Chapter 2 – The Cervix

Secondary prevention: cervical cancer screening

Population-based screening for cervical cancer is recognised as an effective strategy to identify asymptomatic individuals who have a previously unrecognised disease. Cervical screening has seen dramatic reductions in the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma in Australia. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 68% of all cervical cancers in Australia while glandular (adenocarcinomas) or mixed cancers accounted for approximately 24% of cases. (10)

Australia has one of the lowest incidences of cervical cancer in the world. This is largely attributed to the successful implementation of the National Cervical Screening Program in 1991 which led to a 50% decrease in cervical cancer mortality in 10 years. (35) Between 2002 and 2012, 72% of cervical cancer diagnoses in women aged 20-69 occurred in people who had never been screened or were lapsed screeners.(44)

The overall age standardised screening participation rate for people aged 20-69 years (the previous target group for screening) was just under 56% in 2018-2020.(44)

There are still groups who are under-screened, including those from lower socioeconomic groups and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Available evidence also suggests Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are an under-screened group with more than twice the ... Buy now