During National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, it's important that we're aware of the importance of the new screening program for cervical cancer, which has now replaced the Pap smear test.


If you're like me, you hate getting your pap smear done every two years and you wouldn't be the only one that puts it off or just doesn't get it done.


Earlier this year, a new test that had been under development was released - the Cervical Screening Test - and even better, you only need to get it done every 5 years!!!


The Australian Government's National Cervical Screening Program has changed to improve early detection. This new test is more effective in screening than the pre-existing Pap test, and helps save more lives.


How does it do this?

The new test is designed to also pick up the HPV infection, which is a key risk factor in developing cervical cancer. HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus, is a virus that causes almost all cervical cancers.


School students, between the ages of 12 and 13 years, are now being vaccinated against HPV as part of the National HPV Vaccination Program, which further helps to prevent cervical cancer in women as well. HPV doesn't just cause cervical cancer, it's also known to cause:

  • 90% of anal cancers
  • 65% of vaginal cancers
  • 50% of vulva cancers
  • 35% of penile cancers
  • 60% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).

This is why boys are also being vaccinated against HPV, it doesn't just affect females.


Who needs the screening test?

Women who are aged between 25 to 74, that have ever been sexually active, should be screened with the new Cervical Screening Test.


This includes women who have been vaccinated against HPV.


How often does it need to be done?

If your last Pap smear test was negative, then you can commence your first Cervical Screening Test approximately 2 years - yes, at the same point you would have been due for another Pap smear test. From that point, you will only need to be re-screened every 5 years.


If you've had abnormal results previously, you should definitely get screened sooner, you would have been recommended to return at a certain time - you should do so.


I'm under 25, do I need to get the test?



I'm over 25, how does this change affect me?



How can I find out more information?

Head to our site on Cervical Screening for more detailed information about the changes to the screening tests and why it's important to be getting screened regularly. 


Alternatively, you can post here in the Online Community or call 13 11 20 during business hours if you have any questions Smiley Happy

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