Cervical cancer screening later still safe, Cancer Council study says.

Confident: Megan Smith says changes to screening program are safe.
Confident: Megan Smith says changes to screening program are safe.

A CANCER Council study has found that starting cervical cancer screening at 25 is safe, Hunter GPs and practice nurses heard this week.

The findings of the study support the Australian government’s renewed cervical screening program, which recommends women start screening for cervical cancer at age 25, rather than 18 to 20.

Megan Smith, of the Cancer Council NSW, presented the research in Newcastle on Wednesday. She said most cervical cancers were caused by HPV infections.

“When the screening program changes in December, women under 25 will have been offered HPV vaccination when they were aged under 15, and we know that the HPV vaccine is very effective when it is given at that age,” Ms Smith said. “We can confidently say that the starting age of 25 years is safe.

“The best prevention for cervical cancer in women under 25 is HPV vaccination, and most women under 25 have been vaccinated.”

It was “very important” that all women started screening when they turned 25.