More hours for women

A MEDICAL clinic is extending its hours in Moe to encourage more women to participate in cervical screening examinations.

According to PapScreen Victoria, the cervical screening rate in Latrobe Valley from 2009 to 2010 was lower than the state average, and continues to fall. The initiative to extend opening hours at Tanjil Place Medical, boosted by a PapScreen Victoria grant, aims to target hard-to-reach and working women.

Tanjil Place Medical pap test practitioner nurse Gloria Forys said by extending the clinic’s hours, more women would gain better access to pap smear test practitioners and be informed about the importance of regular tests.

“It’s vitally important to be vigilant when it comes to cervical screening, however many women within the community still aren’t having pap tests every two years as they should be,” Ms Forys said.

“Unfortunately only 59.5 per cent of women in Gippsland are having regular pap tests.

“The reasons vary from lack of transport and childcare, to a limited understanding of why the test is needed or more sensitive cultural issues.

“This grant from PapScreen Victoria will allow us to reach more women within the community and encourage them to have this potentially life-saving test.”

The pap test is a screening test for healthy women with no symptoms and checks for changes to the cells of the cervix.

According to Ms Forys, any changes can be treated if found early and the test works as a “preventative”.

For many women, the awkwardness can be a deterrent, but Ms Forys said “it is little awkward for a lot of peace of mind”.

The three clinics held over the next three months coincide with PapScreen’s recent campaign Peace of Mind which aims to encourage women who have had the cervical cancer vaccine and women who have never had a pap test to have regular two-yearly pap tests.

PapScreen Victoria programs manager Hiranthi Perera said about 90 per cent of women who developed cervical cancer had either never had a test or did not have them every two years.

“This is concerning when one third of Victorian women are still not having regular pap tests,” Ms Perera said.

The National Cervical Screening Program is a federal and state-funded initiative established to oversee and co-ordinate efforts to reduce cervical cancer incidence and death.

The first extended services is on 18 April from 5pm to 7pm.

To book a test, phone Tanjil Place Medical on 5126 1344.