Cervical Screening Awareness Month
24 August 2011
Cervical Screening Awareness Month a prompt for West Coast women
Women on the West Coast are being urged to use September – Cervical Screening Awareness Month – as a prompt to take control of their own health.
Clinical Nurse Manager Cervical Screening Janet Hogan from the West Coast DHB says cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers, and having regular cervical smears can reduce your risk of developing it by 90 percent.
“While some cancers appear with little warning and little is known about how they could have been prevented, cervical cancer is different. It is very preventable, and that’s why women are being encouraged use Cervical Screening Awareness Month as a prompt to have a think about when they last had a cervical smear test.”
Mrs Hogan advises women to watch out for advertisements about Cervical Screening services initiatives that will be offered this month. This will include a series of evening clinics.
Mrs Hogan says cell changes to the cervix can lead to cervical cancer.
“These cell changes are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, which most people come into contact with at some stage in their life. But the changes happen very slowly, so by having regular smears, there is a very high likelihood that abnormal cells will be found and treated long before they ever become cancer.
“Investing a small amount of time in having regular cervical smears could save your life. Regular cervical smear tests every three years are recommended from the age of 20 to 70 for women who have ever been sexually active.
“This month, I hope West Coast women book in for a smear test if it is due or overdue, or, if they haven’t already, join the National Cervical Screening Programme.”
She says 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 or 03 769 7799.
“There are lots of things in life that you can’t control, but by having regular cervical smear test you can greatly reduce your likelihood of developing cervical cancer.”