Cervical cancer: most women will not have symptoms

Aboriginal women from Mount Druitt were given free education classes and cervical cancer tests.

Australian women are being encouraged to make sure they are up to date with their cervical screening test as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week.

To raise the profile of the disease the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) organised free screening sessions at the Mount Druitt sexual health clinic.

Head of Epidemiology and Health Analytics Helen Achat said cervical screening saves lifes. 

“The improved test which has been available from December 2017 is highly effective in helping prevent cervical cancer,” she said. 

“Woman are able to have this test at their local general practitioner at no cost to them.”

The Cervical Screening Test (the Pap test replacement) looks for human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus in women and men. 

HPV that does not clear up can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, which may eventually lead to cervical cancer.

Most women with HPV infection will not have symptoms. 

By detecting HPV in women who are not aware they have the infection, cervical screening prevents cervical cancer and saves lives.

You need a cervical screening test if: 

  • you are aged between 25 and 74
  • have ever been sexually active
  • you are HPV-vaccinated or not