Understanding barriers to screening

Barriers may influence a patient in their decision or ability to participate in cervical screening. They can relate to the patient, healthcare provider or the health system. This toolkit helps health providers address these barriers.

Under-screened and never-screened people

The National Cervical Screening Program recommends cervical screening every 5 years for women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years who have ever had any sexual contact (with anyone, even of the same gender), HPV vaccinated or unvaccinated. The National Cancer Screening Register invites eligible people to take part in screening.

Under-screened and never-screened people are most at risk of cervical cancer. More than 70% of Australians who develop cervical cancer are under-screened or have never screened.

Under-screened people are those who are overdue for cervical screening by at least 2 years.

Be mindful of the barriers many under-screened or never-screened people face in relation to cervical screening.

Some of these barriers affect the patient directly, while others affect healthcare providers and the system as a whole. 

Date last updated:

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