Cervical Screening in Canterbury

​​The National Cervical Screening Programme is available to all Canterbury women aged between 20 and 70 years old who have ever been sexually active.

A cervical smear is a screening test to find abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Women are advised to have a cervical smear test every three years. Research shows there is very little extra benefit from having more frequent smears.

Cervical cancer usually takes many years to develop. By having a regular cervical smear, any abnormal cells can be found and treated to stop them from becoming cancer - this can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 percent.

Women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) need to check with their doctor or smear taker whether they still need to have cervical smear tests. Having a smear only takes a few minutes. Some women find it a little uncomfortable, but it should not hurt.

Having a cervical smear test: What you need to know

Cervical smear tests are available at your General Practice team. The cost of a smear test will be what you normally pay to see your doctor or nurse.

Canterbury women can also access cervical smear tests at the following healthcare providers:

  • He Waka Tapu (03 373 8150)

  • Family Planning Association (03 379 0514)

  • National Cervical Screening Programme (0800 729 729)

If you are not sure when your next smear is due, contact your GP or the National Cervical Screening Programme on 0800 729 729.

Hear what other women say about cervical screening


Canterbury National Cervical Screening Programme Manager Vivienne Back discusses the smear taking process and answers some common questions about cervical screening.


A video produced to help Asian women in Canterbury discover more about cervical screening and why it is important to have a smear every three years.


In this video three women from the Canterbury Pacific community talk about the importance of have a regular smear.

For more information about Cervical Screening

Find about more about the National Cervical Screening Programme including frequently asked questions about smear tests and results.

Download or order pamphlets and posters on Cervical Screening.

Visit the HealthInfo website.​

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Page last reviewed: 18 September 2014