From December 1, 2017, a new Cervical Screening Test is available via Medicare to replace the existing PAP smear screening program. Cervical Screening can help prevent women from developing cervical cancer. The newest test is based on latest medical and scientific evidence with better detection rates, and is expected to protect up to 30% more women from cervical cancer. As the test is also more accurate in detecting early changes that may lead to cervical cancer, screening intervals between normal tests will also be extended to 5 years, compared to the 2 yearly screening recommended previously.
What is the new Cervical Screen Test?
The Cervical Screening Test looks for the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection within the cells of your cervix. Most HPV infections are naturally cleared by the body’s immune system without causing problems, but occasionally certain types of HPV infection may persist and cause changes to cervical cells which may lead to cancer. Detecting and monitoring for HPV infections and cell changes allows these early changes to be detected and with investigations and treatment if required to prevent development to cervical cancer.
Who should get the test?
The Cervical Screening Test is generally recommended for all women aged 25 to 74. However, if at any age you have symptoms, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain or discharge, you should discuss these with your doctor immediately.
You should still have a cervical screening test even if you have previously had the cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil).
When should I have the test?
If you are aged 25 to 74 years you should have your first Cervical Screening Test two years after your last Pap test.
If you are turning 25 or are older than 25 and have never had a Pap test before, you should make an appointment with your doctor to have a Cervical Screening Test.
Women aged 18-25 who has had previous PAP smears that have all been normal can restart Cervical Screening testing at age 25.
Women with previously abnormal PAP smears or any symptoms should consult their doctor for further advice.
Cervical Screening is an important and effective means of protecting you from Cervical Cancer and is highly recommended by leading health authorities – to book your test or to discuss it with your doctor, please ring reception on 07 3267 5088 or book online here.
More information about the National Cervical Screening Program can be found here.