Changes to cervical screening in Australia, new guidelines

Cancer Screening, Australian Government,  Page last updated: 01 March 2017

Based on new evidence and better technology, the National Cervical Screening Program will change from 1 December 2017 to improve early detection and save more lives.

The Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program will be implemented on 1 December 2017.  Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our world-class cervical cancer screening program will continue.

From 1 December 2017, the two yearly Pap test for women aged 18 to 69 will change to a five-yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test for women aged 25 to 74. Women will be due for the first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test.

The changes include:

• women will be invited when they are due to participate via the National Cancer Screening Register

• the Pap smear will be replaced with the more accurate Cervical Screening Test

• the time between tests will change from two to five years

• the age at which screening starts will increase from 18 years to 25 years

• women aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test

Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, women aged between 18 and 69 years who have ever been sexually active should continue to have a Pap test when due.

  • You can find the new guidelines here