Cervical Screening Awareness Month: Good friends and whanau save lives

Lending support, friends Evonne Wang and Mereana Goodman. Photo supplied.
Lending support, friends Evonne Wang and Mereana Goodman. Photo supplied.
During Cervical Screening Awareness Month, Southern DHB is encouraging women to bring a friend along and book back-to-back ‘buddy’ appointments for cervical screening.

Good friends Mereana Goodman and Evonne Wang did just that, supporting each other when they went for their smear tests.

“Encourage your friends and whanau to go for a smear test. We supported each other, and a 15 minute test has given us three years of peace.”

“We want as many people as we can to play a part in raising awareness and encouraging their friends and family to go for a smear test,” says Southern DHB Cervical Screening Programme Leader, Linda Moir. “By starting conversations about the importance of having smear tests, more women will come along with their friends and whanau.”

Every year 160 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in New Zealand, and there are 50 women who die from it. Having regular cervical smear tests reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 percent. Three yearly screening is recommended for women from the age of 20 to 69 if they have ever been sexually active.

General practices across the district are also taking part in a prize draw where women who have a smear test during the month can enter and have the chance to win a $50 voucher.

“The screening takes around 15 minutes, and is an uncomplicated procedure with a proven ability to save lives,” says Linda.

To find out more about cervical screening visit: timetoscreen.nz/cervical-screening

Did you know that there is a phone number you can call free of charge if you need support?

1737 free text/phone number service (www.1737.org.nz) will connect you to a trained counsellor who can help if you have feelings of anxiety, helplessness or just need to talk to someone.

1737 can be reached from landline or mobile phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s designed to meet the needs of anyone who ‘wants to talk.’

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