Early Warning

The Pap smear – a simple test that can save your life.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable of all cancers. Despite this, each year in Australia more than 300 women die from it.

But the good news is, up to 90 per cent of the most common type of cervical cancer can be prevented if cell changes are detected and treated early.

The best way to detect early warning signs is to have regular Pap smears.

What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a really simple procedure in which a number of cells are collected from your cervix and sent to a laboratory where they’re tested for anything unusual.

Pap smears are a way to find any early warning signs of cervical cancer, or signs that cancer might develop in the future.

It only takes a few minutes, it doesn’t hurt, and it can save your life.

In 1991, Commonwealth and State and Territory governments introduced the National Cervical Screening Program. Once you have a Pap smear, you are entered on a registry, which sends you out a reminder to have a Pap smear every two years

If you want more information about Pap smears or cervical cancer, speak to your doctor or call 13 15 56.

Did You Know . . .?
If you are over 18 and have ever had sex, you should have a Pap smear every two years, even if you’re no longer having sex.

Your doctor may recommend that you have more frequent Pap smears if your last one showed cell changes, or if you’ve experienced problems like bleeding or pain.

Pap Smears do not check for other problems in your reproductive system, and they do not check for STIs.

You can get a Pap smear from your GP, your local Aboriginal Medical Service or health centre, or a family planning clinic.

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