By Karen Canfell, Adjunct professor, UNSW;
Megan Smith, Program Manager – Cervix/ HPV Group, Cancer Council NSW, University of Sydney.
As has been much discussed, women will now start testing at age 25 with a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV), then be tested every five years until they are aged 70-74.
Even though the more sensitive HPV screening program will only screen women around ten times in their lifetime (instead of the current 26 times), it will save more lives.
It’s expected to reduce the number of new cases of cervical cancer and deaths from cervical cancer by at least 20 per cent.
The new screening program should also make it easier for women who have missed out on screening (or have skipped a few Pap smears) to take part.
That’s a sizable number of women. At least one million Australian women are more than a year overdue for cervical screening. And only about 60 per cent of women are screened every two years as recommended, a statistic that hasn’t moved in over a decade.
What makes reaching under-screened women so important is these are the ones most likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. About two-thirds of all cervical cancers are found in women who have never been screened or are more than 18 months overdue for screening.
Jana Pittman talks to Mia Freedman about the symptoms women need to look out for when it comes to gynaecological cancer. Post continues below.