New clinic gives women ‘peace of mind’

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Victoria’s first dedicated private colposcopy clinic has opened at Epworth Freemasons, relieving anxiety for many women who have received abnormal results from a cervical screening test.

Until now, thousands of women faced a nervous wait of six to 12 months to have a colposcopy, after demand doubled due to changes to the Australian National Cervical Screening program in 2017.  

The follow-up test examines the health of a cervix, using a small microscope to determine if any cells have changed and whether further investigation or treatment is needed to prevent cervical cancer.

Epworth Freemasons gynaecological oncologist Dr Julie Lamont said the long wait could be traumatic for some women.

“Some patients are understandably quite anxious after being advised their test has returned an abnormal result,” Dr Lamont said.

“There is the obvious impact to their wellbeing and mental health, and some women may even delay having children until they have a colposcopy. It’s important for them to have easier access to colposcopy after an abnormal screening test.”

Women referred by their General Practitioner to the Melbourne hospital’s colposcopy clinic will usually be seen within a few weeks, and will pay around $320 gap fee after the Medicare rebate. 

Georgia Vincent, who had faced a wait of several months for a follow-up biopsy and surgery after receiving abnormal results from a pap smear, decided to self-fund for quicker treatment at Epworth Freemasons. 

“Based on my results, for peace of mind, I wanted to get the procedure over and done with, and that’s why I was prepared to pay,” Ms Vincent said.

The colposcopy clinic’s specialised medical equipment was funded by donations to the Epworth Medical Foundation. 

“Epworth Freemasons has a proud history of excellence in women’s health and this is an important part of the services we offer to support women,” said the hospital’s Executive General Manager, Simon Benedict.

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