Australian women pay more for disease test

Australian women still pay extra for a more efficient cervical disease test which costs nothing in the UK, USA and parts of New Zealand.

The National Cervical Screening Renewal Program is reviewing the conventional Pap smear and it could be replaced as standard with the ThinPrep Pap test as soon as next year.

Currently Australian women must request and pay for the ThinPrep Pap test which is clinically proven to be 27 percent more effective at detecting high-grade lesions than the traditional Pap smear.

Hologic Communications Manager Kylie Whetton said that detecting high-grade lesions early was crucial as they could typically be treated before they became invasive cancers.

“The ThinPrep system is a major advance in cervical screening and it has the potential to considerably improve Australia’s cervical screening program,” she said.

“We very much look forward to the day where the ThinPrep Pap test becomes the standard of care for cervical screening in Australia.”

Of the Australian women who do have two-yearly Pap smears around one-fifth currently choose to have the ThinPrep Pap test.

A Cancer Council Australia spokesperson said the objective of the renewal program was to ensure all Australian women had access to the most effective cervical screening program possible.

The focus would be on new technologies such as the ThinPrep Pap test as well as the starting age for cervical screening and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

2 Responses to “Australian women pay more for disease test”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    What Australia needs to do is immediately change their program which is now more than a decade behind the evidence, no woman needs 26 or more pap tests, it’s excessive and harmful. Over-screening greatly increases the risk of a false positive and potentially harmful over-treatment and excess biopsies for no additional benefit over 5 yearly testing. We are some of the most over-screened and over-treated women in the world. The Finns and Dutch have evidence based programs that are for the benefit of women, not vested and political interests. Over-treatment is highly lucrative for vested interests…Doctors, specialists, labs, pathologists etc. The Finns have a 7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30 to 60 and they have the lowest rates of cc in the world and send far fewer women for colposcopy/biopsy. Over-treatment, especially cone biopsies and laser treatments, can damage the cervix and lead to cervical stenosis, infertility, cervical incompetence, premature babies, c-sections etc. The Dutch have the same 7 pap test program, but will shortly move with the evidence and introduce 5 hrHPV primary triage tests offered at ages 30, 35, 40, 50 and 60 and ONLY the roughly 5% of women who are HPV positive and at risk from cc will be offered a 5 yearly pap test. Those negative, the vast majority, will be offered the HPV program or they can test themselves with the Delphi Screener, (already being used in The Netherlands, Singapore, Italy and elsewhere) those HPV negative and confidently monogamous or no longer sexually active can forget all further testing. This program better protects all women, HPV positive and negative. This program will see invasive pap testing, false positives and over-treatment plummet, and it’s more likely to prevent these rare cancers. In my opinion, with no scrutiny of our program and no respect for informed consent, our program, always excessive, has been allowed to fall way behind the evidence, it suits vested interests, but is a lousy deal for women. We need an urgent enquiry to find out why this program has been allowed to continue unchanged for so long and a new program needs to be implemented which is in the interests of women. At the moment we’re spending millions to harm and worry vast numbers of women, most of whom are HPV negative and not even at risk from cc…they cannot benefit from pap testing, biopsies or anything else. The Delphi Bioscience website contains information on the self-test HPV option, the Delphi Screener. The new Dutch program is at the website of The Heath Council of the Netherlands. Women should lobby the Govt for hrHPV primary triage testing and demand access to the Delphi Screener. As a low risk woman, my risk of cc is near zero, the risks were too high for me and I have always refused testing…an informed decision. No country in the world has shown a benefit pap testing those under 30, but this group produce the most false positives. HPV primary testing is not recommended either, as 40% would test positive, almost all will clear the virus by age 30 when just 5% will remain HPV positive, it is this fairly small group of women who have a small chance of benefiting from a 5 yearly pap test. Population pap testing has been turned into a highly profitable industry in the over-treatment of CIN. It is disgraceful that our doctors have remained silent and allowed this program to remain in place and even worse, they collect target payments from the govt. for pap testing…their first duty should be to us, not the Govt and this harmful program.

  2. Nik says:

    I seriously cannot believe that they want to make standard the antiquated ThinPrep Test when other countries are moving towards HPV tests. Why is Australia so behind the rest of the world?

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