Frequent screenings for cervical cancer can lead to early detection, prevent cancer from developing and save lives. Despite the importance, the number of those getting tested for cervical cancer in Australia has drastically declined over the past year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been blamed for the recent decline in cervical cancer screenings, with only 40,662 screenings conducted across Australia in November 2020 compared to 100,097 in November 2019. Living under lockdown with plenty of other worries and concerns in life, many women have neglected this crucial component of their healthcare. As the tides begin to turn on the virus and restrictions are lifted, now is the time to prioritise your cervical cancer screening.
The Cancer Council of Australia recommends that all women aged
between 25 and 74, should be frequently tested for cervical cancer, regardless
of whether you have been vaccinated against HPV. If you fall within this age
range, have a cervix and have ever been sexually active, you should be screened
for cervical cancer every five years, or two years after your last PAP smear. Cervical
cancer usually does not exhibit any symptoms
and so the only way to
identify it is by getting tested.
In 2017, Australia renewed and updated its National Cervical Screening Programme, replacing the PAP smear with the cervical cancer screening test. PAP smears and cervical cancer screenings are carried out in the same way using a swab to collect cell samples from your cervix.
While PAP smears look for any abnormal cervical cells, cervical cancer tests look specifically for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is the cause of 99% of all cervical cancer cases. If you have not been tested since the updated programme was introduced on 1 December 2017, you are overdue and should get tested as soon as you can.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. When identified early, it can usually be treated, saving lives. Better2Know can schedule a confidential HPV test at a clinic near you.
For more information, do not hesitate to call our highly trained sexual health advisors. Our team are available by phone 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. Additionally, you can send us an anonymous message via our web-chat.
 Cancer Council: A guide to: Cervical cancer screening
 ACOG.ORG: Cervical Cancer Screening
 HEALTH.GOV.AU: About the National Cervical Screening Program
 HEALTHDIRECT.GOV.AU: Cervical screening test
Lines are open 24/7. Click to call.