Are you up to date with your cervical screening?

Did you know, most people who develop cervical cancer either don’t screen regularly or have never been screened?
If you are a woman or a person with a cervix, between the ages of 25-74 years, a Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years is your best protection against cervical cancer.
A Cervical Screening Test is used to look for human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the virus that causes most abnormal cervical cell changes and almost all cervical cancers. In the early stages of cervical cancer there are often no signs or symptoms, which is why regular cervical screening is important.
There are two ways to have a Cervical Screening Test. You can choose to:
  • Collect your own sample (also called self-collection); or
  • have a healthcare provider collect your sample
 

Your cervical screening options

With two options available for cervical screening, women and people with a cervix are reminded to prioritise their health by booking their Cervical Screening Test.

Collecting your own sample

  • A sample collected from the vagina
  • Checks for HPV
  • Does not collect cervical cells to check for abnormal cell changes
  • If HPV is found, you will need to return to have a sample collected by a GP,  healthcare provider or specialist to check for abnormal cervical cell changes.

How do I collect my own sample?

  • Your healthcare provider will explain how to do the test and give you a sampling swab
  • A private place within the healthcare setting will be provided for you to collect your sample
  • Using the swab, you will collect a sample from the vagina
  • Your healthcare provider will send the sample to the laboratory for testing

Having a healthcare provider collect your sample

  • A sample collected from the cervix containing cervical cells
  • Checks for HPV
  • If HPV is found, the same sample is checked for abnormal cervical cell changes

How will my healthcare provider collect my sample?

  • The CST will be done  in a private and confidential space
  • Your healthcare provider will insert a speculum into the vagina so that they can see the cervix
  • A small soft brush is then used to collect a sample of cervical cells
  • Your healthcare provider will send the sample to the laboratory for testing
Any healthcare provider who offers cervical screening (GPs, nurses, gynaecologists) can help you decide which collection option is best for you. Visit Healthy WA to find a healthcare provider that meets your needs.

Frequently asked questions about cervical screening

If it is your first time screening, or if it’s been some time since your last screening, you may have some questions about the process.

1.      Who should have cervical screening

All women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years, who have ever had any sexual contact, should have regular cervical screening.
This includes those who:
  • feel well and have no symptoms
  • are pregnant
  • have been vaccinated against HPV
  • are going through menopause
  • no longer have periods
  • have not had sexual contact in a long time
  • have only ever had one sexual partner
  • are living with an intellectual and/or physical disability
  • only have sex with women
  • are transgender, gender diverse or non-binary and have a cervix
A Cervical Screening Test is for those who are well without any unusual signs or symptoms. If you have any symptoms, such as abnormal bleeding or discharge, you should see your GP or healthcare provider as soon as possible.

2.      Where can I go for a Cervical Screening Test?

Most general practices offer cervical screening. There are also several healthcare providers that specialise in women’s health and sexual health. It is important to find a healthcare provider you trust at a service where you feel comfortable. You can request a female healthcare provider when you make your appointment. Some services offer bulk billed appointments, some may not. Ask about any costs when you make your appointment.
A list of the most common places where you can book a CST are below:
  • GP surgery
  • Local Medical Centre
  • Sexual Health Quarters
  • Aboriginal Health Service
  • Women’s Health Centre
  • Community Health Centre
Visit Where can I have a Cervical Screening Test? on Healthy WA to find one that meets your needs.

3.      I’ve been vaccinated for HPV, do I need cervical screening?

Even if you have received the HPV vaccine, if you are aged 25 to 74 and have a cervix, it’s still important that you have a Cervical Screening Test every five years.
While the HPV vaccine will protect you against several types of HPV, including the main types linked to cervical cancer, it does not protect against them all. Taking part in regular cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. Look after your health, make sure you’re up to date with your cervical screening.
For further insights and information about cervical screening, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions list on the At Your Cervix website.
Contact your chosen healthcare provider to arrange your Cervical Screening Test today.

Find out more

For more information about self-collection: