News Item

October 22, 2013

Putting the focus on Pap testing

Research shows regular Pap tests can prevent up to 80% of cervical cancer

Primary colours. Olympic medals. Pap tests. The common thread? Good things come in 3s!

Since the release of new national guidelines earlier this year, CervixCheck, CancerCare Manitoba has been working to educate health care providers and the public that routine screening using Pap tests should take place every three years.

"Research shows that having a Pap test every year offers very little added benefit over having a Pap test every three years," said Kimberly Templeton, CervixCheck program manager, adding frequent testing can expose women to unnecessary harms including over-diagnosis of abnormal cell changes that would go away on their own. "Like any medical test, we weigh the benefits and risks, and in this case, the harms associated with annual Pap tests outweigh the benefits."

Each year approximately 50 Manitoba women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. According to CervixCheck's data, about 30% of Manitoba women get tested too frequently and over 30% don't get tested enough. CervixCheck recommends most women who have ever been sexually active have a Pap test every three years starting at age 21.

To highlight the every three years message, this October CervixCheck is inviting the public to:

"People like taking pictures and sharing them," said Lesley Baldry, Recruitment & Health Promotion Specialist at CervixCheck, adding that Facebook photo uploads alone are reaching 350 million per day. "We designed the Good things come in 3s!" campaign to be a fun way of increasing awareness about the importance of Pap tests in the spirit of TellEveryWoman.

To make an appointment for a Pap test contact your doctor or nurse. Not sure when your last test was or where to go? Call CervixCheck at 1-855-95-CHECK or visit TellEveryWoman.ca.

For more information:

Communications and Public Affairs, 204-787-4540 or Communications.PublicAffairs@cancercare.mb.ca



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