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Cervical Screening Test (CST) at home ~ Self Collection

It's now so much easier than the previous 2 year PAP smear to safeguard your well-being from cervical cancer - with a simple at home test every 5 years!

In Australia, you now have the option to collect your own sample for the Cervical Screening Test (much like the Covid PCR test). 


This self-collected sample is examined for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is a prevalent STI responsible for nearly all cervical cancer cases.

Self-collection of a vaginal sample is just as effective at detecting HPV as a clinician-collected sample of the cervix.

Taking Preventive Measures into Your Own Hands:

Approximately 800 women in Australia receive a cervical cancer diagnosis annually, with around 70% of these instances affecting people who have not undergone screening or have fallen behind on their screenings.

If you are eligible, and would like to self-collect your sample, you can arrange a consultation with one of our telehealth General Practitioners. They will assess your eligibility, guide you through the simple process and send you a test request form.


No in person clinic visit required if you are eligible for self collection


Research confirms that a Cervical Screening Test using a self-collected vaginal sample delivers reliable results and comparable accuracy in HPV detection to a sample obtained by a clinician from the cervix during a speculum examination.

How to collect your own sample:

  1. Take your test request form to your local pathology collection centre to receive your swab. You’ll be provided with a private space to collect your sample or you can do it at home if you prefer.

  2. Twist the cap and remove the swab from the tube. Hold on to the cap and do not touch the end of the swab.

  3. Gently move the folds of skin around your vagina with your other hand. Insert the swab a few centimetres into your vagina. There may be a line on the swab stick that shows how far to insert the swab.

  4. Rotate the swab gently for 20 to 30 seconds.

  5. Gently remove the swab from your vagina. Push the swab completely back into the tube and give it back to the pathology collection centre, who will send your sample to a laboratory to be tested. 

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If you don't know when your last screening was, you can check at the National Screening Register 

Website: www.ncsr.gov.au

Telephone: 1800 627 701


Hours of Operation: 8am to 6pm in all Australian state and territory time zones.


As a guide, when you call they may ask you personal information to help identify you, for example first name, date of birth and Medicare identification.

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) is a world-first, digital platform developed to underpin the Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) and National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). The screening programs encourage age-eligible people to screen regularly so signs of cancer can be detected and treated early.

The NCSR has been designed to enable a single electronic record for each person participating in the programs, and provides a national electronic infrastructure for the collection, storage, analysis and reporting of screening program data. 

  • Do I need to have an IUD insertion with sedation or can I be awake?
    The choice is yours. If you have intravenous sedation, you will have a brief, light anaesthetic and have no recollection of the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home, as you can’t drive on the day of a sedation anaesthetic. Commonly, those who have an IUD insertion (or removal) with sedation are women who: Are nervous or tense about being examined or having cervical screening tests Are only recently or never sexually active Have had surgery to their cervix, such as a LLETZ procedure Have ONLY had elective Caesarean section deliveries (without labouring) Are approaching menopause Want an IUD removed, but the threads cannot be seen in the cervix If you DO opt for sedation, then you should: NOT eat any food during the 6 hours prior to your appointment Drink only water between 6 and 2 hours before your appointment Have nothing pass your lips in the 2 hours immediately before your appointment (this means no food or dring and includes smoking, lollies and chewing gum) An awake IUD insertion procedure takes about 5-10 minutes and there may be some discomfort. We advise that you take some simple pain relief (the same as what you would normally take for period pain) about 30 mins before the procedure. Awake IUD insertion can also be performed using local anaestheticand/ or a Penthrox inhaler (green whistle). The doctor who performs your insertion procedure will discuss what kind of anaesthesia might be necessary.
  • What do I need to bring with me?
    2 or 3 sanitary pads (light flow only) Some photo identification- a driver’s licence or passport Your Medicare card Warm, comfortable clothes and nothing that is too restrictive around the tummy A snack, or some food or drink for AFTER the procedure
  • Are there any reasons why a woman can’t have an IUD inserted?
    If you have a history of breast cancer, we will need a letter from your oncologist and/or breast surgeon to say that you are clear to have a Mirena (hormonal) IUD. If you have a history of uterine fistula or complex surgery to your uterus, an IUD may not be suitable (a previous Caesarean Section is fine). Large fibroids, unusual layout such as bicornuate uterus or any other problem which can distort the inside of your uterus (womb) might make the use of an IUD difficult. We will discuss your options with the report from a formal pelvic ultrasound. If you know you have an unusual uterus, please make an appointment to discuss your options PRIOR to booking in for your procedure. (We dont want you to waste your time by accepting your booking and then us not being able to help you) A pregnancy must be excluded before using an IUD, and that is why we like you to come in for an IUD insertion within 7 days of the start of your menstrual period. In that way, we know that you are not likely to be pregnant. However, if you do not get regular periods, you can still have an IUD inserted but the timing needs to be discussed with one of our doctors or nurses.
  • Do I need a pelvic ultrasound before my IUD insertion?
    If you are over 40 years old and you have heavy periods, we need you to have a formal pelvic ultrasound scan to make sure that there are no underlying problems. If needed, we can refer you for a bulk-billed pelvic ultrasound scan. Women in their forties who have heavy periods are likely to need to have a Pipelle endometrial biopsy, and there is an additional charge for this procedure (Medicare rebates apply). If you have had a termination of pregnancy (medical or surgical), and you haven’t yet had a period after the procedure and you wish to have an IUD inserted, you should have a pelvic ultrasound performed. Please send us the report prior to booking in for your IUD insertion. We can provide you with a request form which will be “bulk billed for Medicare card holders.
  • What if I want my IUD removed or replaced?
    Removal of an IUD is usually quite straightforward, and can be done in the consulting rooms by a doctor who has experience at removing an IUD. If the IUD strings are not able to be found in the cervix, and you want to have your IUD removed, we need an ultrasound scan before we attempt to remove the IUD to ensure that the device is still in the uterus (womb). Please dont have unprotected sex for one week prior to the IUD removal or replacement, as sperm can hang around and its possible you could get pregnant once the IUD is removed, even from sperm which have been in the body for a few days.
  • Why should I use a condom for the week before my IUD removal or replacement?
    Please do not have condomless sex one week prior to the replacement OR removal of an IUD (as sperm can hang around, and this can result in an unintended pregnancy).
  • Do I need to have a GP consultation before having my IUD inserted?
    You do need to have a consultation prior to having your IUD inserted, which can be done with your own doctor, or one of our doctors or clinical nurse specialists. This pre-insertion consultation is important, as the timing of insertion, the type of device and anaesthetic options all need to be discussed.

Frequently Asked Questions about the
Self Collected Cervical Screening Test

Am I eligible for Self Collected CST
Contact the National Screening Register

Also see:

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