CHARLOTTETOWN — As Prince Edward Island observes Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, Health P.E.I. is outlining changes to current cervical cancer screening guidelines hoped to maximize the benefits of screening for Island women while minimizing the harms.
“Over the past 30 years, the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Prince Edward Island has decreased by more than 40 per cent which is a strong reflection of good cancer screening practices,” said Marla Delaney, Health P.E.I. program co-ordinator. “Health P.E.I. has recently updated the provincial cervical cancer screening guidelines based on the latest scientific research and evidence which will allow Island women to benefit from better screening practices.”
She added the changes better align provincial guidelines with national recommendations and screening guidelines adopted by other health-care jurisdictions across the country.
About two thirds of eligible women in Island get screened for cervical cancer by having a Pap test.
Changes to the provincial cervical cancer screening guidelines include:
— That cervical-cancer screening should begin at 21 years of age for women who are or have been sexually active;
— If not sexually active by age 21, cervical cancer screening can be delayed until sexual activity begins;
— Cervical cancer screening should be scheduled for every two years (there is no need for more frequent screening unless follow-up is required due to an abnormal screening outcome); and,
— Women 65 years of age and older, who have had three normal Pap tests within the previous 10 years, can discontinue screening.
A provincial working group was formed earlier this year that included health-care professionals from across the province to examine the latest information and to revise clinical practice guidelines for cervical cancer screening in P.E.I.
Women can make an appointment with their family doctor, nurse practitioner or primary care nurse for a Pap test. They can also make an appointment with the P.E.I. Pap Screening Clinic by calling 368-2010 or toll-free 1-866-818-7277.
For more information, please visit: www.healthpei.ca/papscreening.