Chapter 2 – The Cervix

The renewed National Cervical Screening Program

Despite the impressive success of the initial National Cervical Screening Program, incidence and mortality rates from cervical cancer have plateaued since 2002.(17)

In April 2014, the Australian Government announced changes to the NCSP, which came into effect from December 1st 2017 – referred to as “the renewal”. The renewal was based on extensive modelling studies and aimed to be a more effective, evidence-based screening program built on new knowledge about the role of HPV and the natural history of cervical cancer. At this time, the primary cervical screening test changed from two-yearly papanicolaou smear tests (cytology) to five-yearly cervical screening tests, which tested for human papilloma virus, with reflex liquid-based cytology (LBC) for those with a positive HPV test. Other recommendations from this time included:(17)

Cervical screening was recommended for all women and people with a cervix who had ever been sexually active, from the age of 25. At this time, cervical screening test still required a speculum examination to visualise the cervix so that a cell sample could be collected from the transformation zone. The option of self-collected HPV testing was introduced for a limited group of people: those aged over 30 years who were under-screened (two ... Buy now

Why did HPV testing replace the Pap test?

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Why did the screening commencement age change?

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