Increased screening for Territory Aboriginal women has contributed to halving the number of deaths due to cervical cancer, a new report has revealed.
Co-author John Condon, deputy director of the Menzies School of Health Research, investigated the success of NT programs aimed at encouraging more pap smears.
The report found that in 1997-98 only a third of Indigenous women in remote locations were being screened, about half the national average.
But by 1999-2000, after targeted programs were introduced, participation jumped to 44 per cent.
‘Particularly encouraging is the very big and very quick improvement — and in one of the regions the participation rate was 10 per cent better than the national average,’ he said.
‘Those two things demonstrate that whatever barriers we perceive that make these achievements difficult in remote regions they can all be overcome.’
Dr Condon said falling rates of cancer were linked with the success of programs such as the NT Women's Cancer Prevention Program.
‘From the late '90s we saw the mortality rates fall by half in a space of 10 years,’ said Dr Condon.