Cervical Cancer Self-screening Rates At Record High

Department of Health

Thousands of Australian women are receiving a life-saving test for cervical cancer as new data shows the success of Labor’s self-collection screening option.

Annually, about 800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia, with about 70% of these cases occurring in women who have never screened or were not up-to-date with their screening. Having regular screening tests is the best way for protection.

Labor expanded screening test options in July 2022, offering self-collection as a choice to all women aged between 25 and 74 participating in a Cervical Screening Test. The traditional ‘pap smear’ test is still available to women who prefer this option, however many have found it uncomfortable and may have avoided cervical cancer screening.

New data released today on HPV Awareness Day shows more than 315,000 Australian women have self-collected. 27 per cent of all screening tests are now done this way – a huge increase on the 1 per cent before the expansion.

The option to self-screen – being more private and discreet – has been particularly positive for people who have never screened or are overdue. In the past year, 1 in 3 first-time screeners and 40 per cent of overdue screeners took up the self-collection option.

In the Northern Territory, self-collection is more than double the national average, at 47 per cent, while nationally, older women are setting the pace with 34 per cent of women aged between 70‑74 opting to self-collect.

The self-collect option is available wherever cervical screening is conducted, including GP clinics, women’s health clinics, Aboriginal health centres and other healthcare providers.

Australia is set to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer by 2035 following the release of the National Strategy for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer and a $48.2 million investment to support implementation.

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