Cervical cancer close call a warning to take test

Emma TaylorNarrogin Observer
Danni Astbury
Camera IconDanni Astbury

During Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, Harrismith woman Danni Astbury has opened up about her cancer journey and the importance of getting regular cervical screenings.

In July 2019, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after asking for a screening while seeing the doctor for a flu shot.

“I just think if I had not got that screening done or left it any longer, how different my outcome might have been,” Ms Astbury, 35, said.

“Make sure you get your cervical screening done, especially if you are overdue. We’re lucky that we have screenings to be able to detect this cancer and in my case, the screening led to me being able to be treated.”

Ms Astbury, who has now had surgery, said she was going well.

“I’m very grateful that the screening picked it up as I was relatively symptom-free and the screening allowed for early diagnosis and treatment,” she said.

A recent report titled Cancer Screening and COVID-19 in Australia by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found a 54 per cent decrease in the screening rate this year. Between January and June there were 38,756 cervical screening tests completed, compared with 85,019 for the same period last year.

Cancer Council WA’s Wheatbelt regional education officer Melissa Pickering said the drop was a reminder to talk to women about their cervical cancer screening.

“We know that less people attended face-to-face appointments with their GP, and therefore it is likely that fewer cervical screening tests were completed,” she said. “This is concerning as it means there could be a portion of women who could now be overdue for screening.”

Ms Pickering said anyone with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 74 should have regular screening tests as part of their health and wellbeing checks. “It will be some time before we know the full effect of COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening, so we are urging women to stay up to date with their screening during Cervical Cancer Awareness Week,” she said.

Cancer Council 13 11 20

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