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Cervical cancer prevention

Changes to cervical screening

From 1 December 2017 the National Cervical Screening Program will change to improve early detection. The current 2 yearly Pap test will change to a 5 yearly HPV test.

What should I do before 1 December 2017?
If you are a woman aged 18 to 69, you should continue to have your regular Pap test every 2 years.

When will I be due for my first HPV test?
Women will be due for the first HPV test 2 years after their last Pap 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.

Cervical screening

Regular cervical screening, known as Pap tests, are the best way to identify abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage.

All women over 18 who have ever had sex are advised to have a Pap test every 2 years, even if they no longer have sex. It's a good idea for your clinic or doctor's surgery to have your up-to-date contact details so that you continue getting screening invitations.

It's important that you attend your smear 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.

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.

Girls should be offered the HPV vaccine as part of their routine childhood immunisation program. The vaccine should be given to girls who are 12 to 13 years old, with three doses provided over a six-month period.

Source: Department of Health and Ageing (National Cervical Screening Program)

Last reviewed: October 2015

Need more information?

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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

Cervarix | myVMC

Cervarix is a vaccine used to prevent human papilloma virus infection, which causes cervical cancer. It stimulates production of antibodies in the cervix.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre 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 -

Read about cervical cancer and associated tests and risk factors.

Read more on myDr website

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