Your role in screening

Supporting your patients in cervical screening

Open communication about cervical screening between a woman and her health professional is crucial to increasing participation in the Cervical Screening Test (the Pap test replacement*).

Dealing with embarrassment and discomfort

For some women, cervical screening may be an embarrassing subject and/or one that causes feelings of anxiety.

By approaching the topic of screening with sensitivity and discretion, you can help to reduce its potential emotional and psychological impact on women who feel uncomfortable about the Cervical Screening Test and possible outcomes.

Addressing concerns about results

After the test, your patient is likely to have concerns about the implications of an HPV-positive result. You can help reduce these concerns by explaining the next steps, and answering all questions clearly and sensitively.

Providing results to women

As a test provider, the result of a woman’s Cervical Screening Test will be sent to you, usually within two-three weeks of the appointment.

As it is your responsibility to ensure your patient receives her result, you should explain whether she will need to call you to get her result, or whether you will contact her when the result arrives.

It is important that your system ensures that every woman is informed of her result.

You should also emphasise to your patients that you will provide the result, not the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) or the NSW Cervical Screening Program (NSW CSP).

Do you have a screening reminder system?

Having a reminder system or tagging patient files will help you keep track of which patients are due for a Cervical Screening Test. Remember, every appointment you have with a woman aged 25-74 is an opportunity to ask whether she is up to date with her cervical screening.

*In December 2017, the cervical screening test replaced the Pap test as the method of screening women to prevent cervical cancer in Australia.