Australia now offers ‘game-changing’ self-test for cervical cancer. How does it work and why is screening important for women?

Australia now offers ‘game-changing’ self-test for cervical cancer. How does it work and why is screening important for women?

Angelica
Author
Angelica
Author

Angelica Silva

42 days ago at 6:55 PM

In a major update to the National Cervical Screening Program, a self-collection method aims to revolutionize the way women react to cervical cancer testing.

In a major update to the National Cervical Screening Program, a self-collection method aims to revolutionize the way women react to cervical cancer testing.

This makes Australia the first country to offer self-testing swabs to women due for their screening.

Since it was introduced in 1991, the national program has helped halve the rates of cervical cancer.

However, in recent years, the rates of cervical cancer in Australia haven't budged much.

You can now self-test for cervical cancer

In 2017, the human papillomavirus (HPV) test replaced the pap smear.

Both tests look and work the same: an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina.

Ask any woman who has undergone the test and they might tell you the experience was uncomfortable, unpleasant or embarrassing.

Cue the self-test.

Rather than a health professional doing the test, all women eligible for a cervical screening test can now collect their own sample.

How does the self-test work?

If you choose to do a self-test, all it takes is a visit to your GP, who will provide you with a screening kit.

After receiving instructions from your doctor, you will be shown to a private area within the medical practice.

There, you can take the swab yourself, without your doctor present.

Health expert Liz Ham says the procedure is far less invasive than the HPV test.

"You will be given a swab that you place into the vagina. You just turn it a number of times to collect the cells inside the vagina," she said.

"After that, you take it out and give it back to your doctor."

Can I take the test at home?

Ms Ham says you cannot take the test at home. However, you will still be taking it in private at the medical practice.

Completing the test within a medical practice rather than at home allows for guidance from your GP, if required.

It also removes barriers such as forgetting to take the test, or having to remember to post it.

Who is eligible?

Anyone aged 25 – 74 with a cervix is eligible to self-collect their own sample.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman's cervix — the entrance to the womb from the vagina.

It happens when there are changes in some cells lining the cervix.

Sometimes these abnormal cells grow and multiply, and can develop into cancer.

Why is screening important?

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, according to Healthdirect.

Most cervical cancers occur in women who have never screened or do not screen regularly.

At the core of self-testing is the goal to increase screening participation rates, particularly among groups who may be under-screened.

Jean Hailes for Women's Health says these groups include:

  • Women in rural and remote areas
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse groups
  • Women facing social and economic disadvantage
  • Victims of sexual trauma and violence

"This gives these women, who didn't feel comfortable getting the test, a choice for how they would like it to be done," Ms Ham said.

Australia on track to eliminate cervical cancer by 2028

Research from Cancer Council NSW shows Australia is on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.

Ms Ham says if vaccination and screening coverage are maintained at their current rates, Australia is looking at eliminating the cancer by 2028.

"Globally, we're looking at 2035," she said.


7 comments

Last activity by emily faye

Anonymous

E
emily faye

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0 Replies
E
emily faye

I have been suffering from Herpes for the past 1 years and 8 months, and ever since then I have been taking series of treatment but there was no improvement until I came across testimonies of Dr. Silver on how he has been curing different people from different diseases all over the world, then I contacted him as well. After our conversation he sent me the medicine which I took according .to his instructions. When I was done taking the herbal medicine I went for a medical checkup and to my greatest surprise I was cured from Herpes. My heart is so filled with joy. If you are suffering from Herpes or any other disease you can contact Dr. Silver today on this Email address: drsilverhealingtemple@gmail.com or Whatsapp +2348120513902

0 Replies
S
Susan Belligham

I know we all struggle with different chronic disease, When you put God first soon enough you will find solution. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 cervical cancer (adenocarcinoma) at age 36. I was a single mother with two children, ages 6 and 8. I had abnormal Pap smears starting 8 years prior, when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was never told that I had HPV, even though I did. After each abnormal Pap test result, I would have a LEEP and colposcopy. I was cured naturally with the use of herbal medicine from (https://dr-ofua-ofure-herbal-healing-home.business.site) whatsapp ( + 2 3 4 7 0 5 9 4 9 7 9 6 9) or email ( thegreatherbalhealinghome@gmail.com)

0 Replies
M
Muhammad Sameer

If it's true than it's really a life changer for many people.

0 Replies
Amy
Amy Zhong

Very excited for what the future holds. We are getting closer and closer to defeating cancer.

0 Replies
Evan
Evan Stanton

What awesome news! This could be the next big thing and could be a starting point for self tests for many other cancers as well.

0 Replies
Clare
Clare James

Hopefully this will come to the US soon, this could be truly groundbreaking in the cancer community!

0 Replies

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