6th September 2017
Women big winners from the renewed Cervical Screening Program
Australia has among the lowest rate of cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the world thanks largely to the National Cervical Screening Program which was introduced in 1991. While the program has had excellent results, in recent years results have plateaued and there is an increased need for earlier detection.
Australian Clinical Labs Pathologist Dr Catherine Uzzell says the Program incorporates the latest scientific research.
“Women will see the benefits of an evidence-based program which incorporates the most up- to-date technology and knowledge for the diagnosis of cervical abnormalities, and the prevention of cervical cancer.”
From 1 December 2017, the traditional ‘pap’ smear will be replaced by a HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) DNA test which can detect a larger range of the existing 40 plus HPV types including the two high risk types, 16 and 18, and 12 intermediate risk types.
The screening program is recommended for HPV vaccinated and unvaccinated women between 25 and 69 years of age, with a final HPV test conducted between the ages of 69 and 74 years.
“Some women are nervous about a five yearly screening. The most up to date research has shown that if none of the high or intermediate HPV types are detected then the chances of developing disease is very low. Some women, for example, those who have a past history of cervical disease and those whose immune systems are compromised, will need more frequent screening but for the majority of women they can rest assured that a screening every five years is sufficient.”
Australian Clinical Labs is well placed to begin the program. Our laboratories have been performing HPV testing for nine years now, with significant investments made in state of the art molecular PCR DNA testing platforms.
The Renewed Cervical Screening Program is expected to have a significant impact. In unvaccinated women, a 31-36% reduction in cervical cancer incidence and mortality is expected while a 24-29% reduction is expected in vaccinated women.
Refer to Pap Screening Changes for more information or contact your health practitioner.