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Cervical screening

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers—having a Pap test every two years is currently the best way to prevent it.

Approximately seven in every 100,000 women each year in NSW are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Why is this screening program important?

A Pap test finds changes in the cells of the cervix, which can be treated before cervical cancer develops. Having a Pap test every two years can reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 96%.

Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia have not had regular Pap tests.

What are we trying to achieve?

The NSW Cervical Screening Program is committed to:

  • Encouraging women aged 18 to 69 years to have a Pap test every two years.
  • Improving access to Pap tests.
  • Improving the care and service women receive if abnormalities are detected in a Pap test.

What have we achieved?

Since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) in 1991, incidence and death from cervical cancer in Australia has halved.

In the two-year period between 2010 and 2011, 56% of eligible NSW women aged 20 to 69 years, or approximately 1.3 million women, participated in the program in NSW.

Of the women in NSW sent a reminder letter by the NSW Pap Test Register, approximately 33% rescreen within three months.

What you need to know

Regular Pap tests can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer by up to 96%.

Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia have not had regular Pap tests.

If you’re aged between 18 and 69 years and have ever been sexually active you need to have a Pap test every two years—even if you’ve had the cervical cancer (HPV) vaccine.

Lady representing Cervical screening information

Access information about cervical screening for women and health professionals, including multilingual resources.

Find out more about the NSW Cervical Screening Program.

Woman inquiring about cervical screening

Find out how cervical screening can prevent cervical cancer developing.

woman of different ages

In 2017 major changes will take place to the National Cervical Screening Program, with the two-yearly Pap test to be replaced with a new five-yearly cervical screening test.

Pap Test consultation

The NSW Pap Test Register is a secure and confidential database of women's Pap tests and related follow-up test results.

More about the campaigns and projects that drive the activities of the NSW Cervical Screening Program.

Access the latest reports on cervical screening in NSW.

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