A Pap test does not test for cervical cancer, but looks for unhealthy changes in the cervix. If unhealthy changes are left untreated it may progress to cancer.
It is very important that all Aboriginal women who have ever been sexually active have Pap tests every two years between the ages of 18 and 70.
You should have a Pap test even if you feel healthy. This is because cervical cancer and unhealthy changes in the cervix usually have no symptoms. The Pap test is not perfect, but it is the best test there is to find any unhealthy changes to the cervix.
Where can I go to have a Pap test?
- Your doctor
- An Aboriginal health service
- Some women's and community health centres
- Well women's services at hospitals
Is there a cost?
Women do not need to pay for the Pap test, however doctors may charge their standard consultation fee for the appointment. Some doctors, clinics and health centres offer 'bulk billing', which means there are no out-of-pocket expenses for women.
To find clinics near you that bulk bill, visit our online Pap test provider directory.
What about the results?
Ask your doctor, nurse or Aboriginal health worker when and how you can get the results. Remember, most Pap test results are normal, but you need to have the test to make sure.
For more information please check out the following useful links:
- Aboriginal brochure: Help Protect Yourself from Cervical Cancer
- Aboriginal brochure: What if My Pap Test is Abnormal?
- What is the human papillomavirus (HPV) and why is the HPV vaccine important?
- How is a Pap test done?
- What about the results?
Artwork by Kahli Luttrell