The BC Cancer Agency is urging women to get screened for cervical cancer by getting a Pap test during Pap Awareness Week, Oct. 23 to 29. There will be three clinics offered on the Sunshine Coast, in Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour.
The first is from Oct. 24 to 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Gibsons Health Unit. Appointments and drop-ins are available with a nurse or nurse practitioner. For more, information call 604-886-5600.
On Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can get a test done in Pender Harbour at the Health Centre. Appointments and drop-ins are available with a nurse or nurse practitioner. For more information, call 604-886-5600.
The final clinic is on Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sechelt Indian Band Hall (for Band members). Appointments and drop-ins are available with a nurse or nurse practitioner. For more information, call 604-886-5600.
A Pap test is used to collect a sample of cells from the cervix that is then sent to the BC Cancer Agency to check for any abnormal changes. Pap Awareness Week highlights the importance of regular screening in detecting the early warning signs of cervical cancer.
"Women who are screened regularly are at a lower risk for cervical cancer," said Dr. Dirk van Niekerk, medical leader of the Cervical Cancer Screening Program at the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.
"A Pap test can detect precancerous cells, which, if treated early, can stop the cancer from developing. It can also identify cancer at an early stage, when there are more treatment options available, and cure rates are over 80 per cent."
The BC Cancer Agency recommends that women start having Pap tests at age 21 or approximately three years after first sexual contact. Screening should continue every year until a woman has three normal results in a row, and then every two years until age 69.