The program offers a free Pap test every two years to women between the ages of 18 and 70. Cancer Council Australia advises eligible women to participate in the program.

Following an independent review of the program, a number of changes will come into effect from late 2017. The changes recognise the introduction in 2006 of a vaccine against specific strains of the human papilloma virus, which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

Information on the renewed program is available on the Australian Government Department of Health’s screening website.

Cancer Council Australia supports the changes to the program; the Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Screening and Immunisation Committee, A/Professor Karen Canfell, led the independent evidence review. The review (submitted to the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee) concluded that an HPV test every five years is more effective, just as safe and was estimated to result in over 20% reduction in incidence and mortality from cervical cancer in Australian women compared with the program it will replace.

For more information on cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination, call the Cancer Council 13 11 20.