Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new website and social media campaign will help encourage women to have regular cervical smear tests and mammograms.
“The Time to Screen campaign encourages and supports women to participate in screening programmes by providing information on when and why they need to get a check-up, how often they need to go, and what to expect from the process,” says Dr Coleman.
“The campaign includes a new mobile-friendly website and a social marketing campaign to help remove some of the barriers to screening and give women the opportunity to connect with others for support and ask questions.
“With more than two million New Zealanders using Facebook on a daily basis the campaign will enable us to reach more women who are not being screened or who don’t get screened as often as they should.
“The campaign is supported by a number of important pre-existing initiatives that deliver individually-tailored and practical support, such as transporting and accompanying women to screening appointments.
“Previous campaigns were fit for the times, but a new approach is needed to help boost women’s participation in breast and cervical screening programmes, especially among Maori, Pacific and Asian communities.”
Women aged 20 to 70 should have a cervical smear test every three years. Since the National Cervical Screening Programme was established in 1990, the incidence of cervical cancer and deaths has more than halved.
Women between 45 and 69 should have a mammogram every two years. The rate of death from breast cancer is reduced by a third for women who have been screened as part of the programme.
More information about the women’s health screening programmes is available at www.timetoscreen.nz