Screenings for cervical cancer and other types of preventive measures will be more necessary in New Zealand, as cancer becomes the leading cause of death in the country.
By 2035, the Cancer Society expects an increase of 50 per cent in the number of cancer patients. Hospital and clinics will need more accessories from a vaginal speculum to more complex – electrosurgical equipment.
The Ministry of Health said that over 23,000 Kiwis become diagnosed with cancer each year, while more than 9,500 succumb to the illness annually. This fatality rate is equivalent to 31 per cent of all deaths nationwide. The higher rate stems from an ageing population, although genetics serve as another factor.
Breast, colorectal, prostate, melanoma and lung cancers comprise the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the country. At least six out of 10 diagnosed cases involve these five types of cancers. While cervical cancer isn’t on the most common list, people especially women should still be proactive in screening themselves regularly.
New Zealand may have a high-quality health care system, yet many poor regions still don’t have access to services particularly pap smear tests for cervical screenings. A New Zealand Medical Journal study claimed that just 13 per cent of approximately 644 women with cervical cancer had been screened regularly every three years.
The study noted that one way to encourage more women to participate in cervical screening entails financial incentives for general practitioners. The screening rates are the lowest among women in the Māori and Pacific regions. If clinics and hospitals in these areas receive enough cash assistance, it would be easier to prevent more cervical cancer cases.
As cancer rates increase in New Zealand, demand for preventive surgeries and screening tests will rise at the same time. Medical facilities need to be prepared and well-equipped to accommodate this anticipated need for better healthcare.