Cervical Screening

Cervical Screening Awareness Month

September is Cervical Screening Awareness Month. 

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.
  • 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. Click here for more information about HPV.

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. Services include support to colposcopy and free cervical smears.

For more information visit the National Screening Unit website.


The Bay of Plenty DHB is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and we have no control over availability of the linked pages.

Last updated: May 1, 2020