October 21 to 25 is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO) is encouraging people with a cervix to stay up-to-date with regular Pap tests every three years. It is estimated that in 2019 about 748 women in Ontario will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 160 women will die from the disease.
To help encourage cervical cancer screening, CCSEO, in partnership with Queen’s University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology program, will be travelling to communities across southeastern Ontario and running Pap Parties to provide pap tests to people who don’t have a family doctor and are overdue for their pap smear.
“For those who do not have a family physician, these Pap Parties are a great opportunity to be screened for cervical cancer in a fast, supportive and convenient fashion,” says Dr. Hugh Langley, Regional Primary Care Lead at CCSEO. “The pap smear takes just 10 minutes and can detect minor, easily treatable changes in the cervix, well before any cancer can develop.”
Now in its fifth year, the Pap Party will travel to Bancroft, Tyendinaga, Kingston and Napanee. They are staffed by Queen’s University medical students, residents, gynecologists and gynecologic oncologists and staff from the CCSEO.
“Having these Pap Party clinics is an important step in trying to screen for precancerous changes in the cervix and timely treating will reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in our region,” says Dr. Agrawal, physician, and one of the leads for this year’s Pap Party. “A pap is the most effective screening tool we have to reducing cervical cancer by more than 80 per cent in those with a cervix, and by opening it to individuals who may not have a family doctor and are overdue for their pap smear, we are making it easier than ever for them to get screened.”
Last year, 15 per cent of the pap smear tests done at these clinics showed abnormalities that required further follow-up with a physician.
“As a result of the clinic participants taking 10 minutes out of their day to have a pap smear done, we were able to follow-up with them and offer treatment right away, saving them time, stress and worry down the road,” says Dr. Agrawal.
This year the Pap Party clinics will be in:
Bancroft (Professional Services Building) October 21, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Tyendinaga (Community Wellbeing Centre) October 22, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Kingston (Kingston General Hospital site) October 23, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Napanee (Napanee Area Community Health Centre) October 24, 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 Rachel at 1.800.567.5722 extension 7809 or CancerCareSE@KingstonHSC.ca