Cervical screening involves a simple test to check for human papillomavirus (HPV) – a
common infection that causes almost all cervical cancers – before it has the chance to develop into abnormal or cancerous cells.
Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program mean that all eligible screeners – women
and people with a cervix aged 25 to 74 – are able to choose to have a Cervical Screening Test either by:
taking their own sample, using a simple swab (self-collection)
having a healthcare provider collect your sample from the cervix using a speculum and swab.
Both options are:
free under Medicare – so if your healthcare provider bulk bills for consultations, the whole thing is free
accessed through a healthcare provider
accurate and safe ways to collect a sample for a Cervical Screening Test.
When you opt to collect your own sample, you will be provided with a swab by your healthcare provider and instructions on how to do the test. The sample can be taken in a private space (behind a curtain or in the bathroom).
The Cervical Screening Test self-collect option has the potential to reach never-screened and under-screened patients, overcoming barriers to cervical screening by providing a more culturally appropriate and sensitive screening option.
Talk to your healthcare provider about which screening option is right for you.