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Communication is key to ensuring cervical health

Published: Wed 24 Aug 2011 02:15 PM
24 August 2011
Communication is key to ensuring cervical health for New Zealand women
Stayfree® joins Ministry of Health in support of cervical screening in September 2011
Every year on average 60 New Zealand women die from cervical cancer** – a cancer that is very preventable. This September, in support of Cervical Screening Awareness Month, Stayfree® is helping the Ministry of Health address this statistic by asking all New Zealand women to spread the word and be proactive about cervical screening.
In a recent survey* conducted by Stayfree® in association with the Ministry of Health it was revealed that while 89% of New Zealand women acknowledge the importance of regular cervical smears, only 19% know exactly when they’re due for their next smear, and a very high 59% rely on reminders from their doctor or smear taker.
The survey* also showed that 41% of New Zealand women have never discussed this life-saving topic with the girlfriends in their lives, although 60% said that, upon completing the survey, they felt inspired to tell their female friends and family to remember to have a smear.
National Cervical Screening Programme Clinical Leader Dr Hazel Lewis recommends women talk to their friends about the benefits of cervical screening.
“The findings of this survey show that, while there is a good understanding about the importance of regular smear tests, we need more New Zealand women talking to their friends about smear tests, and encouraging them to have one if it is due or overdue.
Senior Brand Manager of Stayfree®, Winnie Chung agrees, “We know there is awareness of the importance of cervical screening, but this year we are asking New Zealand women to harness the information they have and use it to motivate themselves and their friends to look after themselves and have regular cervical smears.”
She goes on to say that if every woman shares one key fact about cervical screening with another woman in their lives, a positive step towards health and wellbeing will be taken.
“We are asking you to encourage your female friends to remember two key things: (1) most women aged between 20 and 70 should have a smear every three years, and (2) by doing so they may reduce their chances of developing cervical cancer by 90%** - it really is that simple to motivate an encouraging response and get them thinking seriously about this topic,” concludes Chung.
Cervical Screening Awareness Month is a prompt for women to talk about the importance of cervical screening with their friends and ask them to think about when they last had a smear, and if they’re due for another one.
If you want to know more about cervical screening or where to go for a smear test, call the National Cervical Screening Programme’s freephone, 0800 729 729 or visit www.cervicalscreening.govt.nz
Ends

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