Cervical abnormalities still high despite drop in screening participation
DETECTION of high-grade cervical abnormalities in the national screening program remains high even though the numbers participating have dropped slightly, a report shows.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) analysis found that 57% of Australian women took part in the program in 2009–10, a decline from 59% in 2007–08.
The AIHW linked participation with socioeconomic status.
“Among women residing in the areas of lowest socioeconomic status, participation was 52%. In the areas of highest socioeconomic status, it was 63%,” AIHW spokesperson Chris Sturrock said.
The detection of high-grade abnormalities in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) remained high, she said.
In 2009–10 the detection of high-grade abnormalities in women aged 20–69 years increased from 8.1 to 8.5 per 1000 women screened.
In the same period, detection in women younger than 20 decreased from 8.9 to 7.8 per 1000 women screened.
“The good news is that incidence and mortality rates have both halved since the NCSP was introduced in 1991, and both are at an historic low,” Ms Sturrock said.
Between 1991 and 2008 cervical cancer incidence decreased from 17.2 to 9.3 cases per 100,000 women.
There were 637 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2008, among women aged 20–69.
However the incidence of cervical cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was twice as high as in non-Indigenous women, and mortality five times the non-Indigenous rate.