Cervical Screening Awareness Month a prompt for Wellington women
31 August 2011
Women in the Wellington region are being urged to use September – Cervical Screening Awareness Month – as a prompt to
take control of their own health.
Robyn Fox, Regional Coordinator from Regional Screening Services Wellington, says cervical cancer is one of the most
preventable of all cancers, and having regular cervical smears can reduce your risk of developing it by 90 percent.
“While some cancers appear with little warning and little is known about how they could have been prevented, cervical
cancer is different. It is very preventable, and that’s why women are being encouraged to use Cervical Screening
Awareness Month as a prompt to have a think about when they last had a cervical smear test.”
Robyn says cell changes to the cervix can lead to cervical cancer.
“These cell changes are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, which most people come into contact with at some
stage in their life. But the changes happen very slowly, so by having regular smears, there is a very high likelihood
that abnormal cells will be found and treated long before they ever become cancer.
“Investing a small amount of time in having regular cervical smears could save your life. Regular cervical smear tests
every three years are recommended from the age of 20 to 70 for women who have ever been sexually active.
“This month, I hope Wellington women book in for a smear test if it is due or overdue.”
Regional Screening Services, Valley Primary Health Organisation and Mana Wahine Incorporated are working in
collaboration to raise the awareness of regular cervical screening. Initiatives include:
• 30 August – Regional Screening Services Health Promoter Te Rangi Winitana; Tanya Radford, Health Promoter, Valley
PHO; and Tira Albert, Manager, Mana Wahine Incorporated will talk about the upcoming Cervical Screening Awareness Month
on “Let’s Talk Health” at Atiawa FM • 1 September – Health Promoter Palolo Scanlan will be on talkback on Access Radio’s
‘Tiha Ola’ programme promoting cervical screening within the Pacific community • 4 September – Regional Screening
Services will be supporting the Tryathlon organised by Te Aroha Hutt Valley Association • 7 September – Regional
Screening Services will be promoting cervical screening at the Healthy Living Expo at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Porirua •
10 and 24 September – Regional Screening Services, Valley PHO and Mana Wahine are promoting cervical screening at the
Lower Hutt riverbank carpark market • 20 September – Regional Screening Services is promoting cervical screening at the
Health Expo being held at Parliament Buildings, Wellington • 30 September – Capital Radio ‘Fofoga O Le Laumua Radio’
Health Promoter Palolo Scanlan will be talking on the importance of cervical screening to Samoan listeners.
Robyn Fox says women who are not sure when their smear is due, or who want to find out more about cervical screening,
can ring the freephone number - 0800 729 729 - or call the Regional Screening Services team on 04 570 9223.
“There are lots of things in life that you can't control, but by having a regular cervical smear test you can greatly
reduce your likelihood of developing cervical cancer.”