Screening: be proactive and stay healthy longer

City GPs encourages screening and early detection and we are happy to talk to you about the different screening programmes.

What is screening?

Screening refers to checking for the earliest signs of or risk factors for disease in people who are well. When the earliest signs of risk or actual disease is detected it is often possible to prevent progression or make changes to prevent the appearance of disease.


Cervical screening

It is recommended that all woman between the ages of 20 and 70, who have ever had sex, should have regular cervical smear tests done every three years.

You may choose to have a cervical smear taken by either a doctor or one of our specially trained nurses.

For further information regarding cervical smears please see


Breast screening

Breast screening [mammogram] can save lives by finding breast cancer early before it spreads.  Women aged between 45 and 65 years can get a free mammogram every two years. 

For further information regarding breast screening please see


Cardiovascular risk

A cardiovascular risk assessment is an estimate of how likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke in the next five years. If you have a 10% risk, it means that if there were 100 people with the same risk as you, we'd expect 10 of them to have a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.

Your risk is calculated based on factors such as your age, gender, cholesterol levels, smoking history, blood pressure, family history and past history.  

There is a new wave of heart disease appearing in relatively younger people, costing New Zealand more than it can afford in human cost, lost productivity and health service dollars. Many effective strategies are not expensive and will not only save lives, also health dollars.

To put this into perspective per day in New Zealand there are around:

  • 30 deaths from cardiovascular disease
  • 22 deaths from cancer
  • 1 from transport accidents

City GPs recommend a cardiovascular risk assessment for all Maori and Pacific people and people from the Indian sub-continent as well as those with known risk factors at age 35 for men and 45 for women.

All others without known risk factors should have an assessment at age 45 for men and 55 for women.

Cardiovascular risk assessment involves taking a medical history, blood tests and examination. A calculation can then be made of the risk of heart attack.


Prostate screening

Routine screening for prostate cancer in all men without symptoms is not recommended in New Zealand at present. 

To help you decide if a prostate check is right for you, the Ministry of Health has developed the Kupe website. It will help you understand the risks, benefits and implications of prostate testing, so you can have an informed conversation with your doctor. 


Bowel screening

The National Bowel Screening Programme is free for men and women aged 60 to 74 years. It aims to save lives by finding bowel cancer at an early stage when it can often be successfully treated.

This screening programme is being rolled out nationwide so may not be available to everyone just yet.

Bowel screening timeline [NB: these dates may change]:

  • 2012 - 6-year pilot began in Waitemata DHB
  • July 2017 – The roll-out of the National Bowel Screening Programme began.
  • 17 July 2017 - Hutt Valley and Wairarapa began screening
  • 1 January 2018 - Waitemata joined the national programme
  • 24 April 2018 - Southern commenced bowel screening
  • 10 July 2018 - Counties Manukau joined
  • 14 August 2018 - Nelson Marlborough joined
  • October 2018 - Hawke's Bay is due to start
  • February 2019 - Lakes
  • Between March and June 2019 - Wanganui and Mid Central (when the new IT System goes live)
  • Between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 - Auckland, Capital and Coast, Tairawhiti, Canterbury and South Canterbury  
  • In 20/21 – Northland, Waikato, West Coast, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki

For further information regarding bowel screening please see