Cervical Screening

What is cervical screening?

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable of all cancers. Having a Pap test every two years can reduce the risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer by up to 96 per cent, yet only 51.9 per cent of eligible women in the South Western Sydney area are having a pap test regularly.

It is recommended that all women aged 18-69 years of age who have ever been sexually active, should have a pap smear every two years, even if they have received the HPV vaccine.

Support for general practice

South Western Sydney PHN can work with and support general practitioners to ensure their female patients are screened via:

  • Assistance with identifying patients who are due or overdue for screening – support to access overdue lists from the pap test register
  • Support to implement recall and reminder systems for due and/or overdue women
  • Practice visits to assist with education and/or set-up: Item numbers and cervical screening PIP information, recording pap smears in medical software, education
  • Provide patient information resources
The NSW Pap Test Register

The NSW Pap Register is operated by the Cancer Institute NSW as part of the Commonwealth and State funded NSW Cervical Screening Program.  The register is a secure and classified database that stores women's Pap tests. It acts to:

  • Remind women and their health practitioner when a cervical test is overdue
  • Provides results and recall letters to patients.
  • To ensure that women who return an abnormal test result receive the necessary follow-up care.

The register can also provide the patient's Pap test details and follow-up test history to their health practitioner to assist in care. Practitioners can contact the register to obtain the results and history of the patient on the Information Line: 1800 671 693 or (02) 8374 5692

Find out more about cervical screening

To find out more about how South Western Sydney PHN can assist you and your practice, contact Renae Eastlake (Cancer Screening Project Officer) on (02) 4632 3035 or email renae.eastlake@swsphn.com.au

Future changes to cervical screening

The Australian Government has accepted the recommendations of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) that a primary human papillomavirus (HPV) test should replace the current Pap test for cervical screening.

What are the changes?

  • The renewed National Cervical Screening Program will invite women aged 25 to 74 years, both HPV vaccinated and unvaccinated, to undertake an HPV test every 5 years instead of a Pap smear every two years.
  • HPV vaccinated women will still require cervical screening as the HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
  • The new programme will commence on 1 May, 2017, when the primary HPV screening test will become available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Further information around these changes may be accessed at http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/future-changes-cervical

Useful websites

National Cervical Screening Program

Cervical Screening NSW

Family Planning NSW