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Cervical Screening Test

What’s the difference between a Cervical Screening Test and Pap Smear?

At the end of 2017, the Pap Smear test was replaced with a more accurate test called the Cervical Screening Test. In the new test, the sample is collected in the same way as the Pap smear – by taking a small sample of cells from the woman’s cervix. However, the new test is processed in a different way.  The old ‘pap smear’ looked for abnormal cell changes, which could develop into cancer. The new Cervical Screening Test looks for the cause of the abnormal cells: the human papillomavirus (HPV). This cervical screening is a fantastic development for Australian women, and it improves early detection of cervical cancer.

Cervical Screening Test Results

If your test results show you do not have a HPV infection, then you will receive a reminder for another test in five years.

You might also have a result of “return to screen in twelve months”.  This is because you have a HPV infection, which is likely to be cleared by your body within 12 months.  Re-testing in 12 months will determine the next steps.

In some cases, your results might show further action is required.

If you receive an “unsatisfactory test result” this doesn’t mean there is something wrong.  It means the laboratory cannot read your sample, which might be because the number of cells collected is too small.  An unsatisfactory test result means you will need to come back for a repeat test in six to twelve weeks. 

In some cases, women receive the advice “refer to a specialist”.  This is because the test detected a type of HPV infection that requires further investigation with a ‘colposcopy’.

While it’s important you follow the instructions of your doctor if you received this test result, please don’t panic.  This result does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer.  Cervical cancer takes many years to develop and is a rare outcome of HPV infection.

When do I need a Cervical Screening Test?

If you have any concerns about your test results, or if it’s been more than 2 years from your last pap smear then you need to book in for a cervical screening test.

Our reception team can help with your questions and book an appointment with Dr Flynn.  You can call us on (07) 5564 8011 or use the button below.

Ask your GP for a referral to Dr Michael Flynn - print this Referral Request and hand it to your GP.

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