Turning point in cervical screening tests

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Cervical screening tests will be made easier and less invasive with the introduction of self-collection tests for younger ages from 1 July 2022.

Self-collection allows women to use a simple swab, similar to a COVID swab, to take a screening sample themselves instead of having a traditional cervical screening test completed by a clinician. It gives them more control and choice, said Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, the Hon Marise Payne, who made the announcement today.

Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“From 1 July, Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to offer the ‘game-changing’ self-collect option through our National Cervical Screening Program,” Senator Payne said.

“Currently, self-collection is only available to women aged 30 years or over, who have never screened, or are two or more years overdue. By giving women the choice of how their screening is done, we are making the process easier, more comfortable and less invasive.”

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, from 8 to 14 November, continues the theme ‘time to catch up’; a reminder to Australian women to do the screening test they may have been putting off.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt, said the move was expected to improve overall screening participation rates, .

The self-collect tests will be accessed through health care providers, including GPs, ensuring experts continue to play a critical role in supporting patients Minister for Health Greg Hunt said.

He added the move will improve overall screening participation rates, especially in under-screened populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse women.

“Self-collected samples are as safe, effective and as accurate as clinician-collected tests,” Minister Hunt said.

“Our Government is expanding the eligibility for cervical screening self-collection through a $3.8 million investment in the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS).”

The National Cervical Screening Program promotes routine screening with cervical screening tests covered by Medicare every five years for people aged 25 to 74 years.

Main picture: Australian Medical Association.

 

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