About cervical screening

Cervical screening reduces the number of women who develop or die from cervical cancer.

Page last updated: 17 May 2017

  • Cervical screening currently detects early changes in the cervix before cervical cancer develops. Cervical screening can also detect if cervical cancer is present.
  • Cells are collected from the surface of the cervix and sent to a laboratory where they are tested for cellular abnormalities using the Pap test.
  • Cervical screening can be provided through your general practice, community or women’s health centre, family planning clinic, sexual health clinic or Aboriginal Medical Service.
  • Cervical screening does not diagnose ovarian cancer and it does not check for sexually transmitted infections.
Screening is for women without symptoms. If you are concerned about any symptoms, such as unusual bleeding, discharge or pain, see your Health Care Professional immediately.

The renewed National Cervical Screening Program

The Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program will be implemented on 1 December 2017.

Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our world-class cervical cancer screening program will continue. It is important that women aged between 18-69 years continue to have Pap smears every two years and talk to their doctor or health care professional if they have any questions.

Read more about the Future changes to the National Cervical Screening Program 

More information for health care professionals on the arrangements for cervical cancer screening between now and 1 December 2017 is available on our FAQ page

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