- Screening Matters Newsletter
The National Screening Unit newsletter
In this issue:
- HPV vaccination is cost effective but coverage needs improving – researchers
- Newborn hearing screeners complete annual refresher course
- Cervical screening included in new PHO quality and performance measures
- Policy work begins on primary HPV testing
- NCSP Register changes reflect updated colposcopy standards
- Pacific breast screening rates continue to improve
Policy work begins on primary HPV testing
The Ministry of Health has approval for policy work to look at how a change from the cervical Pap smear to HPV testing as the primary screening test would work best for New Zealand women.
The policy work will take 12 months, and will include public consultation. The work will include:
- the age at which screening should start
- how often a woman will need a smear
- how the laboratory will test the cervical sample and how the result should be followed up by health professionals.
Once the policy work is complete, the Ministry will plan how any changes will be made and provide education and information for women and health professionals on any changes. New cervical screening guidelines would be developed in partnership with the sector before any changes are introduced.
Whatever decisions are made regarding the role of HPV testing, cytology will continue to have a role in the screening pathway.
HPV primary screening is a slightly different way for laboratories to examine the cervical screening sample, so the process for women undergoing a cervical smear remains the same.
HPV-vaccinated women still require cervical screening as the HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
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