Monday, September 3, 2012
If you’re female and aged between 20 and 70 and have ever been sexually active, September is the month to check that you’re up-to-date with your cervical smear test – a simple test that could save your life.
This month is Cervical Screening Awareness Month and Family Planning is encouraging women to put aside any embarrassment or uncertainty and take the time to have a cervical smear.
Having a cervical smear test every three years can reduce the chances of developing cervical cancer by around 90 per cent.
A cervical smear is not a test to look for cancer. It is a screening test that looks for abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix (the neck of the uterus or womb).
Some cells with abnormal changes can develop into cancer if they are not treated. Treatment of abnormal cells is very effective at preventing cancer.
Family Planning is the largest single smear taking organisation in New Zealand - in the last year our clinicians took just over 22,000 smear tests.
We are involved in training other health professionals on how to take cervical smears and we work very closely with the National Cervical Screening Programme.
The National Cervical Screening Register ensures that you get a reminder each time a smear is overdue to back up the reminders that Family Planning sends.
If you are under 22, a cervical smear at a Family Planning Clinic is free. If you have a Community Services Card, your visit and smear will cost $5 and for all other New Zealand residents, the cost of a visit and a smear is $27.00.
Book a cervical smear at one of our Family Planning clinics.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.