That’s right, no more awkward trips to the doctor’s for some lucky women.
A healthcare change that will see women who usually avoid pap smears able to test themselves from home will likely lead to a reduction in cervical cancer, experts say.
Each year, about 700 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed nationally and more than 200 Australian women die from the disease.
Women who don’t normally get pap smears – including indigenous women, victims of sexual abuse and those who avoid the test for cultural or religious reasons – have the highest rates of cervical cancer.
These are the women who, from 2017, will be able to collect their own tissue samples in world-first changes to the country’s screening program, Fairfax Media reports.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists vice president Dr Vijay Roach told Mamamia the changes would likely reduce the rate of cervical cancer because they targeted groups of high-risk women.
“Given that the cervical screening program has been so effective in reducing cancer in the general population it is probable that capturing previously unscreened women will lead to an overall reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer,” he said.
Dr Roach said women avoided pap smears for a variety of reasons – embarrassment, not being aware of its value, having an earlier negative gynaecological examination, believing they are not at risk or being uncomfortable with the process due to ethnic, religious or social reasons.