Under the ’scope
Listen up, ladies: this month brings some changes to cervical cancer screening. Here’s the lowdown.
What’s going on?
Instead of a pap test every two years, you’ll now have a new cervical screening test every five years. The procedures are pretty similar. Another thing? Screening will start from 25, rather than 18.
Why the change?
In a nutshell, “new evidence and better technology that’ll help improve early detection of cervical abnormalities,” says Joe Tooma, CEO of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. The new test looks for human papillomavirus (HPV) “that causes the abnormal cell changes, prior to the development of cancer. HPV infection is responsible for
99.7 per cent of all cervical cancers.” As for the age change? “Research has shown that cervical cancer is extremely rare in women under 25,” explains Tooma. “Screening hasn’t reduced the number of cases in this age group.” (Though check in with your doc at any stage if you’re worried.)
So, what next?
If you’ve already had a pap test, have your next screening two years later. From 1 December onwards, you’ll be invited to five-yearly cervical screening tests. Sign up for a free text and email reminder at accf.org.au. Sorted.