GPs and health care providers are being urged to increase cervical screening in their areas where possible. Western Sydney has one of the lowest screening rates in Australia and has been identified as having the lowest two and five-year rates in NSW, at just 50% and 75% respectively.
The low uptake in screening has resulted in an unusually large number of advanced cancer diagnoses recorded over the past 12 months, with a 72% increase in stage III and stage IV diagnoses. More than 50% of these cases originated from foreign-born patients or disadvantaged communities.
Understandably, some providers/clinics may currently have restricted capabilities and arrangements for managing patients. Where it’s not possible to provide screening, the National Cervical Screening Program guidance can assist with clinician decision-making based on individual patient circumstances.
GPs are encouraged to set reminders to follow up with patients for routine screening. Screening should be discussed with all women, especially those in our CALD communities, recognising that some may be concerned or feel uncomfortable about screening at this time.
Western Sydney HealthPathways provides extensive advice on cervical screening, including information on Endometrial Cells on Cervical Smears, HPV Vaccination, the importance of assessment, management and referral and screening during COVID-19.
For access, visit Western Sydney HealthPathways and use the following login details:
GPs are also invited to attend an upcoming webinar on cervical screening. Keep an eye on our events calendar for dates and details.