New Zealand invests to boost number of smear tests:
This article was originally published in Clinica
New Zealand is investing NZ$2.5m (US$1.8m) in an awareness drive aimed at increasing the number of women having cervical smears and to encourage regular testing in the 20-70 year age range. Prime Minister Helen Clark said that early detection through smears was the main reason behind a significant reduction in cervical cancer deaths in New Zealand - from 180 per year 10 years ago, to 70. Screening reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer by 90%, according to the national screening unit. The disease is treatable if caught early enough, but the catch is that it usually has no symptoms. The awareness campaign is targeted mainly at Maori and Pacific Island women, who have the lowest screening and the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer in New Zealand, but is also expected to encourage women in the wider population who have not been screened in the last three years, to come forward.