Cervical Screening Awareness Month a prompt for Canterbury women
Women in the Canterbury region are being urged to use September - Cervical Screening Awareness Month - as a prompt to take control of their own health.
Dr Bryony Simcock, Gynaecological Oncologist, 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 mostly preventable and that's why women are being encouraged to use Cervical Screening Awareness Month as a prompt to have a think about when they last had a cervical smear test," Dr Simcock says.
"There are lots of things in life that you can't control, but by having a regular cervical smear test you can greatly reduce your likelihood of developing cervical cancer."
Dr Simcock 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.
"I hope Canterbury women book in for a smear test this September whether it is due or overdue."
Women who are not sure when their smear is due, can ring the freephone number - 0800 729 729, or call (03) 335 4140.