While the cervical screening program is shown to improve survival and mortality rates for the disease, evidence suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are under-screened [37126].

Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in cervical screenings can be achieved through improved access to cervical screening programs (particularly via Aboriginal Health Services) and prioritising community led, culturally appropriate screening initiatives [43658][41824].


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Karnta by Corinne Nampijinpa Ryan

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