About cervical screening

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

Page last updated: 04 November 2016

  • 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 check for other problems in the reproductive system such as ovarian cancer or 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 National Cervical Screening Program is changing.

From 1 May 2017, the Pap test will be replaced with a new Cervical Screening Test.

Until then, if you are aged between 18 and 69 years and have ever been sexually active, you should continue to have your Pap test when due. Delaying your Pap test can put you at greater risk of developing cervical cancer.

For more information talk to your Health Care Professional or read more about the future changes to cervical screening.

In this section