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Aug 14, 2015


The Hamilton Medical Group are now offering women the opportunity to become part of the Compass Trial which is looking at a better way to screen for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is caused by certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).  Overseas research has shown that screening for this virus is more accurate than the traditional Pap smear for determining a women's future risk of developing cervical cancer. The Compass Trial will confirm if this is the case for Australian women.  It is a major multi-centre trail being conducted by the Victorian Cytology Service (VCS) and the University of New South Wales and will involve recruitment of more than 120,000 women.

Women aged between 25 and 69 years of age attending the Hamilton Medical Group for their routine Pap smears will be asked if they wish to participate in the trial. The test is taken in the same way as the traditional Pap smear but once it reaches the laboratory (VCS) it is randomized into one of two groups.  One group will be tested in the traditional way (looking at cells), and the other will be tested for the presence of the virus, HPV. In the first group if the test is negative (no abnormal cells seen) women will be asked to come back for a repeat test in 2 and a half years, instead of the current 2 years.  If the woman is assigned to the second group and her HPV test is negative she will not need another test for 5 years.

Participation in the trial is voluntary and women are able to take part if they are resident in Australia, aged 25 to 69 years, and attending for a routine Pap smear.  It is recommended that women start having Pap smears at the age of 18 or two years after the commencement of sexual activity whichever is later.