Vaccinated women still need smears
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.