Screening campaign response earns plaudits

May 12, 2024 BY

Thanks: Bendigo women have responded well to a Cancer Council Victoria cervical cancer screening campaign. Photo: SUPPLIED

CANCER Council Victoria has congratulated Bendigo women for their response to its regional cervical cancer awareness campaign, which was run late last year.

A council survey of 800 regional Victorians showed that more than two-thirds of eligible people who saw the campaign said they were now motivated to do a cervical screening test when they were next due.

And almost one-third who were due indicated they had booked in to do a test.

Cancer Council head of screening, early detection and immunisation Kate Broun said 67.7 per cent of eligible women in Bendigo were participating in the National Cervical Screening Program, compared with 69 per cent of all eligible Victorians.

A cervical screening test looks for the human papillomavirus, which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

Women aged 25 to 74 should have a screening test every five years even if they do not have any symptoms.

“However, data shows that women who live in regional areas of Australia participate in the National Cervical Screening Program at a lower rate than those who live in major cities,” Ms Broun said.

“At a state level, data from the Victorian Cancer Registry reported that between 2020-2022 women living in regional areas were 22 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer compared to those living in metro areas.

Collection option: More people are being made aware of the choice to take screening swabs themself. Photo: SUPPLIED


“We’re thrilled to see such a positive response to the campaign with more regional Victorians motivated to screen, but there is still more work to be done.”

Ms Broun said only 16.3 per cent of people who saw the campaign correctly identified that screening should begin at the age of 25.

“Of all respondents to the survey, almost 40 per cent had not previously heard of the option to self-collect your test with a small swab,” she said.

To change that, the council is running a new ‘In Your Hands’ campaign throughout the state until late this month.