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Card designed for women to forget me not



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Brian Howe

BH256/92

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services

25 November 1992

CARD DESIGNED FOR WOMEN TO FORGET ME NOT

A Pap smear reminder card to help Australia's five million women between 18 and 70- remember when their next Pap smear is due was launched in Canberra today by ABC presenter Geraldine Doogue.

The reminder card is easy to use, lasts for 10 years and is designed to be kept in a purse or wallet.

"Women's lives are so hectic these days, it is difficult to remember things that happened yesterday, let alone remember what needs to happen every two years," Ms Doogue said.

"The card is ideal for women because it provides a compact permanent personal reminder of when their Pap smears are due."

Also speaking at the launch was Dr Barbara Jones, Federal spokesperson for Preventing Cancer of the Cervix, who said that one of the key messages for all Australian women was that cancer of the cervix was largely preventable.

"The Pap smear detects early microscopic changes in the cells on the cervix which, if left untreated, may progress to cancer," Dr Jones said.

Dr Jones said that while the Pap smear was not 100 per cent foolproof in detecting all cases of cancer of the cervix, it was still an excellent defence against the disease.

Dr Jones said one of the most disturbing facts was that less than fifty per cent of Australian women regularly have Pap smears.

She urged all Australian women between 18 and 70 to have regular two-yearly Pap smears in the absence of symptoms or a history of cervical problems.

"As a general practitioner, I find many women forget when their last Pap smear was. Some think it was last year when in fact it was three years ago.

"This convenient little card will help to take the guesswork out of remembering by providing a ready personal reminder system." ■ ■

COMMONWEALTH P A R L IA M E N T A R Y LIBRARY MICAH

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations

- 2-

The reminder card is part of the Federal Government's Organised Approach to Preventing Cancer of the Cervix. A priority initiative in this national preventive health program is to inform and educate women about Pap smears and cancer of the cervix.

The Program also aims to recruit older women, women from non-English speaking cultures, women in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to start having regular Pap smears.

Federal Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe, who was unable to attend the launch due to overseas commitments, urged all Australian women to practise preventive health by having a regular Pap smear.

"As part of our program we are establishing formal reminder and recall systems," he said.

"But in the interim, to help educate women about the need to have regular Pap smears, we have developed this personal reminder card."

The Card is free and will be available through Medicare Offices nationwide, Guild pharmacies, community health and Aboriginal health centres and via a special Free Call number: 008 808 725. It is also being distributed through this week's New Idea magazine.

For further information please contact:

Diane Day, The Rowland Company Helen Kay, Public Affairs Branch Leith Greenslade, Minister's Office

phone: (06) 295 2533 phone: (06) 289 8522 phone: (06) 277 7680