Cancer screening rates strong in south-west

SOUTH-WEST residents are staying ahead of the game when it comes to cancer screening rates but are being warned not to be complacent.

Figures released by the Primary Health Network (PHN) shows Western Victoria above the national average for screening rates for breast, bowel and cervical cancers.

Western District takes in the south-west municipalities of Warrnambool City, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg and Southern Grampians shires and also includes the cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Horsham.

Breast screening rates for Australia sit at 54 per cent with Western Victoria at 59 per cent. National screening rates for cervical cancer (57 per cent) tail Western Victoria (60) while bowel cancer screening in our region (42) also has the nation-wide (37) rate covered.  

Southern Grampians (65.7) has the highest breast screening rate in the south-west while Warrnambool (64.2) leads the way with cervical cancer screening.

Warrnambool (37.8) also has the best bowel screening rate and is the only south-west municipality that is above the national average. 

Medical adviser for PHN Western Victoria Dr Jane Opie said that while bowel screening rates weren’t far off the mark, further diligence was encouraged.

“Individuals need to remember that once they turn 50, screening for bowel cancer every two years is recommended,” Dr Opie said.

“This is recommended by the Cancer Council of Australia and, importantly, could save their life.” 

Dr Opie said checks may need to be more regular if there is a family history of bowel cancer. 

“I urge anyone wanting more information to speak to their local GP,” she said.