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11/04/2016
Many Ontario women aged 35 to 49 are overdue for a Pap test
 
This April, Cancer Care Ontario is encouraging women to put their health first and get screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test. A Pap test is a simple screening test that looks for abnormal cervical cell changes. It’s the only way to detect the early changes that might lead to cervical cancer. 
 
Cervical cancer screening is recommended for Ontario women aged 21 to 69 every three years if they are or ever have been sexually active, but almost half a million women between the ages of 35 and 49 are overdue for cervical cancer screening.
 
“Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely follow-up of abnormal results and HPV immunization,” says Dr. Rachael Halligan, Regional Primary Care Lead with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program. “In Ontario, however, almost half a million women aged 35 to 49 are overdue for a Pap test. We want women to know that they need to get screened every three years, even if they don’t have a family history of the disease or are not currently sexually active. The simple test could save your life.”
 
Regular screening is particularly important as most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. In Ontario, approximately 640 women aged 35 to 49 were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015 and about 150 women within the same age group died from the disease.
 
 
Over the next few weeks, Cancer Care Ontario and its Regional Cancer Programs are hosting local events to inform women about the benefits of screening and highlight the importance of getting a Pap test every three years.  
 
Public events throughout Waterloo Wellington region include: 
City of Kitchener Wellness Fair on April 13 at the City Hall Rotunda
Living Well Festival 2016 on April 30 at the Wilmot Recreation Complex in Baden
Fergus Home & Leisure Show on May 4-6
Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program will have a table display with information to educate women about the benefits of screening and highlight the importance of getting a Pap test every three years.  
 
This month, we encourage you to speak to your patients, colleagues and loved ones about getting screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test. It’s a simple test and starting a conversation about screening could save a life.  
 
If you’re a physician and you’re interested in learning which of your patients are overdue for cancer screening, you can access this data through Cancer Care Ontario’s Screening Activity Report. More information about the online tool is available at https://www.cancercare.on.ca/pcs/primcare/sar/.  
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