Cervical Screening Program campaigns

Public media campaigns are an effective strategy to communicate messages to a wide audience and can therefore have a much larger impact on the community.

The overall aim of the NSW Cervical Screening Program is to increase the participation of women aged 20 to 69 years in regular cervical screening. However, the 2012 to 2013 NSW biennial screening rate for women in the target age group is only 57.7%, meaning there are still 42.3% of women in the target audience who have not been screened in the last two years.

As a part of the strategy to encourage women to screen for cervical cancer, various marketing campaigns have been developed over recent years. Marketing campaigns are one of the most successful strategies that are used to impact knowledge, awareness and behaviour. 

Current campaigns

A Pap test can save your life. Be around for your family

Participating in regular cervical screening can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer by up to 96%. Cervical screening, also known as a Pap test, can pick up early warning signs which can be treated before cervical cancer develops.

Aboriginal women are four times more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Aboriginal women. This suggests that Aboriginal women are less likely to have regular Pap tests.

This campaign aims to increase awareness of cervical cancer and to encourage Aboriginal women aged 18 to 69 years to have a Pap test every two years.

The resources developed as part of this campaign are based on the stories of two Aboriginal Community Champions.  Posters, fact sheets and brochures can be ordered from the Resources and Publications page. To watch a short video on cervical screening click on the link below:

Past Campaigns

Peace of Mind

The 'Peace of Mind' campaign aimed to increase awareness of the need for women to have regular cervical screening (Pap tests). The campaign encouraged women aged 18 to 69 years to make an appointment for a Pap test every two years. The campaign objective was to increase screening participation with a particular focus on those women not screening at all during the recommended two-yearly interval.

The campaign acknowledged how awkward it can be for a woman to have a Pap test and compared having a Pap test to other awkward things women do. It also reinforced the need for women who have received the HPV vaccine to continue with regular Pap tests to protect against cervical cancer.

The 'Peace of Mind' campaign was originally developed by the Cancer Council Victoria in 2010, based on research that indicated embarrassment as a significant barrier to women participating in regular cervical screening. The campaign first aired in NSW between October and November 2011 and subsequently, between May and June 2013. 

Campaign evaluation

Campaign evaluation indicated that the number of Pap tests conducted in NSW during the 2011 campaign period increased by over 18,500 in comparison to the same period in 2010. The ‘Peace of Mind’ campaign performed well across all age groups with a measurable increase in women’s knowledge, awareness and a change in behaviour following the first phase of this campaign.

Campaign resources

A number of resources were developed to assist with the communication of the campaign. These included posters and flyers. 

Campaign licensing

‘Peace of Mind’ was developed by Pap Screen Victoria (Cancer Council Victoria). For licensing information, contact PapScreen Victoria

Don't just sit there

Background

The 'Don't Just Sit There' campaign aimed to increase awareness of the need for women to have regular cervical screening. The campaign encouraged women aged 18 to 69 years to make an appointment for a Pap test with their doctor every two years.

The campaign demonstrated the difference between the feeling of being uncomfortable during a Pap test and the feeling of being uncomfortable during the treatments of cervical cancer which could involve chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. It also reinforced the need for regular Pap tests for women who may have been vaccinated against cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is a potentially fatal disease, however, is one of the most preventable cancers if pre-cancerous cell changes are detected early enough and treated appropriately. Australia has the second lowest incidence of cervical cancer in the world among countries with comparable cancer registration systems. About two million Australian women have a Pap test for cervical cancer screening each year.

Campaign success

The 'Don't Just Sit There' campaign, originally developed by the Cancer Council Victoria in 2004, has helped increase screening rates in several states across Australia. The number of Pap tests conducted in NSW during the 2007 campaign period increased by 21% in comparison to the same period in 2006.

With the introduction of the National HPV Vaccination Program, the campaign was revised in 2008 to reinforce the need for women who have been immunised against HPV to continue to have two yearly Pap tests.

Following the success of the initial campaign in 2007, the campaign successfully reran in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Back to top of page