New data from the Trans Health and Cancer Care Study reveals that only 18.7 per cent of trans and gender diverse Australians reported having regular cervical screenings and 54.3 per cent have never screened before.
This month, a ‘public cervix announcement’ was launched, encouraging LGBTIQ people aged 25-74 to take part in cervical screening, because whatever your sexual or gender identity, if you have a cervix, then you need cervical screening every five years.
Over half of the trans and gender diverse people with a cervix who had never had a cervical screen cited emotionally trauma as the reason, with two out of five reporting that they were not comfortable with healthcare providers.
Cancer Council Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health have joined forces to highlight the inclusive screening options that are available for members of the LGBTIQ community in order to reduce their risk of cervical cancer.
“As an LGBTIQ community-controlled organisation, we believe our responses need to be developed by our community. We wanted the imagery across this campaign to be authentic, representative and relevant,” said Women’s Health Project Lead at Thorne Harbour Health, Rachel Cook.
“We are proud to support this campaign to increase participation in cervical screening and ultimately reduce cervical cancer rates within the LGBTIQ community,” she said.
Cancer Council Victoria research shows that about one in five Victorians with a cervix who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same-sex attracted, transgender or who have an intersex variation, have never had a Pap test.
The research shows that the top two reasons LGBTIQ Victorians don’t undergo cervical screening is because they are embarrassed or frightened, or because they thought they did not need to.
“Everyone with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer. If you’re aged 25-74, regular screening is the best way to protect yourself,” Early Detection and Immunisation Manager at Cancer Council Victoria Kate Broun said.
“We’re really excited to partner with Thorne Harbour Health to spread the message to the LGBTIQ community that if you have a cervix, you need a cervical screening test, no matter who you have had as a sexual partner.”
Cervical cancer is a growth of abnormal cells in the lining of your cervix and left undetected could be life threatening. The test itself is a simple procedure that takes two minutes and could save your life.
If you have a cervix you should start screenings at the age of 25, and if you had a pap smear two years before 1 December 2017, you should do your first cervical screening test two years after your last pap smear. If it’s been more than two years since your pap smear, talk to your doctor about your screening options soon.
We can reduce the number of cervical cancer deaths by encouraging anyone with a cervix to get screened.
Click here to find out more about the cervical screening options available for LGBTIQ people or speak to a GP or health professional.