New test to tackle cervical cancer

Pap smear screening for cervical cancer in Australia is set to be replaced over the next two years with a DNA test that women will need to have only half as often.

A Federal Government expert committee has released updated guidelines recommending the scrapping of Pap smear tests, which women aged 18 to 69 are told to have every two years.

Instead, women would be screened every five years using newer diagnostic technology that looks for the cancer-causing human papilloma virus, or HPV.

Although the Pap smear program introduced 23 years ago has been credited for saving thousands of lives, HPV testing is considered more accurate and cost-effective, particularly since the HPV vaccine was introduced for schoolgirls and young women.

The West Australian

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