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Cervical screening test - pap smear

Over 70% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening.

The Cervical Screening Test has replaced the Pap smear. The Cervical Screening Test is a simple test to check the health of your cervix and also look for human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common infection that can cause cervical cell changes and may develop into cancer. By detecting a HPV infection early, it allows your healthcare provider to monitor the infection and intervene if required. Even if you have had the HPV vaccination you should still have regular cervical screening. This vaccination does not protect against all types of HPV that cause cancer.

Who should get the Cervical screening test?

You should have a Cervical Screening Test every 5 years if you

  • are between 25 and 74 years of age
  • have ever been sexually active
  • are a woman or a person with a cervix.

You still need to have Cervical Screening Test if you

  • are well and have no symptoms
  • have received the HPV vaccine
  • have only had one sexual partner
  • identify as LGBTQI+
  • no longer have periods/are past menopause of going through menopause
  • are no longer sexually active
  • have had a hysterectomy (your doctor will advise if you no longer require the Cervical Screening Test).

Self-collection

Self-collection is a new option for women who are aged 30 years or over and whose last test was four or more years ago (or who have never had a cervical screen). Recent evidence shows that it is just as effective as the Cervical Screening Test. Ask your doctor if they offer self-collection and if you are eligible.

If you have symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge and pain you should see your health care professional.

For more information visit Who should get a Cervical Screening Test

Where can I get a Cervical Screening Test or self-collection test?

Contact your General Practitioner (GP) or:

When you make an appointment, ask your health service provider if there are any out of pocket expenses. If bulk billing is important to you, it is advisable to call the surgery to confirm your eligibility for bulk billing, before you make an appointment. If you would prefer a female health professional, don’t forget to ask if that is possible. If you are interested in self-collection, you need to ask when you make an appointment if 'self-collection for cervical screening’ is offered at your clinic. Not all clinics are set up to offer this test yet, and so you may need to shop around.

For more information visit How to get a Cervical Screening Test.

National Cancer Screening Register

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) enables a single electronic record for each person in Australia participating in the National Cancer Screening Program. It gives participants and healthcare providers better access to information on participants screening history.

It is important to keep your details up to date so the NCSR can send you reminders when are due for your next Cervical Screening Test. For more information or to find out your due date visit the National Cancer Screening Register website or call 1800 627 701.

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