Since late 2017, Australian health professionals have offered a new Cervical Screening Test in place of the former Pap smear test. Because virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the new Cervical Screening program is designed to work alongside the HPV vaccination program to help reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection which often shows no symptoms and tends to go away by itself. Persistent HPV infection, however, can cause abnormal cells to develop on the cervix. Over time, these abnormal cells may develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.
The new Cervical Screening Test procedure is similar to a Pap smear test that many women will be familiar with. A doctor or nurse takes a sample of cells from the cervix; the Cervical Screening Test then looks for HPV infection. The new test for HPV can identify women who could be at risk earlier than the old Pap smear test could.
Because most women under the age of 25 will have been vaccinated for HPV, and because cervical cancer in women under 25 is rare, the new Cervical Screening program kicks-in when women reach 25 years of age. Women aged 25 to 74 years of age should have a Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap smear test. Subsequently, they will only need to have the test every 5 years if their results are normal.
Please visit our Appointments page to book a time for your Cervical Screening Test with one of the best doctors of Northcote.