Friday, September 9, 2022
No one likes to get a cervical screen. It’s tempting to put it off, to tell yourself you’ll do it next week, or that it’s not really necessary.
But what we know about cervical screening and cervical cancer makes it clear that going for a cervical screen every three years is one of the most important decisions you can make for your health.
Cervical cancer and HPV
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers – which is why getting regularly screened is so important.
Almost all cervical cancer is caused by some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that you get through sexual contact.
Even if you’ve had the vaccine to reduce your chance of getting HPV, you still need to get a regular screen.
When it is found early, cervical cancer can be cured. The Ministry of Health says that up to 90 percent of cases of the most common form of cervical cancer could be prevented with a cervical screen test every three years.
And we know cervical screening works. Since screening started in New Zealand in 1990, case numbers and deaths from cervical cancer have dropped by 60 percent.
Getting a cervical screen
You can get a cervical screen at Family Planning, at your local GP, at a health clinic, or sexual health clinic.
Anyone from age 25 to 70 years old who has ever had sex or sexual contact with a person should have a screen every three years.
Our nurses are specialists in taking cervical screens and will do their best to answer your questions, make you feel welcome, and make the experience quick and comfortable. If you’re feeling embarrassed, nervous or whakamā when you go to your appointment, tell the nurse.
It’s also a good idea to ask questions before your screen so you know exactly what happens, and it’ll help you feel more prepared. Remember, a screen shouldn’t be painful. You might find it a bit uncomfortable for a moment, but it’ll be over quickly.
Take care of yourself, your body and your future. Do it for your whānau and for peace of mind. Don’t put it off, because it could save your life.
Put your cervical screen at the top of your “to do” list, and then let your friends and whānau know you'll support them to get theirs too.
Did you know?
- You can book a cervical screen online by filling in an Ask for an Appointment form.
- Every month around 890 cervical screens are taken at a Family Planning clinic
- Family Planning provides training courses and refresher courses for nurses wanting to be screen takers
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.