Pap smears: no longer a thing in Australia from 1st December 2017 [1], and a recent example of over treatment due to early detection capabilities getting ahead of early prediction capabilities, as highlighted by Mukherjee in his "Cancer's Invasion Equation". [2]

A whole generation of young women underwent unnecessary operations due to a limited understanding of cellular changes in the cervix coupled with - perhaps - an institutional bias to intervene. The new changes will avoid this, as AMA president Michael Gannon emphasised in a post [3] this year:

"The old system was never particularly good in detecting Cervix Cancer in women under the age of 25."

" will mean that thousands of women will avoid surgery historically performed (in good faith) to reduce the risk of progression to severe pre-cancerous changes or Cervix Cancer."


  • the Medical Service Advisory Committee recommended these changes at the start of 2014 [4]. Why has it taken four years (and how many unnecessary pap smears and operations) for these changes to be implemented?

  • where is the institutional analysis on how a faulty test managed to run for two decades giving false positives and causing significant stress, anxiety and unnecessary intervention? At the very least you would expect institutions to do a post-mortem on this and come back to society with a course of action to more rigorously vet national programs before they are rolled out.