A new campaign launched today by PapScreen Victoria with Gina Liano, is working to correct the myths around cervical cancer and screening for mature women.
Ms Liano is featured in a series of short videos targeting women aged 50 to 69 years.
Her tongue-in-cheek message?
"Pap tests don't take that long. It takes me longer to get ready every morning!"
Newly released statistics by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that nationally, cervical screening participation rates decrease in women aged 50 and older while the disease's mortality increases with age.
Hiranthi Perera, Manager of PapScreen Victoria said: "Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus – or HPV – which is considered the common cold of sexual activity, everyone is likely to get the virus at some stage in their life.
"Many women over 50 may be starting new relationships and think that they no longer need to use protection – without realising that they could be exposed to HPV infections which over time can lead to cervical cancer," Ms Perera said.
"Screening works and women who don't screen are putting themselves at risk of developing cervical cancer."
Cancer Council Victoria ambassador Gina Liano said: "It's not good enough for mature women to think that once they hit a certain age, they don't need to have these lifesaving tests like the Pap test anymore.
"Women are still dying from cervical cancer which is a very preventable disease in Australia. Cervical cancer in most cases takes years to develop, so just because you've had negative Pap test results in the past, doesn't mean that you can stop having your tests.
"Book a Pap test today if you're overdue, it could save your life," said Ms Liano.
Women still need to have regular Pap tests:
- if they are no longer sexually active
- have been with the one partner for many years
- after menopause, and
- some women may need to continue having Pap tests after a hysterectomy.
You can view the short campaign videos here: