Prioritise breast and cervical cancer screening this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day (March 8) Cancer Council Queensland is calling on females to put their health first, learn about women’s cancers and prioritise cancer screening.

In Queensland, there are 4312 females diagnosed with a breast or gynaecological cancer each year and according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data only 56 per cent of all eligible Queensland women participate in recommended breast screening through BreastScreen Queensland, while less than 54 per cent of Queensland women participate in the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said International Women’s Day was an opportunity to take charge of your health and encourage other women to do the same.

“We’re encouraging women right across the state to start a conversation with the women in their life about cancer and the importance of screening,” Ms McMillan said.

“Participating in screening programs is vital to ensure that cancer is detected early, and you have the best chance of treating, and surviving a diagnosis.”

Ms McMillan said it was also important for women to monitor their breast health between screenings and become familiar with their bodies more generally.

“Some cancers have screening programs to detect them early, but for other women’s cancers you need to be aware of what is normal for you and see your doctor if you notice any unusual changes,” Ms McMillan said.

“Remember, you should see your doctor straight away if you notice any unusual changes – no matter your age or the time since your last check-up or cancer screening.”

Australia has three cancer screening programs. If you are aged between 50-74, Cancer Council Queensland recommends you complete a free mammogram through BreastScreen Queensland every two years, in addition to being breast aware.

All women or anyone with a cervix aged between 25 and 74 years are invited to have a Cervical Screening Test every five years.

If you are aged between 50-74, Cancer Council Queensland recommends you participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and get screened for bowel cancer every two years.

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