Faculty of Health experts call for government to ‘push the button’ on self-testing following Minister Kiritapu Allan’s cervical cancer diagnosis

Professor Bev Lawton and Research Fellow Anna Adcock from the Faculty of Health's Centre for Women's Health Research have been in the media calling for the government to introduce self-testing for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Bev Lawtown
Professor Bev Lawton

Research published by the University’s Te Tātai Hauora o Hine—Centre for Women’s Health Research has shown the offer of an HPV self-test could increase the uptake of cervical screening by almost three times for under-screened Māori women.

Following Kiritapu Allan’s diagnosis of stage 3 cervical cancer, Professor Bev Lawton and Research Fellow Anna Adcock have been called upon to comment in a range of national and international media on the current cervical cancer screening system, which they say is letting down Māori women in particular. "Māori women have two times higher incidence of cervical cancer than New Zealand European women," Ms Adcock says.

Professor Lawton says a national programme needs to get started now as it will take 18 months to two years from initiation for the rollout to reach women.

Professor Lawton and Ms Adcock were both saddened by the news of Minister Kiritapu Allan's diagnosis. Despite the new awareness this has generated around the issue, Ms Adcock says she "would much prefer it that no one was being harmed, and we didn’t need to talk about it.”

Media coverage includes:

Guardian article 'New Zealand Minister's cervical cancer diagnosis prompts calls for better screening'

RNZ piece and Stuff article 'Advocates push for HPV self-testing start after Kiri Allan Cancer Diagnosis'

1 News 'Health Leader baffled why cervical HPV self-test not funded'

1 News 'In wake of Kiri Allan diagnosis advocates push HPV self testing to overcome shocking statistics for Māori women'

1 News 'Introducting mana-enhancing self-test could help lower cervical cancer rates among Māori campaigner says'

Stuff article 'Cervical cancer - why women avoid getting smears'

This follows on from media coverage earlier this year on the need for a women’s health strategy, supported by a petition by the Gender Justice Collective – Gender gap: Health strategy urgently needed as 'women are dying' - experts say | Stuff.co.nz