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Cervical Screening
 

Cervical cancer is preventable. Yet year after year, about 550 women are diagnosed with cancer of the cervix and about 160 women die from this disease in Ontario.

Regular screening is an essential defense against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening can detect early cell changes on the cervix caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. These changes seldom cause any symptoms, but can progress to cancer if not found and, if necessary, treated.

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Updated Ontario Cervical Screening Cytology (Pap test) Guidelines

In 2012, Cancer Care Ontario updated its cervical cancer screening guidelines. The updated guidelines clarify at what age to start screening and the best amount of time to wait between screens.

Screening Recommendations

Cervical cancer screening is recommended every three years for all women starting at age 21 who are or ever have been sexually active.
  • Sexual activity includes intercourse, as well as digital or oral sexual activity involving the genital area with a partner of either gender.
  • Women who are not sexually active by 21 years of age should delay cervical cancer screening until sexually active.
  • Regardless of sexual history, there is no evidence to support screening women under 21 years of age.
  • Based on the latest clinical evidence, cervical cancer screening every three years is effective.
  • Pap tests can stop at age 70 in women who have had three or more normal tests in the prior 10 years.

More Information

Screen for Life - Cancer Screening sees what you can't
Last modified: Tue, Oct 01, 2013
cancer care ontario | action cancer ontario   620 University Avenue Toronto Ontario, Canada M5G 2L7   Phone: 416.971.9800 Fax: 416.971.6888

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