If you are between the ages of 18 and 70 years and have ever been sexually active, you should have a Pap smear every two years. A Pap smear can find early warning signs long before cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) develops.
If women have regular Pap smears, 90% of cervical cancers can be prevented. A Pap smear can detect changes in your cervix and you can be monitored by your doctor to prevent it developing into cancer.
Even if you no longer have periods, or you haven’t had sex for years, you still need to have a Pap smear. At age 70, consult with your doctor about whether you need to continue to have regular Pap smears.
For more information on questions around screening, awareness and understanding please see the Pap smear frequently asked questions.
Pap Awareness Week
Pap Awareness Week occurs every year in the first week of May. This week includes many events and activities that highlight the importance of Pap smears.
How to book an appointment?
If you wish to make an appointment for a Pap smear please see the Women's health services for a list of providers.
You will be automatically reminded when your two-yearly Pap smear or other follow-up cervical cancer related tests are overdue. For more information on this service, see the Pap smear reminder service frequently asked questions.
What do my Pap smear results mean?
Not sure what your Pap smear result means? An abnormal Pap smear simply means that some your cells in your cervix are different to others. Your doctor will determine how to monitor your condition based on your age, previous Pap smear results and the degree of your abnormality.
It is important to remember that just because you have an abnormal result, does not mean you have cervical cancer.
Your doctor may ask you to have a follow-up Pap smear or refer you to a gynaecologist for a colposcopy (a biopsy) to investigate your condition more closely. Once it is identified that you need to treat your abnormality, three treatment options are available – wire loop excision, laser and cone biopsy. More information on these treatment options including what to expect, see the treatment options page.