Cervical CancerA campaign launching today aims to support LGBTQI people aged 25-74 to participate in cervical screening with a simple message: whatever your sexual or gender identity, if you have a cervix.

You need cervical screening every five years.

Cancer Council Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health, a leading LGBTQI health organisation, are joining forces on the Public Cervix Announcement campaign to highlight the inclusive screening options available for LGBTIQ community members to reduce their risk of cervical cancer.

New data from the Trans Health and Cancer Care Study reveals that only 18.7% of trans and gender-diverse Australians reported being regular screeners, and 54.3% had never had a Cervical Screening Test. Over half of those with a cervix who had never screened responded that this was because it is emotionally traumatic for them. Two out of five were uncomfortable with healthcare providers.

Further, recent Cancer Council Victoria research shows that about 1 in 5 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 former method of cervical screening)[ii]. From this research, the top two reasons LGBTIQ Victorians didn’t undergo cervical screening are because they were embarrassed or frightened or because they thought they did not need to.

Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation Manager at Cancer Council Victoria, Kate Broun, said the campaign would highlight the importance of regular screening and hopefully increase screening participation rates within the LGBTIQ community.

“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,” Ms Broun said.

“The campaign is a Public Cervix Announcement that everyone with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer, and if you’re aged 25-74, regular screening is the best way to protect yourself.”

The creative campaign will run across digital and print and features diverse talent, including Sandy Anderson, a registered nurse and passionate campaigner for inclusive cervical screening, and Aram Hosie, a well-known national and international advocate for LGBTIQ rights.

Women’s Health Project Lead at Thorne Harbour Health, Rachel Cook, said “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.”

“We are proud to support this campaign to increase participation in cervical screening and ultimately reduce cervical cancer rates within the LGBTIQ community.”

Campaign Supporter Sandy Anderson emphasises that, “Whatever your sexual or gender identity, if you have a cervix then you need cervical screening. Seek out a health practitioner that you would be comfortable going to for a cervical screen or speak to your friends in the community for recommendations.”

To learn more about the Cervical Screening Program and the options available for LGBTIQ people, visit cervicalscreening.org.au/LGBTIQ or speak to a GP or health professional.