One in 10 plan to put off Pap smear

In May 2014 an expert panel recommended moving from the traditional two-yearly Pap test to a five-yearly primary HPV DNA test as part of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) renewal.

Experts are now concerned women mistakenly think undergoing the HPV test will be more comfortable than taking a sample for a Pap smear.

Other proposed changes to the program include raising the age of initiation from 18 to 25 years, with an exit test at 74, and a recommendation to offer self-testing in a clinical setting for the 30–40% of women who, for cultural or other reasons, avoid screening.

If adopted by government, the regime will be a world first and begin in 2016.

However, a recent survey of 900 women commissioned by the Cancer Institute NSW found that 10% of women who were made aware of the proposed changes and were due for a Pap test in the next 12 months said that they would probably delay their next test until the renewal.