A three-year pilot scheme offering subsidised cervical cancer screening is set to launch on Wednesday, and aims to provide assistance to low-income women in Hong Kong. The scheme, implemented by the Department of Health with a HK$78.6 million budget from the Community Care Fund, is expected to benefit about 66,000 residents receiving financial assistance from the government. Doctors recommend that those aged between 25 and 64 and who have had sex, as well as the elderly aged 65 and above who have never been tested before, should be screened. The fight to rid Hong Kong of cervical cancer Dr Regina Ching Cheuk-tuen from the department said the scheme was intended to reduce the risk of cervical cancer among low-income women. Dr Karen Chan Kar-loen, junior vice-president of the College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said risk factors for cervical cancer include multiple sex partners and smoking. But another problem was the failure to be screened and detect the disease early. “Through regular screening, precancerous cervical cellular changes can be detected early and treated to prevent progression to cancer,” Chan said. Under the scheme, screening is free for those who are on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, as well as for women whose medical charges have been waived in public hospitals and clinics. Deprived young Hong Kong women to receive subsidised cervical cancer shots Those who are on other types of assistance, such as the Old Age Living Allowance and Low-income Working Family Allowance, will have to pay HK$100. Screenings will be available at 10 centres under three service providers: the Family Planning Association, United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service and Chinese University’s Centre of Research and Promotion of Women’s Health. Cervical cancer was the seventh most common cancer for Hong Kong women in 2015, with 500 new cases recorded. Last year, 151 women died from the disease.