You can provide these resources to patients to help them before, during and post screening. See the full resource library.
Before screening appointment
During screening appointment
- Instructional video on how to take a Cervical Screening Test sample
- Visual guide on how to collect your own vaginal sample for a Cervical Screening Test
Post screening appointment
For health care providers
You can use these resources to prepare for an appointment with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman:
- Collecting self-identified status data from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and patients from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds (PDF, 70 KB)
- An introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health cultural protocols and perspectives (PDF, 3.8 MB) – Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP).
Compared to non-Indigenous people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to:
- develop invasive cervical cancer
- die from cervical cancer.
We have limited data on Indigenous women’s participation in screening. Studies suggest participation in cervical screening is 18 percentage points lower for Indigenous women than for non-Indigenous women.
It’s likely that the higher incidence and mortality from cervical cancer among Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander women is linked to:
- late detection of pre-cancerous lesions.
There are general barriers that people face in participating in cervical screening. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women face extra barriers relating to:
- shame, fear and embarrassment about cervical screening and cancer
- distrust of healthcare providers, mainstream providers and government services.
- lack of culturally sensitive and appropriate health services.
- lack of Indigenous and female healthcare providers.
- negative cultural perceptions about cancer – for example fatalistic and superstitious attitudes
- perceptions of cervical screening as unnecessary
- lack of access to health services due to distance, remoteness and transport.
- low knowledge or awareness of the importance and benefits of cancer screening.
- women’s prioritisation of family needs before their own health
- lack of Indigenous-specific, culturally relevant educational resources (e.g speaking posters, as very few local Central Australian languages are written or read)
- history of sexual assault
- language and literacy barriers.
Ways to engage
The strategies below are effective in engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in cervical screening.
Cultural safety training
Cultural safety training for healthcare providers and practice staff will help to build an understanding of culturally-based attitudes towards:
Culturally safe environment
Choice of provider
Choice of screening method