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Te Kāhui Oranga Ō Nuku Calls For Commitment To HPV Screening

The leading body for obstetrics and gynaecology and women’s health in New Zealand has called on all political parties to commit to funding for HPV screening, which is a better way to screen for cervical cancer.

Chair of Te Kāhui Oranga ō Nuku of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), Dr Celia Devenish, said: “We know that cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent, just so long as we detect it early. HPV screening detects the virus that can cause cancer”.

“We know that because of lack of awareness and access to screening, women are going untested and undiagnosed, leading to deaths, with an overrepresentation of Māori women among this sadness.”

“Cervical screening is critical, even if a woman has had the HPV vaccine”.

However, the current screening programme is simply not reaching enough women, particularly Māori and Pacifika women, and screening rates have dropped dramatically over the past year.

HPV screening is a different way to test for cervical cancer and was introduced in Australia in 2017.

Māori women are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost three times as likely to die of cervical cancer than Pākehā women. Research has shown that women who don’t participate in the current screening programme will get tested with HPV self-testing.”

“The introduction of HPV screening and HPV self-testing will save lives, especially of Māori wāhine,” Dr Devenish said. “We call on all political parties to provide commitments that guarantee and lock-in funding to implement HPV testing and ensure better outcomes for women.”

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