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Self-collection stakeholder toolkit

Take your health into your own hands and choose the self-collection option for cervical screening

Cancer Council Victoria, together with the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer, is encouraging eligible Victorians to take their health into their own hands and choose the self-collection method to screen for cervical cancer.

A recent Cancer Council Victoria survey found that only 15 per cent of respondents had heard about self-collection as a viable option to screen for cervical cancer.

With the self-collection method, women and people with a cervix can take their own vaginal sample with a swab and without a speculum, with the sample detecting the presence or absence of HPV. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, and finding HPV early is your best protection against cervical cancer.

The self-collection method is just as accurate as a Cervical Screening Test taken by a doctor or nurse. The test is done at the doctor’s or other health setting, usually in privacy behind a screen or in the bathroom.

People are currently eligible for self-collection if they meet the following criteria:

  • are aged 30 and over
  • are overdue for a Cervical Screening Test by two years or more
  • do not have symptoms (like unexplained bleeding)

Funded by the Victorian Government and in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer, the campaign aims to raise awareness of self-collection as a reliable method for detecting HPV among the thousands of women and people with a cervix across Victoria already eligible for self-collection. From 1 July 2022 all Australian women and people with a cervix will be eligible to choose self-collection. For those eligible now the message is clear – don't wait until July next year, if you think you could be eligible for self-collection speak to your GP or Nurse Screening Provider today.

We need your help to increase cervical self-collection rates in Victoria

How you can help

By sharing the campaign messages when you communicate with your community members and networks, you can help us to increase cervical self-collection rates and save lives. We really appreciate your support.

Please share our social media posts and newsletter article by copying and pasting one or more of the images and text below and sharing on your social media platforms.

Please use the hashtag: #SelfCollectionSavesLives

Don’t forget to tag us @Cancervic

Share our resources with your communities

Sample social media posts

Sample post 1:

Did you know you can now take your own cervical screening sample? The test is free, easy and just as reliable as a practitioner-collected Cervical Screening Test. Ask your GP or Nurse Cervical Screening Provider to see if you’re eligible.

For more information head to: www.cancervic.org.au/selfcollection

 

Sample post 2:

If you are aged over 30, overdue for a Cervical Screening Test by two or more years do not have symptoms (like unexplained bleeding), you may be eligible for a self-collection test.

Talk to your GP or Nurse Cervical Screening Provider about your options for self-collection. For more information head to: www.cancervic.org.au/selfcollection

 

Sample post 3:

Did you know that a self-collected test is just as effective at detecting HPV as a practitioner-collected Cervical Screening Test? Check with your GP or Nurse Cervical Screening Provider to see if you’re eligible.

For more information head to: www.cancervic.org.au/selfcollection

 

Sample post 4:

All Australian women and people with a cervix will have the option to take their own cervical screening sample from 1 July 2022 but did you know you could be eligible for self-collection now? Don’t wait until July next year, check with your GP or Nurse Cervical Screening Provider to see if you’re eligible today.

For more information head to: www.cancervic.org.au/selfcollection

Social media tiles

Click on the images below to download our social media tiles.

Finding HPV early protects you from cervical cancer Take your health into your own hands  Self-collection is easy and reliable 

 

Newsletter

Here is an article to include in your organisation’s newsletter to help us promote the campaign:

New campaign encourages women and people with a cervix to take their health into their own hands

With a new survey revealing very low awareness of cervical screening self-collection Cancer Council Victoria is encouraging eligible Victorians to take their health into their own hands and choose the self-collection option to screen for cervical cancer.

The survey, conducted by Cancer Council Victoria, found that only 15 per cent of respondents had heard about self-collection as an option to screen for cervical cancer.1

The PR campaign funded by the Victorian Government and in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer aims to raise awareness of self-collection as a reliable method for detecting HPV, which causes almost all cervical cancers, among eligible women and people with a cervix across Victoria. 

Currently self-collection is available to those women and people with a cervix who are aged over 30; are overdue for a Cervical Screening Test by two years or more or have never been screened; and do not have symptoms, however many of those who are eligible are not aware this option is available to them. With 47% of Victorians overdue for cervical screening, thousands of women and people with a cervix can access this self-collection method today.

The test is done by collecting a vaginal sample with a cotton swab (similar to the ones used for COVID tests) at the GP or other healthcare setting, usually behind a private screen or in the bathroom.

Despite the option to self-collect being available to under or never screened women and people with a cervix since 2017, uptake in Victoria remains low with only 1067 self-collection tests performed by April 2019.

For those who have never screened, research shows that taking part in self-collection could reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by around 40 per cent.

The campaign includes social media as well as engagement with health professionals and works towards achieving the Victorian Government’s target of encouraging an additional 10,000 under-screened women and people with a cervix to screen through the self-collection pathway, as identified in the Victorian Cancer Plan 2020–2024.

For more information about the campaign visit cancervic.org.au/selfcollection.

 

 

1. Cancer Council Victoria conducted message testing as part of the PR campaign development. An online survey promoted via Facebook included responses from 124 respondents of people aged 30–74.

 

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