New research suggests Tasmania has some of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country.
According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) titled Cancer data in Australia, approximately 9.5 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer per 100,000 in Tasmania, well above the national average of 7.2.
This data shows the rates have been rising year-on-year from 2009 to 2023 in Tasmania.
Nationally though, Australia saw a reduction in the mortality rate from cervical cancer, down from 3.2 deaths per 100,000 females in 2000 to an estimated 1.6 deaths in 2023, most likely due to the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Program.
READ MORE: Launceston neurologist pedalling for a cure
Family Planning Tasmania chief executive Lalla Mackenzie said that although these statistics were concerning, cervical cancer was one of the most preventable and curable cancers.
"These statistics show a clear need for increased health literacy and improving outcomes in this space," Ms Mackenzie said.
"There are many barriers to access in Tasmania, and these worrying statistics show that we need to take steps to break down these barriers so that Tasmanians keep up with, if not exceed, national screening rates.
"We've come a long way in cervical screening, but the message may not be cutting through the noise and reaching all Tasmanians. We need to be doing all that we can to ensure all Tasmanians, regardless of where or who they are, have access to quality sexual and reproductive health services to address these inequalities."
READ MORE: Rare sighting captured in the Tamar River
Ms Mackenzie said anyone over 25 with a cervix who's ever been sexually active should be screened every five years until age 74.
"Simply put, screening saves lives. All screening saves lives, but this is particularly true of cervical screening tests," Ms Mackenzie said.
"Cervical screening is very effective at detecting HPV, which is the most frequent precursor to cervical cancer.
"Cervical cancer can affect anyone with a cervix, of any age, background, or identity. And it can be deadly. Thanks to the Gardasil vaccine and the efficacy of cervical screening tests, there doesn't need to be any more deaths from cervical cancer; deaths from cervical cancer are preventable."
Ms Mackenzie said despite improvements in the sector, more needs to be done to ensure every individual has access to and was aware of the importance of regular cervical screening.
"Research has shown that LGBTQIA+ women and people with cervixes are an under-screened population," she said.
"This could be for myriad reasons for this, and our campaign, It's Your Choice, aims to address some of these barriers.
"We're inviting men to be allies for women and people with cervixes to help eliminate cervical cancer by championing cervical screening and supporting women to prioritise their health."
Why not have your say? Write a letter to the editor here:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.