Cervical cancer can be prevented or successfully treated with regular screening, HPV vaccination, and early treatment. Yet, in 2015, cervical cancer screening rates in northeastern Ontario were less than the provincial average.
April is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer Care Ontario is partnering with the Northeast Cancer Centre at Health Sciences North to encourage women to put their health first and book a Pap test, a screening test that looks for abnormal cervical cell changes — currently the only way to detect the early changes that might lead to cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer screening is recommended for women aged 21 to 69 every three years if they are or have ever been sexually active. Almost 500,000 Ontario women between the ages of 35 and 49 are overdue for cervical cancer screening.
“Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly,” said Dr. Amanda Hey, regional primary care lead for the Northeast Cancer Centre, in a press release. “Knowing this, it’s so important for women to make sure they are up to date with their screening. A Pap test can be done at a woman’s family doctor or nurse practitioner office. If a woman doesn’t have a primary care provider, the test may also be available at a walk-in clinic or sexual-health clinic.”
During the month of April, the Northeast Cancer Centre is working with regional partners and stakeholders to educate women about the benefits of screening and highlight the importance of getting a Pap test every three years.
“Many women in their 30s and 40s are busy taking care of others and may not make the time to focus on their own health,” said Dr. Joan Murphy, clinical lead, with the Ontario Cervical Screening Program, in a press release. "Our goal this month is to increase awareness about cervical cancer screening and encourage these women to book a Pap test if they haven’t had one in the past three years. Getting screened could save your life.”
Call your doctor to book your Pap test today or visit cancercare.on.ca/paptest to find a clinic near you.