Cancer screening involves testing for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in people without obvious symptoms. The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) is one of Australia’s 3 population-based cancer screening programs. It aims to reduce cervical cancer cases, illness and deaths by detecting precancerous abnormalities before any potential progression to cervical cancer.

The NCSP is a highly successful public health initiative in Australia, halving cervical cancer incidence and mortality since it was introduced in 1991. This has been achieved through organised, population-based cervical screening to detect precancerous changes, allowing treatment before any progression to cervical cancer, thereby preventing this disease.

A renewed NCSP was introduced on 1 December 2017 that included a change from 2-yearly Pap tests for the target age group 20–69 to 5-yearly Cervical Screening Tests (CST) for the target age group 25–74. A CST is a human papillomavirus (HPV) test, followed by a liquid based cytology (LBC) test if oncogenic (cancer-causing) HPV is found.

Three years after its commencement, this is the second report to present data for the renewed NCSP. This report presents data against 18 of the 20 performance indicators that will be used to monitor the NCSP going forward.

Data included in this report are for the calendar years 2018 and 2019.

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