Hi Gals, its Nurse Selena here, hope your all having a cracker of a day! X
Have you heard about the changes that have occurred to pap smear screening in Australia?
As of December 2017, Cervical cancer screening has changed from two yearly pap testing to five yearly HPV testing. Instead of a pap smear, it’s now known as a Cervical Screening Test ‘CST’. Although the physical examination procedure is basically unchanged, pathologists will now be looking for HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), the virus that causes cervical cancer in 99% of cases. The test will be less often, but more accurate. Cervical screening as a routine test is available for 25-74 years and will now be performed only every 5 years. This sounds like a long time, but it takes 5-10 years for the virus to cause cancerous changes.
The new test is more accurate and expected to reduce cervical cancer rates by up to 30%.
While many countries are considering the change, Australia will be one of the first in the world to change from pap test to HPV tests.
In a nutshell the changes are as follows:
You’ll be tested every five years, instead of every two years
You won’t start having tests until you’re 25 years old, previously 18 years old
Tests will now continue until you’re 74, instead of stopping when you turn 69
For some, but not all women, self-collection using vaginal swabs will be an option
How is the Cervical Screening Test different to the Pap test?
A Pap test (or Pap smear) looked for cells in the cervix that had changed or become abnormal. The Cervical Screening Test looks for HPV – the infection that causes these cell changes. The physical examination procedure is exactly the same as the pap test.
Do you still have to have the test if you’re HPV vaccinated?
Yes. Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine, you could still get it, and should be tested.
The vaccine, which is given to girls and boys aged between 12 and 14 as part of Australia’s National HPV Vaccination Program, protects against the most common types of HPV — but not all.
More about HPV…….
HPV: the cancer-causing virus
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection
Up to 80% of adults will be infected at some point
More than 120 HPV viruses are known to infect skin and mucous membranes
Many carriers do not know they are infected and fight off the infection without symptoms
Some HPV types cause warts — such as flat warts, genital warts, and plantar warts
20 HPV virus types cause cancers including cervical, head and neck, penile, vulva and vagina, anal, and skin
Not everyone infected with those HPV types develops cancer
Most of those cancer cases are caused by HPV16 or HPV18
In 2002, WHO estimated HPV caused 5.2 per cent of all cancers worldwide