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Cervical cancer prevention

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

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

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Prevention

Cervical cancer should be almost entirely preventable Professor Ian Frazer AC, co-inventor of the HPV vaccine.

Read more on Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation website

Cervical cancer - NT.GOV.AU

Prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.

Read more on NT Health website

Cervical cancer - National Cancer Control Policy

Read cervical cancer impact, prevention, screening and related public policy to reduce bowel cancer burden

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) | myVMC

Human papillomavirus is a vaccine-preventable, sexually transmitted disease which causes genital warts. Some types cause cervical cancer.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Cervical screening (Pap smear) and prevention | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government

Regular cervical screening via a Pap smear is the best way to prevent cervical cancer as it can detect changes to the cells of the cervix that can be treated before cancer develops. In Queensland, the Queensland Health Pap Smear Register will send you a reminder notice when you are overdue for a Pap smear as well as providing access to your Pap smear result history for your doctor or pathology laboratory.

Read more on Queensland Health website

What are the risk factors for cervical cancer? | Cervical Cancer

Risk factors for cervical cancer

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Programs Overseas

Cervical cancer is the leading cancer killer of women in developing countries. Every year, at least 280,000 women worldwide die from this serious disease and yet it is highly preventable. ACCF believes that no matter where a woman lives, every woman should have the chance to protect herself from cervical cancer. We are determined to help eliminate cervical cancer in Australia and in in our neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Kiribati, The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Vietnam through the facilitation of vaccination programs for girls as well as screening and treatment programs for women.

Read more on Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation website

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman's cervix.

Read more on WA Health website

Cervical cancer - myDr.com.au

Read about cervical cancer and associated tests and risk factors.

Read more on myDr website

Cervical cancer treatment - myDr.com.au

Read all about your treatment options for cervical cancer.

Read more on myDr website

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