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Renewed cervical screening program

A Healthier Future for Australian Women is here

Changes to the Cervical Screening Program

From December 1st, the way Australian women are screened for cervical cancer has changed. The Medical Services Advisory Committee recommended replacing the conventional Pap smear with 2 yearly screening interval, to a liquid-based collection for HPV DNA testing with a five year screening interval. Screening will commence at 25 years of age.

What Do I Need To Know?

Women aged 25 to 74 years will be invited every 5 years to have a primary HPV test. This includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated women. If HPV is not detected, cytology will not be performed and a recommendation to repeat in five years will be made. If HPV is detected, a reflex Liquid Based Cytology (LBC) (ThinPrep) will be performed on the same specimen. There will be a combined report for HPV and cytology (LBC) results, which will include a risk category and the recommended management, in line with the new guidelines.

There are three risk categories:

• Women who are classified as Low risk will be re-invited to rescreen in five years.
• Women who are classified as Intermediate risk will be invited to have another HPV test in 12 months. This is to check that the infection has cleared.
• Women classified as Higher risk will be referred directly to colposcopy for further investigation.

Symptomatic Women

It is important to remember that symptomatic women may have a cervical sample taken at any time, regardless of their age or screening history. Women at any age who have signs or symptoms suggestive of cervical cancer, or its precursors, should have a co-test (LBC and HPV). The presence of symptoms should be clearly noted on the request form as cytological examination will be performed on these specimens.

To view more information visit our HPV web page www.clinicallabs.com.au/HPV