Screening means testing people for early stages of a disease before they have any symptoms. Cervical screening (a cervical smear test) is one of the best ways of protecting yourself against cervical cancer, also called cancer of the cervix. Your cervix is the opening to your uterus (womb) at the top of your vagina.
A cervical smear is a test that takes a small sample of cells from the surface of your cervix. Laboratory staff then look at these cells under a microscope to look for any abnormal changes. Sometimes they test for human papillomavirus (HPV) as well.
Smear tests are part of a national screening programme in New Zealand. They're available for all women, transgender or non-binary people with a cervix or vagina who are aged between 25 and 69, and who've been sexually active. Screening might be started earlier if you're sexually active and have a depressed immune system. Read more about screening.
If you've had a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about what screening is right for you. If you've had your cervix removed, you can have a test called a vault smear that's taken from the top of your vagina.
Having a smear test every three years can reduce your chance of getting cervical cancer by 90%.
For more information about Cervical Screening visit Time to Screen
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