Pap Screening and Cervical Cancer Prevention
What is a Pap test?
- Pap tests are done by a health care provider (i.e., family physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse) in their office.
- A Pap test is a procedure that removes a small sample of cells from the cervix so that they can be examined under a microscope.
- The sample of cells is monitored for any abnormal changes.
- Pap tests make sure these changes are not missed and cancer does not develop.
Why should women have regular Pap tests?
- Cervical cancer can be prevented by having regular Pap tests.
- There are no symptoms to let you know a Pap test is needed.
When should women have a Pap test?
- There have been recent changes to Pap screening guidelines in PEI.
- You should start screening at 21 years of age if you have every been sexually active. Sexual activity includes intercourse as well as oral or touch with a partner's genital area, male or female.
- If you have not been sexually active by 21 years of age you can delay screening until you do become sexually active.
- It is recommended that all women who have ever been sexually active have a regular Pap test every 2 years.
- There is no need for more frequent Pap testing unless you need follow up to an abnormal test. This will be directed by your health care provider.
- All women 65 years of age, who have had 3 negative Pap tests in the last 10 years, can discontinue screening.
- If you are over 65 years of age and have not had 3 negative Pap tests in the previous 10 years, please continue screening until you do, or consult with your health care provider.
Pap testing is done by a family physician, a nurse practitioner, or a registered nurse. To get an appointment for a Pap test you can do one of the following:
How do women get screened for cervical cancer in PEI?
- Call your family doctor's or nurse practitioner's office
- Call the PEI Pap Screening Clinic in Cornwall at 368-2010 or toll-free 1-866-818-7277.