Cervical Cancer Screening in Singapore

What Is HPV?

HPV is a common viral infection that will infect most people in their lifetimes, but usually clears up without need for treatment. It is transmitted through intimate contact and is extremely common in people who have had sex before. It does not usually cause any symptoms. HPV has many strains and can be classified as “low risk HPV” and “high risk HPV”. Low risk HPV types may cause genital warts but not cancer. High risk HPV types can cause pre-cancerous changes which may eventually lead to cervical cancer without intervention.

How long does it take for cervical cancer to develop?

Cervical cancer progresses slowly and usually takes about 15 years for it to develop. Regular screening is important so as to detect the cancer early so that it can be treated. 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Early Cervical Cancer?

There are typically no signs and symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer, another reason why regular screening is important. 

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Who Is At Risk Of Cervical Cancer? 

Any woman who has had sexual activity is at risk. The risk increases when you: 

  • Have a condition that weakens your immunity
  • Are Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive

What Is Cervical Cancer Screening?

Cervical cancer screening detects precancerous changes in the cervix and allows for early intervention to prevent invasive cancer from developing. Pap smears were previously used for this. Research has now shown that for women aged 30 years and above, a human papillomavirus (HPV) test is better than a Pap smear in detecting potential pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.

What Is Primary HPV Testing And How Is It Done?

A HPV test is done similar to how a Pap smear is performed. A brush is used to lightly brush the cervix and analysis is performed to check for the presence of high risk HPV. Because the HPV test is more sensitive than the traditional Pap smear, the screening interval for a negative test result is 5 years (instead of the traditional 3 years).

When Should I Start HPV Testing?

HPV primary testing is recommended for women 30 years and above. Women aged 25 to 29 years old should continue with routine Pap smears as HPV testing is not recommended in this age group due to a high incidence of temporary HPV infection.

I Only Had Sex Once/ It Has Been A Long Time Since My Last Sexual Intercourse. Do I Still Need To Test?

Yes. As long as you have had sex before, it is recommended that you have regular cervical cancer screening.

What Happens If My Test Result Comes Back Positive?

A positive HPV test does not mean you have cervical cancer. Depending on the result, you may require a Pap smear test to check if the HPV infection has resulted in any pre-cancerous changes in the cells of the cervix. If there has not been any cell changes, you will simply require follow-ups as most HPV infections (90%) will be cleared by your natural immune system over time.

What Is The Cost Of Cervical Cancer Screening?

Pap test rates for 25 to 29-year-olds and above

$15

for Singaporeans at polyclinics

$22.50

for Permanent Residents at polyclinics

$2 or $5

for Singaporeans at CHAS GP clinics

HPV test rates for 30-year-olds and above

$22.50

for Singaporeans at polyclinics

$33.75

for Permanent Residents at polyclinics

$2 or $5

for Singaporeans at CHAS GP clinics