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Cervical Screening Awareness Month for Wellington Women

Cervical Screening Awareness Month a prompt for Wellington women

3 September 2012

Women in the Wellington region are urged to use September – Cervical Screening Awareness Month – as a reminder to have a cervical smear test, every three years.

Robyn Fox, Regional Coordinator from Regional Screening Services Wellington, says having regular cervical smears can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by an amazing 90 percent.

“The cell changes to the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection is very common. Changes in the cervix as a result of HPV occur very slowly and may clear spontaneously. However, sometimes these changes may progress to cancer.

“So, having regular smears, every three years, means it is very likely abnormal cells will be found and treated long before they ever become cancer.”

Regional Screening Services Health Promotion team will be raising awareness of regular cervical screening on:

• 22 September – providing health education at the Vahine Orama PACIFICA Newtown Health Day at Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church (PIPC) Newtown
• 24 September – Regional Screening Services Health Promoter, Palolo Scanlan, will be speaking on the importance of regular cervical smears at the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church (PICP), Porirua at 6.30 pm
• 5 and 19 September – Regional Screening Services Health Promoter, Palolo Scanlan, will be speaking to Mothers Groups at Naku Enei Tamariki Pacific, 25 Peterkin Street, Wingate on the importance of having regular smears

Smear clinics are available through Mana Wahine Incorporated, Kokiri Marae Health & Social Services Well Women at the following locations:

• Kokiri Marae
7-9 Barnes Street
Seaview
Monday 10 September, 1-4pm
Thursday 27 September, 5-7.30pm

• Koraunui Health Clinic
Stokes Valley Road
Stokes Valley
Monday 10 September, 9.30am-12noon

• Timberlea Community House
Norana Road
Timberlea, Upper Hutt
Wednesday 19 September, 1-3.00pm

• Wainuiomata Marae
Parkway Ext.
Wainuiomata
Wednesday 12 September, 11am-2pm
Wednesday 26 September, 5-7.30pm

Robyn Fox says some women may now be offered an HPV test when they have their cervical smear. The test helps identify women who may need further follow up with a specialist

”A negative test result indicates you are extremely unlikely to be at risk of developing cervical cancer in the next three to five years. This can reduce the need for repeat smears for women whose smears have showed mild changes or who have previously had treatment.

“A positive test result means a high-risk type of HPV has been found. In this case, your smear taker will discuss follow up with you, so any cell changes can be treated early.”

The HPV test is usually taken at the same time as the cervical smear test, using the same sample of cells, so there is no need to have a second test.

Robyn Fox says it’s important for women who have had the HPV vaccine to remember to have regular cervical smears.

”The HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so women who have been immunised must still have smears every three years.”

She says women who are not sure when their smear is due, or who want to become part of the National Cervical Screening Programme can ring the freephone number 0800 729 729, see www.cervicalscreening.govt.nz, or call 04 570 9223. Regular cervical smear tests are recommended from the age of 20 to 70 for women who have ever been sexually active.

‘I hope Wellington women book in for a smear if it’s due or overdue, and join the National Cervical Screening Programme if they haven’t already. And if you’ve had your smear, that’s great, but don’t forget to have another one in three years’ time – you’re worth it!


ENDS

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