Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Sadly, over half of eligible Victorians aged 25 to 34 are missing out on lifesaving cervical screening. You don’t have to be old to get cervical cancer; cervical screening is the best way to protect yourself and look after your health for the future.
Cervical Screening starts at 25 years of age
It is advised that regular cervical screenings begin from 25 years of age, and then once every 5 years until 74 years of age. The test screens for HPV ( human papillomavirus) in the cervix. If HPV is left untreated it can lead to cell changes that may develop into cervical cancer. It is vital that these changes are found early because they can often be successfully treated.
Why not start earlier?
Recent research has shown that having cervical screenings every five years, beginning at 25 is safer and more effective than having more regular Pap tests from the age of 18.
Do I need the screening if I have had the HPV Vaccine?
Yes, you still need to be screened because the vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of HPV.
“The Vaccine protects against up to 9 types of HPV, including those that cause around 70% of cervical cancers. Since the HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, vaccinated women still need to have regular cervical screening.”
What happens during a Cervical Screening Test?
Having a cervical screening test is like having a Pap test. While lying on your back with your knees bent, the doctor inserts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina so they can see the cervix. The doctor then uses a brush to take a sample of cells from your cervix.
The sample is put into a tube and sent to a laboratory to be analysed. Your doctor will contact you to talk about the results.
Understanding your results and what happens next
Your doctor will contact you with the results of your screening. Your results could indicate the following:
Your results could indicate the following:
- You don’t have an HPV infection. You don’t need another cervical screening test for another 5 years. You will be sent a reminder from the National Cervical Screening Program.
- You have an HPV infection. Your body will probably get rid of the HPV by itself. But you will need another cervical screening test in 12 months. It takes 10 to 15 years for cervical cancer to develop. If the second test is clear, you won’t need another test for 5 years. If you still have the HPV infection after 12 months, you may need to see a specialist.
- You have a certain type of HPV, or abnormal cells were found. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist for more tests. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer.
- You have an unsatisfactory test result. The laboratory could not read your sample. You will have to repeat the test in 6 to 12 weeks. It does not mean something is wrong.
Book your cervical screening with High Street Medical Clinic
At our Women’s Health Clinic in Prahran, we are advocates of supporting and promoting healthcare for women. In doing so, our team of doctors are experts in delivering women-centric healthcare services to help detect early signs and symptoms of diseases to help you get the right treatment at the right time.
Preventive healthcare remains the cornerstone vision of High Street Medical Clinic, and we encourage all women to actively participate in their wellbeing. To start your preventive healthcare with us, you can book an online appointment or give us a call at (03) 9510 5500 for further discussion.
Do I need the cervical screening even if I am not sexually active?
Yes, you still need to be screened. Cervical cancer can take 10 to 15 years to develop. So if you have ever been sexually active (with a male or female partner) you need to be screened.
Why do I need to be screened for cervical cancer if I have had the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine protects against up to 9 types of HPV, including those that cause around 70% of cervical cancers. Since the HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, vaccinated women still need to have regular cervical screening.
Is the cervical screening test painful?
This test is not painful for most people.
Does cervical screening pick up all cervical cancers?
The screening will pick up all cancers that are caused by HPV – and this accounts for 99% of all cervical cancers.
How long will it take to get my results?
Your results will be available in 7-10 days.