CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

December 20, 2006

First province-wide appointment-free Pap test inititive is a success

Results are in from the 2006 Pap test week and the Manitoba Cervical Cancer Screening Program (MCCSP) is pleased with the number of women who took up the offer to have an appointment-free Pap test.

"Having 1,578 women make the decision to go and get a Pap test is a great accomplishment," said MCCSP program manager Brenna Shearer-Hood.

"Getting a regular Pap test is important, and I'm pleased to see that so many women took the initiative to go and get tested," said Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Healthy Living. "But while we're happy to see these kinds of results, I want to encourage all women to visit their doctor or go to their community clinic to get tested and reduce their risk of cervical cancer."

Pap tests are key in detecting changes in cells on the cervix. In many cases, if abnormal cells are found, they will never become cancer. But, if left untreated, these cells could grow and over time, become cancerous. During the week of October 23, 78 clinics from around the province opened their doors to women wanting a Pap test without having to make an appointment.

"The support received from the family physicians, nurses, midwives and community health services really made the first province-wide Pap test initiative a success and we are looking to build on this strong base for 2007," said Jean Sander, the MCCSP's health promotion specialist.

The top two reasons women reported seeking a Pap test during the initiative was the fact that they had heard or saw an ad in their community and that no appointment was necessary. Sixty-five percent of the women hadn't had a Pap test in at least two years. Thirty-eight per cent of the women hadn't had a Pap test in at least five years.

"By combining an awareness campaign with easy access, we were able to reach women who are underscreened," said Dr. Bob Lotocki, the MCCSP's Medical Director. "If we continue reaching women, we can significantly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in Manitoba."

In 2006, it is estimated that 45 Manitoba women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. An estimated 15 women will die from the disease.

For additional information about CancerCare Manitoba activities, please contact:

Roberta Koscielny, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
CancerCare Manitoba
Phone:  (204) 787-4540 Toll-free: 1-877-407-2223

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