Changes to cervical screening testing
Women and people with a cervix will soon be able to perform their own cervical screening test under changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.
The changes, which take effect on 1 July this year, provide any person eligible for cervical screening the choice to self-collect or have their health professional perform the test for them.
Both options require a consultation with a health professional.
Jane Davies from Women’s Health at the Broken Hill Community Health Centre, Far West Local Health District, said the changes afforded people greater choice.
“More than 70 per cent of people diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer are under-screened or have never screened, so it’s really important we provide more options to encourage screening,” she said.
The five-yearly Cervical Screening Test detects the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause changes in the cells of the cervix.
“New evidence suggests that screening for HPV every five years is more effective and just as safe as the formerly used Pap test, which was done every 2 years,” said Ms Davies.
“We also now know that a self-collected sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample which is why that option is now available – we know that it’s safe and effective.”
Women and people with a cervix, aged between 25-74 years and who has ever been sexually active is eligible for free Cervical Screening Tests.
Ms Davies said anyone wanting to find out more about cervical screening self-collection should make an appointment with their health professional.
More information is also available at National Cervical Screening Program | Australian Government Department of Health