Future changes to cervical screening

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.

Page last updated: 27 October 2017

The renewed National Cervical Screening Program

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. It is important that people aged between 18-69 years continue to have Pap tests every two years and talk to their doctor or healthcare provider if they have any questions.

Read more about the National Cervical Screening Program implementation date .

The Renewed National Cervical Screening Program

The two yearly Pap test for people aged 18 to 69 will change to a five yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test for people aged 25 to 74. People will be due for the first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test. The changes include:

  • people will be invited when they are due to participate via the National Cancer Screening Register
  • the Pap test 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
  • people aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test.

People of any age who have symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge and pain should see their healthcare provider immediately.

HPV vaccinated people still require cervical screening as the HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

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