Who should consider cervical screening?
Cervical screening is formally known as pap smears. Screening applies to women who are between 25 and 74 years of age.
If you have any symptoms of concern a cervical scan can be done at any time.
How has cervical screening changed?
Cervical screening was previously done very 2 years, however, is now done every 5 years.
The focus of the testing has also changed.
Previously the cells were examined for any abnormalities, but now, the focus has shifted to look at human papillomavirus strains (HPV). If there are no strains of HPV detected than the cells are not looked at. If HPV is detected, then the cells are looked at further and testing is done from that point on.
Why has this changed?
Australia is one of four countries in the world making this change. HPV is believed to be responsible for 99% of cervical cancers. It is more effective to look for HPV strains rather than looking for cervical cancer. Now we can pick up people who are at high risk before cervical changes actually happen.
What is HPV?
HPV is an incredibly common virus. It generally does not cause any symptoms so often you do not know you have it. Your body will usually clear the virus on its own, however, there are some people who can't clear this virus from their body which is when the virus persists and we see an increased risk for a range of cancers.
Cervical Screening Chat
Dr Diana Tao is one of our skilled doctors at TMC. In the video, Diana discusses cervical screening and shares a few insights into why the process has changed.