Cervical Screening


Cervical Screening Awareness Month

September is Cervical Screening Awareness Month. This year, Cervical Screening Awareness Month is focused on the success of the National Cervical Screening Programme and encouraging all women to join.

The 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. 

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.

Read more about the programme on the National Screening Unit website.


Did you know that?

  • 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.
  • Immunisation is now available to protect women against two common types of HPV (types 16 and 18) that cause around 70 percent of cervical cancer.
  • 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 BOPDHB has contracted Te Kupenga Hauora and Te Puna Ora o Mataatua in the Western and Eastern areas respectively, to provide services to eligible women. Services include support to colposcopy and free cervical smears.

For more information visit the National Screening Unit website.


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Last updated: February 22, 2016