The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is working in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC) to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to culturally safe cervical screening.
Newly developed cervical screening self-collection kits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have now been distributed to all Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in Victoria that provide cervical screening.
The kits feature beautiful artwork by Madison Connors, a proud Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamilaroi artist. Madison’s artwork celebrates women’s health and Aboriginal culture.
The self-collection kits include:
- a zip-up pouch featuring Madison’s artwork
- a self-collection patient instruction card specifically developed to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- a non-transparent specimen bag with the swab
- a women’s business brochure developed by VACCHO and Cancer Council Victoria.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and people with a cervix who choose, or require, a clinician-provided cervical screening test will be given a towel featuring Madison’s artwork to use during these consultations that they can keep.
The National Cervical Screening Program recommends that women and people with a cervix aged 25–74 years get a Cervical Screening Test every five years through their healthcare provider.
Only 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have had a cervical screening within the last three years (as of June 2018). Over 70% of cervical cancers occur in those who are under-screened (overdue for a cervical screening), or who have never been screened.
During National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (7-13 November), Cancer Council Victoria and the ACPCC launched a new campaign, ‘Self-collection Saves Lives’, aimed at increasing awareness of the self-collection option for cervical screening.
Self-collection is expected to be a game-changer for increasing screening participation amongst under screened communities. Self-collection increases accessibility as women and people with a cervix use a simple swab to take a screening sample themselves instead of having a traditional clinician-collected sample. (Visit www.cancervic.org.au/selfcollection for more information.)
VACCHO and the ACPCC are committed to achieving equitable access to culturally safe and empowering cervical screening services for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria eligible for cervical screening.
We’re encouraging eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members in Victoria to book a time with their local GP or Aboriginal health service to discuss cervical screening.
Click here for more information about the Aboriginal self-collection kits and cervical screening.
Healthcare professionals can find more information and resources about self-collection at acpcc.org.au/practitioners/.