Cancer Council Queensland has welcomed a new cervical screening program which will come into effect on December 1, replacing the two-yearly pap test.
Those aged between 25 and 74 years will be eligible to take part in the screening program every five years.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the new Cervical Screening Test would be more effective than a pap test and just as safe.
“The new test will directly detect the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes almost all cervical cancers before abnormal cell changes occur, ensuring that the development of cervical cancer is caught early,” Ms McMillan said.
“The new Cervical Screening Test is more accurate and effective, and for that reason, women don’t need to be screened as frequently going forward.
“Cancer Council research shows the renewed program will reduce cervical cancer rates by 20 percent or more.
“Only about half of all eligible women in Queensland currently take part in the National Cervical Screening Program – we hope this change will encourage more eligible women to take the test, giving themselves the best possible chance of detecting cancer early.”
The Cervical Screening Test will be available for women aged 25 – 74, based on evidence that screening is much less effective in women under the age of 25 years.
Those eligible will be sent an invitation to take part two years after their last pap test, and then every five years. Women aged under 25 will receive an invitation to screen around their 25th birthday.
Ms McMillan stressed that even if people were vaccinated against HPV, they still needed to participate in regular cervical screening.
“Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers so it’s still vital that people take part in the Cervical Screening Program despite being immunised,” Ms McMillan said.
If Queenslanders are seeking more information about the renewed Cervical Screening Program they can call 13 15 56, or speak to their GP if they have concerns or symptoms of cervical cancer, regardless of when they were last screened.
Symptoms can include irregular bleeding, discharge or pain.
Around 200 women in Queensland are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 60 die from the disease.
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