Cervical Self Collection
As of July 1st 2022, cervical self-collection is now available across Australia for anyone over 25 years of age.
Cervical self-collection is a method of collecting a sample of cells from a cervix for cervical cancer screening. In traditional cervical cancer screening, also known as a Pap smear or Pap test, a healthcare provider collects a sample of cervical cells by inserting a speculum into the vagina and using a small brush or spatula to scrape the cervix. However, self-collection involves the person inserting a small swab into their vagina for 30 seconds to collect a sample.
This test can only be done in a health care setting. You will be directed by your nurse or doctor to do this test either behind the curtain or in a private place within the clinic. Your practitioner will talk you through the process and send away your swab on your behalf.
Self-collection is particularly useful for everyone, but particularly for those who face barriers to accessing traditional screening. It can also be more comfortable and less invasive than traditional screening.
The sample collected through self-collection is typically tested for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer (this is a very common virus). If HPV is detected, further testing may be recommended, likely another cervical screening but sometimes a colposcopy or a biopsy, to check for the presence of abnormal cells that may indicate pre-cancer or cancer.
It's important to note that self-collection may not be appropriate for everyone. Some may feel uncomfortable or unsure about collecting the sample themselves, and others may require additional testing or treatment beyond what is offered through self-collection.
It's important to talk to a healthcare provider to determine if self-collection is an appropriate option for you.
If you do not have a doctor you feel safe and comfortable with, take a look at the practitioner directory to find a tried and tested doctor recommended by someone within the Get Papped community.