Only half of women in Gladstone and Biloela took up the offer to undergo a cervical cancer screening.
Only half of women in Gladstone and Biloela took up the offer to undergo a cervical cancer screening. Contributed

'It is deadly': Doctors urge women to undertake vital test

WOMEN in the Gladstone and Banana regions are urged to undergo potentially life-saving screening for cervical cancer.

The latest data from the Federal Government showed only half of women in Gladstone and Biloela took up the offer to go to their GP and get screened in 2015-16.

Gladstone GP Superclinic supervisor Dr Lola Kerr said early diagnosis was key to treating cervical cancer.

"Cervical cancer screening can be life saving and (the disease) is readily treatable," DrKerr said. "If diagnosed late, it is deadly."

She said the intimate nature of the examination deterred women from being screened.

"Many don't have a regular GP they feel comfortable with," Dr Kerr said.

In addition, Dr Kerr said some women have an "it won't happen to me" attitude.

"Younger women are vaccinated with human papillomavirus vaccine in the school program and assume they are at lower risk, which is true but they still require screening," she said.

It follows a statewide trend where only 53.6per cent of eligible Queensland women undertook a cervical screen in the same period.

Queensland Health chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the downward trend was alarming.

"The rate of deaths from cervical cancer has halved since the National Cervical Screening Program started in 1991," Dr Young said.

"It's free and saves lives, yet around half the population of Queensland eligible women are skipping their cervical screening."

"I urge Queensland women to get up to date with their cervical screening."

Dr Young said everyone should do their part to prevent HPV.

"It's important for both women and men to ensure they've received the recommended vaccinations for HPV," she said.

"Experts believe the vaccine, coupled with the new Cervical Screening Test, could see cervical cancer eliminated in Australia in less than 20 years."

The new test replaced the pap smear test in 2007, which used a different analysis method for samples.

Women who receive a low risk result will only need to be screened every five years, while higher risk results could mean repeat screening or intervention by a gynaecologist.

In comparison to women in other regions, Rockhampton has a slightly higher screening rate of 50.4 per cent.

Bundaberg was even higher with 51.9 per cent.