New pap test available

GOODBYE: Women will now only have to have a test every five years instead of every two. PHOTO: iStock
GOODBYE: Women will now only have to have a test every five years instead of every two. PHOTO: iStock

Women can now stay one step ahead of cervical cancer with a new test made available on Monday.

Replacing the Pap test but maintaining the same process of examination, the new method detects the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes about 99 per cent of cervical cancer cases.

Experts say the move is set to improve early detection and save lives, with hopes to encourage the 3,240 women from Griffith who are overdue to get tested.

The previous test only detected changes in the cells once they occurred, whereas this new test will identify and monitor women with HPV, who may be at a higher risk of these changes.

Women who are negative for HPV will have five years before their next screen, instead of the previous two-yearly tests.

The state’s Chief Cancer Officer Professor Cudrow and Chief Health Officer have joined experts from Cancer Council NSW and Family Planning NSW to ensure women get the message about the new test.

“The new test will ensure women are one step ahead of cervical cancer,” Professor Currow said. 

“Booking an appointment for this new test as soon as possible is vital. We know that eight out of 10 women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had regular screening. Don’t let this be you.”

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged women to speak with their GP to get the new test.

“Cervical screening has been one of the great public health success stories of our generation, halving both the incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer,” Dr Chant said.

Professor Karen Canfell, Director of Research at Cancer Council NSW said the new program is excellent news for all women.

“Recent results from Australia’s largest clinical trial, Compass, have shown that the new Cervical Screening Test is substantially more effective than the Pap test,” Professor Canfell said.