Statistics and Indicators

Cervical cancer screening


    • The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) aims to prevent cervical cancer with regular testing. The program was introduced in 1991 and is one of Australia’s three population-based cancer screening programs.1
    • In December 2017, a renewed NCSP was introduced which included a change from 2-year Pap tests for the target age group 20-69 to 5-yearly Cervical Screening Tests (CST) for the target age group 25-74. While the Pap test used to look for cell changes in the cervix, the CST looks for human papillomavirus (HPV), a common infection spread through sexual contact, which can lead to those changes. Given these screening changes, the 2018–2019 data cannot be compared to previous years. The National Immunisation Program supports the NCSP by providing free HPV vaccines to young Australians.1,2
    • Over the 2 years 2018–2019, more than 3.1 million people aged 25–74 had a screening HPV test in Australia, which equates to a participation rate of 46%.2
    • Of the 1.5 million primary screening episodes in 2019 in people aged 25–74:
      • 92% were low risk for significant cervical abnormality
      • 6% were intermediate risk for significant cervical abnormality
      • 2% were higher risk for significant cervical abnormality
      • fewer than 1% could not be assigned a risk (due to unsatisfactory or incomplete tests).2





    1. Commonwealth Department of Health. National Cervical Screening Program. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 4]. Available from:

    2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). National Cervical Screening Program monitoring report 2020. Canberra: AIHW; 2020 [cited 2021 Nov 4]. Available from:



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