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Cervical Cancer Awareness Week begins today

This includes women, transgender men and gender non-binary people
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2018-05-17 Cancer
Cancer cells. Photo/ The Ottawa Hospital

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) recommends cervical screening every three years for anyone with a cervix, between the ages of 21 to 69, who have ever been sexually active. This includes women, transgender men and gender non-binary people.

While cervical cancer can almost always be prevented with regular screening and follow up of abnormal results, 750 people are diagnosed with the disease each year and 160 people will die from it.

“Most cervical cancers are found in people who have never been screened or have been screened less often than recommended by Ontario’s cervical screening guidelines,” said Dr. Jennifer Jocko, Regional Cervical Screening and Colposcopy Lead for Northeastern Ontario. “Regular screening can detect abnormal cells, which when treated, can prevent cancer from developing.”

The OCSP recommends regular cervical screening even if people:

  • Feel healthy and have no symptoms;
  • Are no longer sexually active;
  • Have only had one partner;
  • Are in a same-sex relationship;
  • Have been through menopause;
  • Have no family history of cervical cancer; and/or
  • Have received the HPV vaccine.

The most common cause of cervical cancer is the Human papillomavirus which is a very common family of viruses that is passed between people through intimate sexual contact.  There are 100 different types of HPV, 14 of which are cancer-causing.

HPV infections are common, and up to 80 per cent of sexually active people will have an infection in their lifetime. HPV infections and these early cell changes usually cause no symptoms and would go undetected without cervical screening.

People should talk to their family doctor or nurse practitioner about cervical screening or visit www.cancercareontario.ca/ccaw for more information.




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