Requested by: NZ Herald | Response provided: 21/10/2021
Category: Medical,Surgical,Clinical

It appears the number of women being screened for cervical and breast cancers is slipping well below target. In Auckland DHB's latest board agenda, for cervical (2020/21 Q4) - Auckland sat at 69%, Waitemata at 70% and Counties Manukau at 65% (national target 80%).  For breast -Auckland 53%, Waitemata 64% and Counties 66% (national target 70%).

Here was the commentary (p.51)
Total coverage remains below target, with coverage in Māori and Pacific significantly lower. COVID-19 restrictions affected the completion of cervical screens. Small gains were made in Q4 in all groups, attributed to the publicity around an MP’s diagnosis. Despite the small gains, the overall decline in both national and local coverage has been the trend for 3-4 years. The announcement in May of the planned introduction of HPV primary screening in 2023 is welcome, but may see a further decrease in coverage as women wait for the self-test option. Cancer risk is higher in Māori and Pacific women who are unscreened or have not been screened for >5 years; these groups remain a priority

1. Can you clarify the data for 2020/21 Q4?
2. I can't seem to find the numbers for Q4 previous year to compare - what were they at each DHB?
3. It says there has been a decline both nationally and locally in the last 3-4 years - what were these rates four years ago?
4. As a result of the downward trend in the last 3-4 years there been any noticeable rise in the number of women presenting to emergency departments with cervical cancer?
5. Are DHBs concern women could delaying being screened because they are waiting for the HPV self-test that won't be available until next year? What is the DHB's message to these women?
6. What is being done to reach those high risk groups, including those who have not been screened for five years?


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