May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Have a cervical smear and it could save your life

2 min read

September is Cervical Screening Awareness Month, and women are being encouraged to have a smear if its due or to think about when they last had one.

Cervical Screening Awareness Month is coordinated by the Ministry of Healths National Screening Unit, in partnership with Stayfree and during the month you can also win a prize!

Women can enter an online competition to go in the draw to win 1 of 1000 Neutrogena lip glosses worth $24.95 go to to enter.

A cervical smear test can detect changes to cells in the cervix that, if left untreated, could become cancer. About 160 New Zealand women develop cervical cancer every year and about 60 die from it.

But cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers and regular cervical smear tests every three years could save your life because they reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 percent. Cervical smear tests every three years are recommended from the age of 20 to 70 for women who have ever been sexually active.

Figures from the National Screening Unit show that without regular screening, 1 in 90 women will develop cervical cancer. With regular screening, only 1 in 570 women will develop it.

Maori and Pacific women have higher rates of cervical cancer and lower screening rates, which is why recent advertising has had a particular focus on encouraging these women to have regular smears.

Some women find having a smear test embarrassing but you really dont need to worry. Smears are carried out by trained health professionals and theyll make you feel as comfortable as possible. Its all over really quickly a smear only takes a few minutes and then you dont have to have another one for three years!

Many women will get a reminder from their GP or smear taker when they are due for a smear. If you are due, get it done as soon as possible ? and celebrate that sense of achievement afterwards!

Women who are not sure when their smear is due, or who want to become part of the Programme, can ring the freephone number 0800 729 729.

Smear tests are available from:

  • your doctor or practice nurses
  • Family Planning
  • sexual health services
  • marae-based or other M?ori health centres
  • community health services, such as womens health centres.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.