Information for health professionals
Research has shown that women are more likely to undertake cervical screening:
- if their health professional has discussed screening with them
- at the recommendation of their health professional
For female patients, health professionals are an important source of information about cervical screening. By providing a friendly, safe and sensitive environment, your support is fundamental in a woman’s decision to have a potentially life-saving Cervical Screening Test (the Pap test replacement*).
Cervical screening has changed
In December 2017, a number of changes were introduced to the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). These changes included:
- Replacing the Pap test with the Cervical Screening Test, which detects human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Changing the screening interval from two years to five years for women with normal (HPV-negative) resuls
- Changing the screening entry age from 18 to 25
- Changing the screening exit age from 69 to 74
- Establishing the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR)
How can you support patients in cervical screening?
As part of your discussions with women about cervical screening, it is important to help your patients understand aspects such as:
- What cervical screening involves
- Why screening is important
- Why the Cervical Screening Test is relevant to them
- What their test results mean
Cervical screening in general practice
Health professionals working within general practices perform around 85% of cervical screening in NSW.
As a health professional in a general practice, you are ideally placed to introduce and discuss the topic of cervical screening. This is particularly important when engaging with women who are reluctant to screen, as well as those who may have forgotten they are overdue for their Cervical Screening Test.
Nurses in general practice and community health
Female nurses have a vital role in cervical screening, as they often provide Cervical Screening Tests in locations where women may otherwise only have access to a male doctor.
Nurses also play an important part in reaching women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, older women, and women who may have never had a Cervical Screening Test before.
Our Resources directory features a wide range of fact sheets, references and publications on cervical screening for health professionals.
- Download our frequently asked questions (PDF) for health professionals
Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines
These guidelines from Cancer Council Australia are designed to educate health professionals on the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.
- Rediscover common consumer questions
*In December 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test as the method of screening women to prevent cervical cancer in Australia.