A simple screening check could save your life

Hawke’s Bay wāhine who have lost family members to cancer are urging others to get checked – because it could save a life of a loved one.

Patricia Anne Neera, lost her sister to breast cancer when she was just 52 and 10 years later she still misses her dearly every day.

“She was my best friend.”

Ms Neera acknowledges she took some convincing to get her own breasts checked, but she did, and then she took her sister along to get checked – that’s when they discovered cancer.

Her sister underwent chemo and passed away about a year after the diagnosis.

Ms Neera says if her sister had got herself checked sooner, they could’ve caught the cancer sooner and her chances of beating it would have been better.

Vicki Aranui has a similar story. She lost her mum to cervical cancer, aged just 56.

“My mum never had a smear and she didn’t go to the doctor until she was in pain. That’s when they discovered she had cervical cancer.”

She too underwent chemo but died within six months.

Ms Aranui says she feels sad that her youngest children are growing up without their nan around.

Both wāhine are urging others to get checked for breast and cervical cancer at the free clinic in Flaxmere.

“Get your breasts checked, no matter what, Ms Neera says.

“Don’t be afraid, don’t be whakamā, just go out and get it done.”

Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay Population Screening Team Leader Annette Davis says 80 percent of wāhine who have cervical cancer are either unscreened or have not had a cervical smear for five years or more.

“With regular cervical screening any changes on the cervix can be detected and treated before they become cancers.

“Regular mammograms can save lives by finding breast cancer early. A mammogram can detect a lump as small as two millimetres which a woman wouldn’t be able to feel by doing a self-check,” Mrs Davis says

“Although uncomfortable and for some, embarrassing, these health checks are absolutely essential and could save your life.”

The Breast Screening Aotearoa mobile van is in Flaxmere until Friday 23 September along with a separate van for cervical screening.

Mrs Davis says wāhine due for either their mammogram or cervical smear or both can come down to Flaxmere, outside the Cook Islands Community Centre to get these essential health checks done. 

Free Flu, Covid-19 and MMR vaccinations are also available for those who are eligible.

Walk-ins are welcome or you can book by calling 0800 729 729.

For a full list of hours and eligibility please see:


For further information see: https://www.timetoscreen.nz/

Watch Patricia Anne Neera urge others to get screened here:


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