Cervical screening activity

 

For the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), activity data are available for the number of screening tests performed within a specified time period.

Explore the latest data in the visualisation below.

Screening tests performed

  • In the September quarter 2022, 107,000 cervical screening tests were performed for people aged 25–74.

Trends in cervical screening activity

Between the March quarter 2018 and the September quarter 2022:

  • The number of screening tests in 2018 and 2019 fluctuated quarterly between 350,000 and 430,000 as most people who had screened under the previous program were due for their first primary human papillomavirus (HPV) test 2 years after their last Papanicolaou smear (Pap test).
  • Screening tests, particularly in 2020, 2021 and 2022, were mainly comprised of people overdue for their first HPV test, as well as people who were newly eligible for cervical screening, mostly due to them turning 25.
  • The number of cervical screening tests performed in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were expected to be lower than in 2018 and 2019 and fluctuated quarterly between 101,000 and 237,000 screening tests. This was due to the program changeover from 2-yearly Pap tests to 5-yearly cervical screening tests in December 2017, and irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions.

The impact of COVID-19 on the NCSP cannot be quantified without further years of data. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s cancer screening programs, see the AIHW Cancer screening page and the AIHW report Cancer screening and COVID-19 in Australia.

Figure 1: National Cervical Screening Program activity data, March quarter 2018 to September quarter 2022

This data visualisation shows monthly national activity data for the National Cervical Screening Program, from January 2018 to September 2022. The column graph shows the number of screening tests by year and can be filtered by year, by quarter and by month. The second tab shows the activity data in table form and can be filtered by year, by quarter, by month and by state and territory.

References

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) (2021) Cancer screening and COVID-19 in Australia, catalogue number CAN 137, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 6 December 2022.

AIHW (2022) Cancer screening, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 6 December 2022.