April 26, 2021
Simple swab test would boost Maori screening rates
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is calling for a policy and funding change to allow women to self-test for primary human papillomavirus.
President Dr Samantha Murton says an HPV swab is now considered the best first test for cervical cancer.
She says a woman swabs herself in private, the test gets saved in a plastic tube and handed straight over to the GP or nurse.
It can even be done at home and mailed in.
Studies show self-taken HPV tests are more acceptable to Māori women and can triple screening rates.
Dr Rachel Mackie, who chairs the college’s Te Akoranga a Māui group of Māori doctors, says an Otago University review of screening data for the years 2013-2017 found the Māori rate of cervical cancer was almost twice that of non- Māori, and mortality rates for Māori and Pacific women are two to three times that of non-Māori .
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