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Getting a Pap test could save your life

This April, Cancer Care Ontario is partnering with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) to encourage women to put their health first and book a Pap test to get screened for cervical cancer. A Pap test is a safe, easy and effective screening test. It’s the only way to detect early and abnormal cell changes in the cervix and treat them before they become cancerous.

Cervical cancer screening is recommended for women aged 21 to 69 every three years if they are or ever have been sexually active, but almost half a million Ontario women between the ages of 35 and 49 are overdue for cervical cancer screening. In 2015, approximately 640 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ontario and about 150 women died from the disease.

“Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly,” says Lysanne Trudeau, Program Manager, Early Detection of Cancer at the EOHU. “That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re up-to-date with your screening. A Pap test can be done at your family doctor’s office. If you don’t have a doctor, you can get a test done at a Carefor Health and Community Services clinic.” For more information, visit Carefor’s website.

How a Pap test can help prevent cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, which is located at the opening of the uterus. This type of cancer is caused by persistent infections of cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a virus that is passed from one person to another through intimate sexual activity and genital skin-to-skin contact. HPV infections are common and most sexually active men and women will acquire an HPV infection in their lifetime.

The Canadian Cancer Society offers a range of free cancer information and support services. These services are confidential and many are available in multiple languages. To speak with a Cancer Information Specialist, call 1 888 939-3333 or visit cancer.ca. For more information about cervical cancer, visit the EOHU’s website or contact the EOHU by calling 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120 and asking for Health Line.
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