What you need to know about the cervical screening shake up

Australia's cervical screening program has been one of the nation's biggest public health success stories of the past quarter of a century.

The program's introduction in 1991 led to a 50% decrease in cervical cancer mortality rates in just 10 years. Today, Australia's cervical cancer mortality rates are among the lowest in the world. 

But recently, screening improvements have plateaued and following the development of new testing technologies, a shake-up is finally coming.

Following a long and exhaustive review, the Medical Services Advisory Committee is urging the Federal Government to embrace HPV DNA testing as the primary screening tool. 

Perhaps most significantly, it would mean women aged 25 and over would be screened every five years rather than every two. Routine Pap smears would effectively become a medical footnote.