Cervical screening test changes

An option for people to self-collect their own cervical screening test will be introduced next month.

Women in Broken Hill and Far West will be able to perform their own cervical screening test as of next month.

From July 1, eligible people will have the option to self-collect or have it done by a health professional under new changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.

Broken Hill Community Health Centre FWLHD’s Jane Davies said the changes provided people with greater choice.

“More than 70 per cent of people diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer are under-screened or have never screened, so it’s really important we provide more options to encourage screening,” she said.

Both options would require a consultation with a health professional.

The Cervical Screening Test detects the human papilloma virus (HPV) which can cause changes in the cells of the cervix.

“New evidence suggests that screening for HPV every five years is more effective and just as safe as the formerly used Pap test, which was done every two years,” Ms Davies said.

“We also now know that a self-collected sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample which is why that option is now available – we know that it’s safe and effective.”

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Women and people with a cervix aged between 25-74 years-old and have been sexually active are eligible for free screening tests.

To find out more, contact a health professional or visit www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-cervical-screening-program.

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