- Screening Matters Newsletter
The National Screening Unit newsletter
In this issue:
- Planned changes to cervical screening test in 2018
- New discussion aid for health practitioners: Four screening checks for pregnant women and newborns
- PHO Cervical Screening Data Match Report is now available electronically
- Quality improvements for radiology measurements for Antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions
- Update on the review of breast and cervical screening support services
- New consumer website in development for cervical and breast screening
Planned changes to cervical screening test in 2018
What happens at a women’s cervical smear appointment will not change. The new test means women will only need to be tested every five years as opposed to three as the HPV test is more sensitive. Further work is being undertaken to confirm the most appropriate approach for women under 25.
Last year the National Screening Unit consulted with the sector and the public on changing the primary cervical screening test.
While New Zealand has one of the most successful cervical screening programmes in the world, there’s always scope to further improve screening.
Around 160 women develop cervical cancer each year and the move to HPV primary testing is expected to further reduce cervical cancer deaths by 16 per cent in unvaccinated women and 12 per cent in vaccinated women.
Testing for HPV is internationally recognised as a better primary test for cervical screening. A number of countries are implementing HPV screening including Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands. The approach has also been endorsed by the World Health Organisation, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the European Commission.
HPV vaccination combined with screening provides the best protection from cervical cancer and the new test is effective for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated women.
The Ministry of Health held 13 meetings around the country on the proposed changes and a total of 87 submissions were received.
The Ministry will continue to work with the public and the sector to ensure a smooth transition to the new testing regime in 2018.
More detailed information can be found on the NSU website here.
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