A campaign launching today aims to support LGBTIQ people aged 25-74 to take part in cervical screening with a simple message: whatever your sexual or gender identity, if you have a cervix, then you need cervical screening every five years.
Cancer Council Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health, a leading LGBTIQ health organisation, are joining forces on the campaign, Public Cervix Announcement, to highlight the inclusive screening options that are available for members of the LGBTIQ community in order to reduce their risk of cervical cancer.
New data from the Trans Health and Cancer Care Study[i] reveals that only 18.7% of trans and gender diverse Australians reported being regular screeners and 54.3% had never had a Cervical Screening Test. For those with a cervix who had never screened, over half responded that this was because it is emotionally traumatic for them and two out of five were not comfortable with healthcare providers.
Further, recent Cancer Council Victoria research shows that about 1 in 5 Victorians with a cervix who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same sex attracted, transgender, or who have an intersex variation, have never had a Pap test (the former method of cervical screening)[ii]. From this research, the top two reasons LGBTIQ Victorians didn’t undergo cervical screening is because they were embarrassed or frightened, or because they thought they did not need to.
Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation Manager at Cancer Council Victoria, Kate Broun, said the campaign will highlight the importance of regular screening and will hopefully increase screening participation rates within the LGBTIQ community.
“We’re really excited to partner with Thorne Harbour Health to spread the message to the LGBTIQ community that if you have a cervix, you need a cervical screening test, no matter who you have had as a sexual partner,” Ms Broun said.
“The campaign is a Public Cervix Announcement that everyone with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer, and if you’re aged 25-74, regular screening is the best way to protect yourself.”
The campaign creative will run across digital and print and features a diverse range of talent; including Sandy Anderson, a registered nurse and passionate campaigner for inclusive cervical screening, and Aram Hosie, a well-known national and international advocate for LGBTIQ rights.
Women’s Health Project Lead at Thorne Harbour Health, Rachel Cook, said “As an LGBTIQ community-controlled organisation, we believe our responses need to be developed by our community. We wanted the imagery across this campaign to be authentic, representative and relevant.”
“We are proud to support this campaign to increase participation in cervical screening and ultimately reduce cervical cancer rates within the LGBTIQ community.”
Campaign Supporter Sandy Anderson emphasises that, “Whatever your sexual or gender identity, if you have a cervix then you need cervical screening. Seek out a health practitioner that you would be comfortable going to for a cervical screen or speak to your friends in the community for recommendations.”
To find out more about the Cervical Screening Program and the options available for LGBTIQ people, visit cervicalscreening.org.au/LGBTIQ or speak to a GP or health professional.
[i]Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society surveyed 537 trans and gender diverse people from across Australia over the age of 18 in 2018-19: http://bit.ly/2PNEXSV
[i][i] Cancer Council Victoria commissioned a survey of 303 Victorians with a cervix, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same sex attracted, transgender, or who have an intersex variation, in 2016.
To organise an interview with Kate Broun or Rachel Cook, please contact Claire Russell on 03 9514 6847. Campaigners featured on our postcard are also available for interview: (from left to right) Aram Hosie, Sandy Anderson, Mishma Kumar.
Cancer Council Victoria is a non-profit organisation involved in cancer research, prevention, and support. At Cancer Council Victoria we work to prevent cancer, empower patients and save lives, and we are committed to reducing inequalities in cancer outcomes. For more information visit: https://www.cancervic.org.au/
Thorne Harbour Health is a community-controlled organisation, governed by our members, and working for our sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities. For more information, visit: https://thorneharbour.org/
Public Cervix Announcement is a campaign created by Cancer Council Victoria in partnership with Thorne Harbour Health, launching during National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week for ten days across digital and print.