Pap tests encouraged during National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week

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A pair of Southwest locations are joining a national initiative to provide free Pap tests as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week on Oct. 23 to 29.

The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) are launching a National Pap Test Campaign as part of the third annual National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week.

In the Southwest, the Northside Medical Clinic in Swift Current and the Davis Medical Clinic in Eastend are included among a group of 52 Saskatchewan locations participating in the pap test campaign.

The Davis Medical Clinic in Eastend is offering pap tests by appointment only on Oct. 26 during office hours of 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Swift Current's Northside Medical Clinic is providing pap tests on a drop in basis from Oct. 23 to 29 between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. daily.

The Pap test is considered an excellent way for women to prevent cervical cancer. It is the only way to detect abnormal cells in the cervix which, if left untreated, could develop into cancer.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 15 per cent of women have never been screened and 30 per cent have not been screened in the last three years.

Each year in Canada, 400,000 women receive an abnormal Pap test result, 1,300 to 1,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 400 women die of this disease. The good news is that since 1996, the incidence of cervical cancer has declined and, since 1995, mortality rates have also decreased. The main reasons for these reductions are improved knowledge, the widespread regular use of Pap test screening, and the availability of HPV vaccination.

Dr. Nahid Azad, President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, is concerned about the women who are not getting screened.

“Women can beat the odds. Why “roll the dice” when Pap testing is free, quick and effective? As this year’s campaign theme states it so well – Don’t count on luck to save you from cervical cancer. Instead, place your bets on your family physician, gynaecologist, or registered nurse to provide you with your Pap test today,” Dr. Azad stated in a press release.

“With millions of women in Canada who still do not get regular Pap tests and/or their HPV vaccination, this campaign seeks to make it as compelling and as convenient as possible for women to get tested and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in Canada,” added Dr. Mark Heywood, President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Organizations: Federation of Medical Women of Canada, Society of Obstetricians, Northside Medical Clinic Davis Medical Clinic Public Health Agency of Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Swift Current, Eastend Saskatchewan

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