Vaccinated women still need smears

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A health ex­pert says she would like to see more women adopt reg­u­lar cer­vi­cal smear tests de­spite nearly 300,000 women be­ing tested in the last three years.

Monique Freda­tovich from Well Women & Fam­ily Trust says while the num­ber is pleas­ing there are still women in the 20 to 70 age bracket who ne­glect their three-yearly test.

‘‘In­vest­ing a small amount of time in hav­ing reg­u­lar cer­vi­cal smears can re­duce the risk of cer­vi­cal can­cer by 90 per cent,’’ Ms Freda­tovich says.

Some women may now be of­fered an hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus ( HPV) test at the same time they have their smear.

HPV is a very com­mon in­fec­tion that causes cell changes to the cervix which can lead to cer­vi­cal can­cer.

Hav­ing reg­u­lar smears means it is likely that ab­nor­mal cells will be found long be­fore they progress to can­cer.

Ms Freda­tovich says women who have had the HPV vac­cine still need to re­mem­ber to have reg­u­lar cer­vi­cal smears.

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

The Well Women & Fam­ily Trust runs mo­bile cer­vi­cal smear clin­ics through out the Auck­land re­gion.

Th­ese clin­ics are free how­ever cri­te­ria does ap­ply. Visit wons.org.nz.

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