Cervical Screening

The National Cervical Screening Program reduces infection and death from cervical cancer. Women who are aged 25 to 74 years of age are invited to have a Cervical Screening Test every 5 years through their GP. As part of this initiative, our GP clinic offers self-collection for patients wanting to take their own Cervical Screening Test sample.

Cervical screening is a straightforward test that checks for the presence of the Human Papilloma Virus, which is a common virus that can cause cancer in the cervix.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, which is the entrance to the womb inside the vagina.

Cervical cancer occurs when there are changes and mutations in the cells lining the cervix. These abnormal cells can grow and develop into cancer.

Why is screening important?

Cervical cancer is a preventable cancer. Having regular screening tests is the best way to protect yourself. The test detects the presence of HPV so that it can be monitored or investigated further if needed.

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus which spreads through skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV.

There are 100 strains of HPV, some of which are benign and others that can cause abnormal cells to develop, leading to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, throat and anus. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment for HPV, which is why it is important to always protect yourself by having regular cervical screening tests.

Genital warts are also caused by the Human Papillomavirus, however, it can be easily treated by your doctor. Genital warts are not a cancerous strain of HPV.

The HPV vaccine

The Australian Government now vaccinates all school children for free as part of the National Immunisation schedule. Children aged 12–13 years of age are eligible for the vaccination.

People aged up to 19 can also receive catch-up vaccinations for free from their doctor. People aged over 20 can choose to have the HPV vaccine at a cost.

Who is a candidate for Cervical Screening?

Women are eligible if they are:

  • Aged between 25 and 74
  • Sexually active or have ever had sexual contact

More information on cervical screening tests can be found on Healthdirect Australia, Australia’s national virtual public health information service.  

If you believe you are due for a test or are unsure of the time of your last cervical screening test, please contact our friendly reception staff on (03) 7068 5808 or book an appointment online.

Doctor holds test tube that is labelled HPV (Human Papillomaviarus)
Woman relaxed after undergoing Cervical Screening at her GP to help protect against Cervical Cancer