Cervical cancer screening tests

Find reliable independent health and treatment information about cervical cancer written by Australian experts. This includes resources for consumers and health professionals.

About cervical cancer tests

We currently have no information specifically on cervical cancer tests but we will be developing new resources as the need arises. In the meantime see the list of resource below, use the search box to find more, or review our information for health professionals – so you can discuss this with your health carer.

For health professionals  

Around 85% of women who develop cervical cancer have either not had a Pap test or have been inadequately screened in the past 10 years.1 A large body of evidence supports the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening in reducing mortality. The incidence of cervical cancer has fallen in many populations since the introduction of population-wide screening programs.2,3 The risk of developing cervical cancer is 3–10 times greater in women who have not been screened. Screening for cervical cancer with a Pap test is recommended every 2 years in women who have had sexual intercourse and have an intact cervix, starting at age 18–20 years.

Clinical information

Quality use of medical tests means choosing the right test for the patient and using it at the right time. We have compiled some of the latest evidence and guidelines on cervical cancer screening to help you discuss the relevance of this with your patients.

  1. Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (The Red Book) 8th Edition. Melbourne: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2012. [Online] (accessed 11 February 2013).
  2. Eddy DM. Screening for cervical cancer. Ann Intern Med 1990;113:214–26. [Pubmed]
  3. Laara E, Day NE, Hakama M. Trends in mortality from cervical cancer in the Nordic countries: association with organised screening programmes. Lancet 1987;1:1247–9.[Pubmed]

Related information - cervical cancer screening tests


(Corporate information)
24 Nov 2015 In this issue: CEO Update │ Cervical Cancer Screening │Pharmacists Support│Be Medicinewise Week 2015│ National Blood Authority │ Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 │Online learning activities
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
13 Oct 2015 From 1 May 2017 there will be significant changes to the way women are screened for cervical cancer in Australia. Find out more about what these changes are and what this means for your practice.
(Consumer publication)
01 Oct 2015 From May 2017 changes will be introduced to the National Cervical Screening Program, including alternative testing method, extended testing frequency, and increased starting age.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
01 Oct 2015 Alternative sampling option, longer interval, increased entry age and a national register among changes to take effect in 2017.
For health professionals (Medical test)
23 Jul 2013 Australian woman between the ages of 18 and 70 should be offered a PAP test every 2 years to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer
(Medical test)
28 Jun 2013 A Pap smear or cervical smear (Pap smear) is a test used to look for abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix. Detecting these cells early can reduce the risk of cervical cancer.