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Cytology - Cervical Screening Test

Alternative Names:Cervical Screening Test (CST)
Cervical Smear for Cytology
Cervical Pap Smear
Cervical Brushing
Cervical HPV Screening
Pap Smear
Laboratory:Anatomical Pathology
Test Code:Send Away
Specimen Types:See Under Collection Instructions
Container Types:
See Under Collection Instructions
Collection & Request Instructions:

Cervical Pap smears, Cervical Liquid Based Cytology and Cervical HPV samples

All cervical screening samples are referred to the Victorian Cytology Service (VCS-Pathology) located in Carlton. Alfred Pathology Service does not process or report on cervical Pap smears, cervical liquid based cytology (eg. ThinPrep) or Cervical HPV DNA screening specimens.

Clinicians are requested to send samples directly to VCS-Pathology. Specimens are returned via mail in special Reply Paid satchels available from VCS-Pathology.

Contact VCS-Pathology on 9250 0300 for further details on transport options or to order specimen mailers and satchels. Helpful information on specimen collection and transport is provided on the VCS-Pathology web page (see

Collection kits and prepaid VCS satchels are held at the Womens Clinic (Building C) Sandringham Hospital. CST samples that arise from Sandringham ED should be directed to the Womens Clinic for packaging and transfer.

A pathology report issued by VCS is returned directly to the referring clinician. Alfred Pathology Service do not maintain records of Cervical screening results in PathNet.

Important Note on Changes to Cervical Screening from 2017

The National Cervical Screening Program is changing. Due to the relationship between persistent infection with high-risk types of HPV and the development of cervical cancer, testing for the presence of (high-risk) HPV DNA in cervical cell specimens has the potential to identify women at increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Women who test HPV-negative are at very low risk for CIN3 and cancer for at least five years. Women who are HPV-positive, HPV 16-positive or HPV 16/18-positive are associated with medium-term risk of CIN3 or cancer.

From 1 May 2017:

  • the Pap smear will be replaced with the more accurate Cervical Screening Test. The new Cervical Screening Test detects human papillomavirus (HPV) infection through PCR analysis for HPV DNA. The new screening test will be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
  • the time between screening tests will change from two to five years
  • the age at which screening starts will increase from 18 years to 25 years
  • a new National Cervical Screening Register will be established as part of the National Cancer Screening Register.
  • women aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test. Screening will cease at age 74.
  • women of any age with symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge and pain can continue to have a cervical test at any age.

The procedure for collecting the sample for HPV testing is the same as the procedure for having a Pap smear. A small sample of cells is still taken from the cervix using a swab or cervical brush.

HPV vaccinated women still require cervical screening as the HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.


Transport Instructions between Sites and/or Laboratories:See Detailed Information

Contact the VCS courier service on 9250 0300 to discuss VCS courier collection.

VCS-Pathology Details

Postal Address: Reply Paid 178 Carlton South, Victoria3053 Australia
Street Address: 265 Faraday Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053

Telephone: 1800 611 635

Facsimile: +61 3 9349 1949


Assay Frequency:Weekly
Additional Notes: