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Ed Sheeran

Test kits could boost cancer awareness

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Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer says a fellow MP’s cancer diagnosis highlights the need for access to home self-testing kits.

Conservation and Emergency Response Minister Kirtiapu Allan has taken leave from her portfolios while she has treatment for stage three cervical cancer.

Ms Ngarewa Packer says all too often wāhine put their whānau and mahi first and neglect their own health.

She says it’s a reminder for women to keep up with the smears - and there should be ways to make that easier.

"If women were able to do a much different way of testing that having to go into the doctors and having to expose yourself, in a way that is sometimes the reason we don't. The inequities that come in cancer and the things we confront as wāhine in cancer do need to continuously be pushed so we can get the support we need at an early stage," she says.

Debbie Ngarewa Packer says she agrees with a Twitter comment, that if cervical cancer were a disease of white males, self-testing kits would be available.

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