Cervical screening

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Cervical screening

It is estimated that up to 90 percent of cases of the most common form of cervical cancer could be prevented if women have a smear test every three years.

The National Screening programme is available to all women in New Zealand between 20 and 70 years old.  The programme was set up in 1990 to reduce the number of women who develop cancer of the cervix and the number who die from it.

To find out more about the cervical screening program please visit timetoscreen.nz

Importance of cervical screening

What you may not know?

  • Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers.
  • Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the Human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus passed on by sexual contact.
  • Most people will come into contact with HPV at some stage during their life.  Most HPV infections clear by themselves, but some high-risk types can cause cell changes on the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer 10 to 20 years after infection.  Other types can cause genital warts, but these strains do not lead to cancer.
  • A woman's best protection against developing cervical cancer is having regular cervical smear tests.  A cervical smear test is a screening test to find abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
  • The vaccine does not protect against all HPV types; therefore, women who have been immunised must still continue to have smear tests.
  • Regular cervical smear tests every three years are recommended for women, if they have ever been sexually active, from the age of 20 until they turn 70.
  • Having regular cervical smears can reduce a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 percent.
  • The HPV vaccine is free. It is offered to boys and girls in year 7 or 8 at school. The vaccine protects against the 9 most common types of HPV but it doesn't cover all of them. To find our more about HPV visit health.govt.nz.

Start to screen

Cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent – as long as we detect the cell changes that cause it, early. And guess what? New Zealand has one of the best cervical screening programmes in the world to help you.

The Bay of Plenty DHB contracts Western Bay of Plenty PHO (Ph 07 571 2100) and Eastern Bay PHA (Ph 07 306 2341), to provide additional support services to eligible women.

or call 0800 729 729

To find out more about cervical screening programme visit timetoscreen.nz .