Hey, I'm Sarah Marie Cameron, a comedian, presenter and ambassador for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. We know how important cervical screenings can be, but unfortunately a lot of people aren't up to date with them, or they might find them too confronting. But the great news is there's now self-collection, and it's so easy to book at your local clinic as well. So please make sure that you and your loved ones are up to date with your cervical screening. What can people expect when they're coming for a cervical screening? That's a really good question. So, the appointment will start with the clinician just asking you some questions. They will wanna know a little bit about your history so they might ask some questions about your sexual health, a bit of information about your periods. Speaking of questions, people would come in here with plenty of questions. What are the most common ones? So, there are a couple of really common questions. A lot of people seem to be really interested at the moment about the self-collect option. The self-collect option is just as effective as the clinician collected sample at detecting HPV. Patients seem to be really concerned about how prepared they are as far as whether they've shaved or waxed or whether things are normal down there. So, I find that it's really helpful to just reassure people that we are all different and there's so many versions of normal, and there's no judgement about anything going on. We're just there to get the screening test done for you. I'll show you with our model here, so you'll be given this swap and you'll be able to go into a private space whether that's behind the curtain or into the bathroom. Each health setting will vary, but you'll get this swab, and you'll take it out of the tube there. You can see that little red mark that's roughly where we want it to be inserted to. But you don't have to go all the way, and you just want to gently insert the swab into the vagina and then just rotating it very gently. A couple of times, usually four or five times is good about 10 seconds and then just removing the swab and popping it back into our tube there and then you'll give the swab back to your health practitioner, and then they deal with the rest. And what are you actually screening for? So, we're looking for the human papilloma virus, which is the virus that causes almost all cervical cancer and precancerous abnormalities. If we don't find it, you're good for five years. But if we do find HPV, we then need other tests. What happens when someone receives a positive test? So, if we detect HPV depending on the type you may need to just make an appointment for colposcopy and be seen by a specialist. But more commonly, what we need to do is we need to look at the cells from the cervix, and what we're doing in the lab is we're looking at those cells down the microscope to see if there are abnormalities that might indicate a precancerous, um, a lesion that could turn into cancer. If we've had the HPV vaccination, how come we still have to have this screening done? People who are at least 25 have a cervix are eligible for screening, and 25-year-olds all received the four valent vaccine that protects against the types that cause 70% of cancer. Um, unfortunately, that does while it's great, it does mean that there's the 30% left who are not protected, and that's why we need ongoing participation in the screening program. Is there any difference between the swabs taken, say, from a clinician versus now self-collection? So, for accuracy, the really good news is that there is no difference. So, whether you take your own sample from the vagina, or a nurse or doctor takes a sample from the cervix, the detection of HPV and in fact leading to the detection of precancer is just as accurate. Have we seen an increase to screening since that's been introduced? The number of self-collected tests since the policy was changed on the first of July has exploded, um, off what was a very, very small base. So, we're very optimistic that that's gonna translate into increased participation rates, and I would hope improved equity. We'd like to see everyone having a fair shot at having this cancer prevented. So that's really fantastic, being the first country in the world to have a self-collect system and to make it available for women.
Jean Hailes clinic nurse Jess Davis and Medical Director Dr Elizabeth Farrell worked with colleagues from Know Pathology Know Healthcare, Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) and comedian Sarah Maree Cameron to show just how easy it is to collect your own sample for a Cervical Screening Test. Share this video to let your loved ones know it's now much easier to get screened!