KUALA LUMPUR: The government is stepping up efforts to have more women take pre-cervical cancer screenings using the simple self-sampling kit.

“Previously we could only detect cervical cancer through the pap smear test and that required women to undress that maybe embarrassing for some, but now all it takes is a simple self-sampling kit to be sent to the lab to get results,“ Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said at the launch of the Etiqa free cervical screening programme at SMK Pandan Mewah today.

She said the government is stepping up efforts to have more women take pre-cervical cancer screening tests to prevent late detection of the disease.

She said cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer for women, after breast cancer and colorectal cancer, and should be taken seriously.

Wan Azizah said she is also heartened that private companies like Etiqa are working with ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening) to offer innovative solutions in detecting human papilloma (HPV) virus.

“We hope more companies will come forward to create this initiative so that it will benefit more women,“ she added.

Through this free cervical screening programme, 6,000 women from the B40 group nationwide are chosen to take a self-sampling kit for free, take a vaginal swab privately, and then have it sent over to the lab and have the results known in two weeks.

Wan Azizah said the government, through the national population and family development board (LPPKN), is also offering HPV DNA tests for women, with results to be known within a month.

“The government is setting aside RM7 million for this purpose,“ she said.

She added that 14,875 women have taken the HPV DNA test from January to July at LPPKN’s Klinik Nur Sejahtera.