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The first comprehensive study on Indigenous Australian women’s inequalities in cervical screening: a Queensland record-linkage study

PhD thesis by Lisa Whop – Menzies School of Health Research

Since the introduction of the Australian National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) in 1991, cervical cancer incidence and mortality in Australia have decreased by over 50%. However, incidence and mortality for Indigenous women are two and four times higher respectively than for non-Indigenous women. The NCSP is unable to report on program performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women because Indigenous status is not routinely collected by Pap smear registers (PSRs).

Using linked data from the Queensland PSR with hospital inpatient and cancer registry data, Lisa Whop’s thesis investigates cervical screening participation, prevalence of cervical abnormalities and time to clinical investigation following a high-grade abnormality for Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous women in Queensland. Her thesis is currently under examination.

Background

Lisa Whop is a descendent of the Wagedagam tribe of the Gumulgal people of Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait and has family connections to the Darling Downs in South West Queensland.

Lisa’s research to date has focused on improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. She holds a Bachelor in Medical Science from the Queensland University of Technology and a Masters of Applied Epidemiology from the Australian National University. Her PhD project was focused on the Queensland part of the National Indigenous Cervical Screening Project – the first population-based study in Australia to investigate the effectiveness of cervical screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

She was supported by a Sidney Myer Health Scholarship, a Menzies Enhanced Living Scholarship and a Lowitja Institute Scholarship. She recently submitted her PhD thesis to the Charles Darwin University and is working as a Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research.

Created: 30 June 2015 - Updated: 05 September 2016