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Cervical cancer prevention

2-minute read

Changes to cervical screening

The National Cervical Screening Program changed from 1 December 2017 to improve early detection. The previous 2 yearly Pap test changed to a 5 yearly Cervical Screening Test to check for HPV (human papilloma virus).

It's important that you attend your Cervical Screening Tests even if you have been vaccinated for HPV (see below) because the vaccine does not guarantee protection against cervical cancer.

If you have been treated for abnormal cervical cell changes, you will be invited for screening more frequently for several years after treatment. How regularly you need to go will depend on how severe the cell change is.

Watch this video to learn more about cervical screening.

Who should have the new cervical screening test?

The Cervical Screening Test is for aged 25 to 74. Women who have had a pap test previously will be due for the first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test. Women aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test

More information

Read more about changes to National Cervical Screening Program.

Safe sex

There's a strong link between certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and abnormalities that may develop into cervical cancer. HPV is spread through unprotected sex, so practicing safe sex and using a condom is the best way to avoid it.

Before beginning a sexual relationship with a new partner, it's a good idea for you both to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at a sexual health clinic or you can go to your doctor.

HPV vaccination

There is now a vaccine which provides protection against the two strains of HPV that are thought to be responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine is provided free in schools to all males and females aged 12-13 years under the National HPV Vaccination Program.

Last reviewed: January 2018

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