Cervical cancer prevention for health professionals

Cervical cancer is a worldwide health issue and is one of the most preventable of all cancers.

Australia has one of the lowest rates of cervical cancer in the world. This is largely due to the success of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) (external site), introduced in 1991 as a joint Australian, State and Territory Government initiative. In Australia, all women aged 25 to 74 years who have ever been sexually active are encouraged to have a Cervical Screening Test every 5 years.

    WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP)

    The Western Australian Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP) is a state component of the NCSP. It is responsible for the management and operation of the statewide cervical screening program.

    The WACCPP aims to reduce the incidence and mortality attributable to cervical cancer in WA. The program achieves this by supporting healthcare providers and implementing appropriate strategies to maximise women's participation in cervical screening. 

    Subscribe to the WACCPP’s Healthcare Provider e-Newsletter for the latest research and updates to cervical screening, including education and training opportunities, and tools and resources to assist healthcare providers in engaging with patients about cervical screening. 

    Clinical management of cervical screening

    For guidance on managing National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the NCSP website (external site).

    More information on COVID-19 is available online , or by calling the Coronavirus Information Helpline on 13 COVID (13 268 43).

    Self-collection

    Self-collection of vaginal samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing (external site) is available under the renewed NCSP. 

    Click here to view the NCSP Self-Collection Policy (external site).

    Self-collection eligibility criteria: Self-collection can be offered to women who are aged 30 years or older and have either:

    • never had a Cervical Screening Test (or Pap smear) or
    • are at least two years overdue for cervical screening.

    Self-collection may also be considered for eligible women who are pregnant.

    Efficacy of a self-collect test: Evidence (external site) demonstrates effective HPV sensitivity of a self-collect test.

    Management guidelines for self-collection: View the ‘Self-collected vaginal samples’ chapter (external site) of the NCSP Clinical Guidelines.

    Sampling instrument: A flocked swab (Copan FLOQswab 552C – red top) is used to collect the vaginal sample.

    Taking the sample: How to take your own HPV test(external site) a guide for women. Self-collection of HPV samples: a guide for GP’s video (external site)

    More information and support

    In Australia, the processing of self-collected vaginal samples for HPV testing under the NCSP is currently supported through three accredited pathology laboratories. These are:

    Ways to increase cervical screening participation

    Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Routine cervical screening (along with the HPV vaccination) provides a woman with the best protection against cervical cancer.

    Healthcare providers are encouraged to support cervical screening in the following ways:

    More information

    Western Australian Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP)

    Phone: (08) 6458 1740
    Email: cervicalscreening@health.wa.gov.au
    Fax: (08) 6458 1755
    Address: Level 1, Agnes Walsh House, King Edward Memorial Hospital 374 Bagot Rd, Subiaco 6008

    Last reviewed: 09-07-2021
    Produced by

    WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program