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Published 16 Nov 2021
It’s November and that means sitting up and taking notice of cervical and prostate cancer. It’s time to catch up on your check-ups.
It’s estimated that there will be 913 cervical cancer cases diagnosed in Australia in 2021. And in Australia, more than 230,000 people live with prostate cancer.
National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week is November 8-14 2021.
With the uncertainty and impact of the pandemic, more and more people have fallen behind in keeping up-to-date with their health checks. For this Cervical Cancer Awareness week, the theme is “Time to Catch Up”. The theme encourages women (and those with a cervix) aged 25-72 to catch up on their Cervical Screening.
How often do you need a cervical cancer check?
Previously a pap smear was required every 2 years. With the new HPV test, cervical screens are now only required every 5 years. If you’re unsure when your last pap test or cervical screen was, check with your doctor.
What has changed with cervical cancer checks (and pap smears)?
In December 2017, the two-yearly pap test was changed to a 5 yearly HPV test. This change is expected to prevent an additional 30% of cervical cancer cases each year. The new cervical screening test is the primary way to be screened for cervical changes.
Regular cervical screening is the number one way to prevent cervical cancer. A little bit of discomfort goes a long way for peace of mind. Speak to your GP to check if you’re due for a cervical cancer check.
November isn’t just important for cervixes.
It’s also Movember.
Traditionally linked to the growing of moustaches for fundraising, Movember is actually a month-long event to raise awareness of health issues including prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
On average, men die 5 years earlier than women, largely for preventable reasons. After nearly 2 years of staying home, its easy for many of us to neglect regular health checks.
Prostate cancer – early detection is key
The difference between early detection and late detection can be life and death.
For most Australians – when you turn 50 you need to have a conversation with your doctor about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. If you have a family history (father or brother) or you’re of African or Caribeean descent, you should be starting that conversation at 45. A PSA is a simple blood test and you can speak with your doctor to discuss when taking the test is right for you.
Know your nuts
Worldwide, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. According to Movember, 62% of those who are most at risk don’t know how to check their pair - and that's why they put together this easy step-by-step guide. When caught early, testicular cancer is highly treatable. Check your pair – a how to guide
After nearly two years of social distancing, stay-at-home orders and for many, limiting your time in face-to-face medical settings, now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with your health checks.Cervical and prostate cancer awareness in November is a great time to start.
- If it's time for a general health check up, speak with your GP
- Learn more about how to safely visit your health care provider
- GMHBA Health Insurance members with AIA Vitality can claim points on receiving their cervical cancer screening. Check your AIA Vitality app for details.