Cervical Screening: What Wāhine Need to Know/Atawhaitia te Wharetangata

Cervical Screening: What Wāhine Need to Know/Atawhaitia te Wharetangata

HE Code: 
Pamphlet DLE
Publication date: 
1 December 2007
Revision date: 
August 2018
Status: Hard copies currently out of stock.
Pamphlet promoting and explaining the benefits of regular cervical screening (smear test) for women aged between 20 and 70.

He huarahi whakamaru mō te wharetangata, mō te iwi
A way of protection for the womb, and for the future of all

Me haere ngā wāhine katoa?
Who needs a smear test?

All women who have ever been sexually active are advised to have a smear test every three years from the time they turn 20 until they turn 70.

Kia tūpato ki tēnei ngāngara
Be aware of HPV

  • Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus or HPV which is sexually transmitted. HPV affects almost all people at some point in their lives.
  • There are many types of HPV, but only a few types will cause cell changes in the cervix. These changes can return to normal or they may later become cancer if not treated.
  • Having regular smear tests every three years is the best way of finding and treating any cell changes and preventing cervical cancer from developing.
  • Women who have received the HPV vaccine must continue to have cervical smear tests.

If you change your address please advise your smear taker and the National Cervical Screening Programme
Freephone 0800 729 729

He pēhea te āhua o te whakamātautau?
What happens during the test?

Having a smear only takes a few minutes. Some women find it a little uncomfortable, but it should not hurt.

A few cells will be collected from your cervix (the neck of the womb) and placed into a liquid solution that preserves the cells for testing. The test looks for abnormal cells. Any abnormal cells are treated to stop them from becoming cancer.

In some situations, women having a cervical smear test will also be offered an HPV test – which tests for the virus that may lead to cervical cancer. The HPV test is performed on the same sample as the smear test, so there is no need to have a second test.

Mā wai e kawe ngā whakamātautau?
Who does the test?

The test can only be done by trained smear takers. You can find smear takers at:

  • Your nearest Whare Rapuora – Māori health centre
  • Your iwi Māori health providers
  • Your GP’s clinic – there are many female GP’s or practice nurses who take smears
  • Family Planning/sexual health centres.

He aha te utu?
What does a smear test cost?

You may be charged the usual fee from your doctor or nurse. Some Māori providers or community or primary health organisations offer a free or low cost service.

Ngā hua o te tirohanga
Your results

  • The majority of women will have normal results.
  • Some women may be asked to go back for another test if there were not enough cells to look at, or if there are changes. An abnormal result hardly ever means cancer.
  • All women who have cervical smears are part of the programme unless they say that they do not want to be.

Kia mōhio noa iho koe
Just so you know

Smear tests are the best way of showing cell changes in the cervix.

However, occasionally cell changes may be missed and a normal result given. The missed changes will usually be picked up in the next three yearly smear test.

Sometimes a result may show abnormal cells when all is actually well. Another smear may be taken and will usually show that no treatment is needed.

Me maumahara

If you have any unusual vaginal bleeding, pain or discharge see your doctor or nurse.

He kōrero nui whakahirahira
Important message

  • Women aged from 20 until they turn 70 who have at any time been sexually active, need to have three yearly cervical smear tests.
  • Regular three yearly smear tests are the best protection against cervical cancer.
  • Regular cervical smear tests save lives!

Mō ētahi atu kōrero
For further information