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Expert committee recommends new test for preventing cervical cancer

Cancer Australia welcomes today’s recommendations by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) to establish the world’s first national cervical screening program that uses a primary human papillomavirus (HPV) test to help prevent cervical cancer.

The new cervical screening test detects HPV infection, which we now know to be the first step in developing cervical cancer.

The recommendations for the renewed cervical cancer screening program, which are based on the best available current scientific evidence, propose that Australian women aged 25 – 74 years, irrespective of having had a HPV vaccination, have a HPV test every five years to help prevent cervical cancer. MSAC also determined that a HPV test every five years can save more lives, and women will need fewer tests, than in the current two-yearly Pap test program.                                   

“Since the commencement of the highly successful National Cervical Screening Program, the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer has halved. The independent advisory committee review of the evidence indicates that this new approach will further increase women’s chances of preventing cervical cancer and is just as safe.” said Professor Helen Zorbas, CEO Cancer Australia.

These recommendations will now undergo extensive consultation and consideration by government. At this time women should continue to have two-yearly pap tests. 

The full MSAC recommendations are available at:

Media Contact:

Simon Thomas, Cancer Australia, Ph: (02) 9357 9401 or 0438 209 833.