Cervical Screening Hits Target Early

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today the national cervical screening programme had reached its year 2000 target, this month, two years ahead of time.

"The national cervical screening register has reached a proud milestone with the enrolment of more than 850,000 women between the age of 20 and 69 years. A total of 855,765 women are now enrolled which is 85.13 percent of the eligible population. The original goal was to enrol 85 percent of women by the year 2000," Mr English said.

"Overseas experiences shows that if enrolments reach 85 percent, the number of women developing and dying from the cancer will fall.

"I am pleased to see an increase in enrolments of nearly 2500 women in the 50-69 age group in the latest figures.

"The most common age to develop cervical cancer is between 35 and 60 years. However, the national screening programme has found many older women who visit their GP after having symptoms of cervical cancer, are not enrolled.

"Screening is the best chance we have to reduce the likelihood of women developing late stage cervical cancer, which can be fatal if left too long," Mr English said.

Background Information
The following figures show the numbers of women diagnosed with cervical cancer (incidence) and the numbers who have died from the disease (mortality) since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Programme in 1990.