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Medical Health Aged Care, Women

Landmark gathering to hear of promising uptake on cervical cancer screening

Public Health Association of Australia 2 mins read

Media alert

1 August 2023

Preliminary results from one of Australia’s largest randomised controlled trials suggest that HPV-based screening used in the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program is more effective at detecting pre-cancerous changes than the Pap Smear program it replaced.

If the early results from the Compass Trial are confirmed when it concludes in 2026, this would allow more women and people with a cervix to be treated before these changes develop into cervical cancer, alleviating for many people the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, and ultimately saving more lives.

The update, from the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer and the Daffodil Centre, will be shared with 150 Australian and international screening experts, researchers, and policymakers today in Melbourne at Cancer Screening: Evidence, challenges and solutions, organised by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA). Sessions will cover cancers including lung, breast, and melanoma and skin cancer.

The cancer screening symposium is the first of its kind to be convened on the continent. Delegates will discuss the latest evidence and initiatives to promote early cancer detection, and whether there is evidence to support changes to screening programs, or the introduction of new screening technologies.

The symposium’s international keynote speaker is Prof Bob Steele CBE, who led the United Kingdom’s demonstration pilot that was used to inform the decision to introduce national bowel cancer screening programmes throughout the UK. The Professor of Surgery at the University of Dundee is the Clinical Director of the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. Prof Steele was also the Chair of UK National Screening Committee for six years until 2022, and has significant expertise in screening evidence, emerging screening technologies, and the latest proposals.

The event agenda includes discussions on: 

  • Cancer screening – where to next in Australia and the UK?
  • When equity is the goal – initiatives to ensure screening programs activity address outcome disparities 
  • Building timely evidence for screening program changes and new technologies
  • “Are we ready for the future?”

Media are invited to attend online or in-person, and request interviews with presenters.


WHO: Public Health Association of Australia

WHAT: Screening Symposium. Cancer Screening: Evidence, challenges, and solutions

WHERE: Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, (Clarendon Foyer and Auditorium)

WHEN: 9am – 5:15pm, Tuesday 1 August 2023


For further information/comment:

Paris Lord (he/him), PHAA Communications and Media Manager, M) 0478 587 917 /

A/Prof Misha Coleman, Government Relations and Communications Director,
Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer, M) 0428 399 739,

Contact details:

Paris Lord (he/him), PHAA Communications and Media Manager, M) 0478 587 917 /

A/Prof Misha Coleman, Government Relations and Communications Director,
Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer, M) 0428 399 739,


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