Compass Trial – Screening to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Posted on Categories Medical

The Brighton Family & Women’s Clinic and its patients have been selected to take part in an important trial in the prevention of cervical cancer in Women.

It is known that long term infection with certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer in Women. Research done overseas has shown that a test for these types of HPV is in fact a better screening test for cervical cancer then a Pap smear.

As part of the Compass Trial you will have a test taken from your cervix in the same way as you would usually have a Pap smear. The only difference is that the cells will be put into a liquid rather than onto a glass slide. These liquid samples can be used to make a Pap smear or to do an HPV test.

If the HPV test is negative the likelihood of developing cervical cancer is so low that it is safe to leave the next test for a period of 5 years. However if the HPV test is positive there is a chance of having or developing abnormal cells on the cervix and further tests will need to be done.

The trial will be conducted by the Victoria Cytology Service (VCS) and the Cancer Council of NSW.

Purpose of the Compass Trial

The purpose of the Compass Trial is comparing Human Papillomavirus testing to a Pap smear for cervical cancer screening and detection.

This main aim of the trial is to confirm that HPV testing is as good as or better than a regular Pap smear at preventing serious grades of pre-cancer or cervical cancer in women aged between 25 to 69 years old. The trial will look at this in women who have been offered the HPV vaccine and also women who have not been offered the HPV vaccine.

You can be included in this trial if you are:

Aged between 25 to 64 years old.
Attending for a routine Pap smear
Not pregnant
A Victorian resident

If you decide to take part in the Compass Pilot Trial, you will be asked to sign a consent form.
By signing the form you are stating that you:

Understand what you have read, that you agree to take part in the trial and Agree to have the tests and treatments that are described. Also you Consent to the use of your personal and health information as described.

Potential Benefits of the Compass Trial

Women who have a negative HPV test won’t need to come back for cervical screening for up to 5 years.
Women who have a negative Pap smear won’t need to return for another Pap smear for 3 years.


The good news is that there is no cost to you for participating in the Compass trial apart from our standard medical consultation fee to see your doctor. You will also not receive any payment or compensation for taking part of the trial.


All Information collected in the Compass Trial will be kept strictly confidential, in accordance with Australian privacy laws. Only authorised staff will have access to the data which will be stored in a password protected database.

Results from this trial will be published some scientific papers. You and any information collected about you will not be identifiable in any of these publications.

Next Steps

Please speak to your doctor during your next consultation about taking part in the compass trial.