Chris McMillan Cancer Council Queensland talks Keith Birks on Queensland women failing to take part in recommended screening programs

Around half of all eligible Queensland women fail to participate in recommended breast and cervical screening, new data has found.

Today, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released data on participation rates for BreastScreen Australia and the National Cervical Screening Program for 2015-2016.

Over the past two years, only 56 per cent of eligible women aged 50-74 years in Queensland took part in recommended breast screening, and only 54 per cent of women aged 20-69 years participated in the National Cervical Screening Program.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the figures were concerning and urged all Queenslanders to make cancer screening a priority.

“Alarmingly, only around 5 in 10 eligible Queensland women get regular pap smears, and only 6 in 10 take part in the breast screen program,” Ms McMillan said.

“It’s crucial that all Queenslanders participate in recommended cancer screening – if we detect cancer in its earliest stages, we have a much better chance of beating it.

“We need more eligible Queenslanders to make the effort to participate in recommended screening – it may just save your life.

“In Queensland, around 3270 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and 550 pass away from the disease.

“In addition, around 180 Queensland women are diagnosed with cancer of the cervix and, tragically, nearly 50 die from the disease annually.

“It’s imperative that women take part in screening programs to prevent more deaths in the future, and encourage other women in their lives to do the same.

“Queensland women aged 50-74 should have a mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Queensland.

“We know that regular pap smears currently remain the best protection against cervical cancer. All eligible Queensland women be screened every two years.”

Up to one third of all cancers can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes including participating in recommended cancer screening.

Around 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 8700 die from the disease, the latest Cancer Council data shows.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

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