Only half of all eligible Queensland women participate in breast screening.
Only half of all eligible Queensland women participate in breast screening. Contributed

Reduce burden of cancers and prioritise health

CANCER Council Queensland is urging women to prioritise their health this week.

"Of concern, only half of all eligible Queensland women participate in recommended breast and cervical screening, putting their health at risk and increasing the burden of cancer in our communities,” CEO Chris McMillan said.

"Around five in 10 eligible Queensland women get regular pap smears, and only six in 10 take part in the BreastScreen Queensland program,” she said.

"It's critical that all Queenslanders, no matter where they live, do what they can to help detect cancer early, to give themselves a greater chance of treating the disease successfully.”

Women's cancers include cancers of the breast, cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva.

Breast cancers make up 75 per cent of women's cancer cases, followed by uterine cancer at 11 per cent, ovarian cancer at seven per cent and cervical cancer at five per cent.

"The good news is over the past 20 years mortality rates for breast cancer have decreased by 34 per cent, with mortality rates for cervical cancer decreasing by 47 per cent - with 86 per cent of women now surviving from a women's cancer at least five years post diagnosis,” Ms McMillan said.

"However we still have a long way to go to ensure that more women - our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters or friends - are spared from this terrible disease.

Ms McMillan said screening programs for breast and cervical cancer played a vital role in saving lives.

"Queensland women aged 50-74 should have a mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Queensland,” Ms McMillan said.

"We recommend women be breast aware and get to know the normal look and feel of breasts and see a GP if they notice any changes.

"We also know that regular pap smears currently remain the way to detect cervical cancer. All eligible Queensland women be screened every two years.”

Cancer Council Queensland is committed to investing in ongoing research into women's cancers, helping to improve the lives of women affected and provide adequate support right across the state.

In 2016 more than 10,000 calls were made with Cancer Council's 13 11 20, with 76 per cent of those calls from women.

If you need information or support, reach out today on 13 11 20 or visit cancerqld.org.au. 

To support women's cancers, host a Girls' Night In this October and get the girls together to raise funds for Cancer Council Queensland. To find out more, or register, visit girlsnightin.com.au.



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