When should I have Pap tests?

PapScreen Victoria recommends that all women who have ever been sexually active should have a Pap test every two years between the ages of 18 and 70, or from two years after becoming sexually active, whichever comes later.

Having a Pap test more than once every two years is unnecessary, unless your doctor advises it.

Most cases of cervical cancer take at least 10 years to develop. Any changes that are missed on one Pap test are usually picked up two years later, well before they become a problem.

If you have periods, the best time of the month to have a Pap test is mid-cycle. If you no longer have periods, any time is fine.

Pap test reminder letters 

The Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry keeps a confidential list of Pap test results for Victorian women and will send you a reminder letter when your Pap test is three months overdue, so two years and three months after your last Pap test.

If you don't attend for a Pap test after receiving the first reminder letter, the Registry will send you a second and final reminder nine months later, so three years after your last Pap test.

You can choose to have the reminder letters sent to your doctor or to your home address.

To update your contact details online visit the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry website or contact:

PO Box 161
Carlton South, VIC 3053
Phone: 03 9250 0399 

Cancer Council Helpline