National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, 12-18 November, is a timely reminder of the importance of regular cervical screening.

All women aged between 25 and 74 who have ever been sexually active should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years, even if they've had the HPV vaccine.

In 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test and now, once you have had your first Cervical Screening Test, you’ll only need to have one every five years instead of every two, if your results are normal. The Cervical Screening Test is a quick and simple test that checks for changes to the cells of the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if it is detected early. Dr Bruce Bolam, our Chief Preventive Health Officer, explains:

'Regardless if you have been vaccinated against HPV or not, you need to have regular cervical screening as the HPV vaccination does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. In Australia, regular Cervical Screening Tests prevent about 1,200 women each year from being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

'Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years to check for changes in cervical cells.'

If you are 25 to 74 years of age, your next Cervical Screening Test is due 2 years after your last Pap test or, if you have never been screened,  you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

For more information, see Cervical screening tests on BetterHealth Channel.

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