It is estimated that in 2020 about 1,350 women in Canada will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 410 will die from the disease. The most effective way to find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective, is with regular pap tests. In recognition of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO) is giving anyone with a cervix and without a family doctor the opportunity to be screened.
“The test takes just 10 minutes and can detect minor, easily treatable changes in the cervix, well before any cancer can develop,” says Dr. Hugh Langley, Regional Primary Care Lead at CCSEO. “However, if you don’t have a family physician, accessing a pap test can be a challenge.”
In partnership with Queen’s University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the CCSEO is hosting their annual Pap Party event which provides free tests for anyone with a cervix and without a family doctor and are due for their pap smear.
Now in its sixth year, the event will be hosted in Tyendinaga and Kingston. The tests will be performed by Queen’s University medical students and resident physicians under the guidance of medical staff from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Historically, an average of 15 per cent of the pap smear tests done at these clinics show abnormalities that require further follow-up with a physician.
“As a result of the clinic participants taking a few minutes out of their day to have a pap smear done, we were able to follow-up with them and offer simple and timely treatment, saving them time, stress and worry down the road,” says Dr. Langley.
This year, the pap parties will look a little different due to safety precautions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants will be screened before they enter the facility, are required to wear a mask, and appointments will be scheduled to allow for additional cleaning measures in between patients.
“They won’t be ‘parties’ per say. There won’t be refreshments or socializing like in years past,” says Dr. Langley. “But the most important thing is that we are still offering booked appointments at no cost. We are fortunate to be able to do this type of screening during a pandemic. These are important tests that shouldn’t be delayed.”
This year the Pap Party clinics will be in:
- Tyendinaga (Community Wellbeing Centre) October 19, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
- Kingston (Kingston Health Sciences Centre – KGH site) October 20, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Anyone without a family doctor or nurse practitioner who is interested in booking an appointment at any of the above clinic locations is asked to call Taryn at 613-549-6666 extension 6071 or CancerCareSE@KingstonHSC.ca