About the Cervical Screening Test formerly Pap Smear

On 1 December 2017, Australia switched to a renewed cervical cancer screening program.

Prevent Cervical Cancer

Regular Cervical Screening Tests can prevent around 90% of cervical cancers.

Cervical Screening Tests

All women aged 25 to 74 who’ve ever been sexually active should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years, even if they’re no longer having sex.

This is the best way to reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

The Pap test has changed

The National Cervical Screening Program changed on 1 December 2017 to improve early detection and save more lives.

All women aged between 25 and 74 years are now invited to have a Cervical Screening Test every five years, instead of a Pap test every two years.  

The new Cervical Screening Test detects HPV infection. HPV is a key risk factor in the development of cervical cancer. Even if you are vaccinated against HPV you need to participate in regular cervical screening.

The new test is more effective than, and just as safe as, screening with a Pap test every two years. In fact, the renewed program is expected to reduce cervical cancer rates and deaths by at least another 20%.

When to screen

Women aged 25–74 will be due for their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test.

If it’s been more than two years since your last Pap test, you should talk to your doctor or nurse as soon as possible about being screened.

After their first Cervical Screening Test, women will only need to be tested every five years.

Women of any age who have symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge or pain should see their health care professional immediately, regardless of when they were last screened.

HPV vaccine

The HPV vaccine will prevent up to 70% of cervical cancers as well as some other less common genital cancers in women, including vaginal and vulval. The vaccine also helps protect against penile cancer in men, and anal cancer and genital warts in both men and women.

The vaccine is most effective if given before the start of sexual activity. It’s currently free for girls and boys in Year 7 as part of the school-based National Immunisation Program.

Males and females outside of these ages may still benefit from the vaccine and should speak to their doctors to see if it’s right for them. As the vaccine won’t prevent all cervical cancers, it’s important to remember that, vaccinated or not, a Cervical Screening Test every five years is still vitally important for all women, aged 25 to 74, who’ve ever been sexually active.


Over the next 2 years (and ongoing) patient’s will still receive the usual recall reminder via letter or sms to come and have their pap smear/cervical screening done. After having the new test recall reminders will be sent at 5 year intervals as per new protocols.

If you have any questions about the changes don’t hesitate to call the clinic on 9497 1188

Or for more information follow these links:

Note: Information above sourced from the Cancer Council Victoria website  Cancer Council Victoria