Policy

The national policy provides consensus guidelines on which women need screening and how often Pap smears should be carried out.

Page last updated: 01 March 2017

The national policy has been in place since 1991 and currently states:

  • Routine screening with Pap smears should be carried out every two years for women who have no symptoms or history suggestive of cervical cancer.
  • All women who have ever been sexually active should start having Pap smears between the ages of 18 and 20, or one or two years after first having sexual intercourse, whichever is later.
  • Pap smears may cease at the age of 70 for women who have had two normal Pap smears within the past five years. Women over 70 who have never had a Pap smear, or who request a Pap smear, should be screened.

Women with abnormal smear results should be managed in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines.

Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program


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 women aged between 18-69 years continue to have Pap smears every two years and talk to their doctor or health care professional if they have any questions.

Read more about the Future changes to the National Cervical Screening Program and the National Cervical Screening Program implementation date .

From 1 December 2017, the new national policy will be:

  • All women who have ever been sexually active should start having the Cervical Screening Test at 25 years of age.
  • Cervical screening may cease for women between the ages of 70 and 74 if they have a have had regular screening tests with negative results and have a negative exit test result.
  • Routine screening with the Cervical Screening Test should be carried out every five years for women who have no symptoms or history suggestive of cervical cancer.

The following policy has been developed for transitioning women from Pap test to the Cervical Screening Test:

  • Women in the new target age group of 25 to 74 will be due for their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap smear.
  • Until the new Program is implemented, all women aged between 18 and 69 who have ever been sexually active should continue to have a Pap smear when due.
Read more information about the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program.

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