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Awareness of Need for Cervical Cancer Checks

1st Feb 2021


Ms Joan Pereira

MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC


To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there are any statistics about the awareness and practice of doing pap smear tests among females in Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry will work with tertiary institutions to educate students about the importance of such tests.

Written Answer

We recommend that women aged 25 to 29 years should undergo a Pap smear at a 3-yearly interval. For women aged 30 years and above, the recommendation is for them to undergo the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test at a 5-yearly interval.

Based on the 2019 National Population Health Survey (NPHS), 88.5% of Singaporean women aged 25 to 74 years reported being aware of cervical cancer screening tests (e.g. Pap and HPV tests). About one in two women, aged 25 to 74 years, had undergone screening for cervical cancer within the last three years. However, only 76.5% of the younger age group (25-29 years) had knowledge of Pap smear compared to 91.0% of the older age group (30-69 years).

HPB works closely with partners such as the Singapore Cancer Society on public education efforts, so as to bridge the knowledge gap. Annual campaigns such as the Women’s Gynecological Cancers Campaign (WGCAM), focus on the main gynecological cancers of which cervical cancer is one. HPB also runs the Screen for Life (SFL) programme which encourages Singapore residents to go for regular recommended health screenings, including cervical cancer screening.

Beyond national-level campaigns, HPB and partnering organisations will continue to work with schools, including tertiary institutions, to raise awareness about women’s health, expanding beyond specific cancers. As part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum for upper primary and lower secondary students, discussions are held on the topic of cancer including common cancers among males and females in Singapore and the importance of a healthier lifestyle to prevent cancers. HPB worked with Nanyang Polytechnic to develop a video on cervical cancer prevention and the importance of early detection in 2019. This animated video is available on Health Hub’s page on cervical cancer. This complements our HPV school-based vaccination programme. Since its launch in 2019, at least nine out of 10 Secondary 1 female students have received HPV vaccinations. HPB is expanding its work to involve student groups in tertiary institutions and partner organisations on student led initiatives to raise awareness of cancers and early detection.

We will continue to intensify our efforts to encourage women to go for regular screening, and welcome suggestions to improve our early detection efforts to save lives.

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