Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix is found at the opening of the uterus and links the uterus and the vagina.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Regular cervical cancer screening can detect abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix before they become cancerous. Removing or treating these cells can reduce cervical cancer-related deaths.
Currently, cervical cancer is the 3rd most common cancer for Ontario women ages 20 to 44 and the 12th most common for women of all ages.
Starting at age 21, all women who are or have been sexually active should start regular screening for cervical cancer. Based on the latest clinical evidence, most women should be screened every 3 years. Regular screening should continue until at least age 70 or when advised by a doctor or nurse practitioner that you can stop.
Currently, the Pap test (also known as the Pap smear) is the most common means of finding cell changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer. It’s important to learn how to protect yourself with regular Pap tests.
If you haven’t been screened for more than three years, it’s time to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner.
Pap tests can be performed by:
- Your doctor or nurse practitioner. If you don’t have a doctor, you can register for Health Care Connect online or by calling 1-800-445-1822.
- Some public health units and community health centres also provide Pap tests. For information on healthcare services in your community, visit Health Care Connections or call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-532-3616 (Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm; TTY 1-800-387-5559; TTY in Toronto 416-327-4282).
- To find out more about the Ontario Cervical Screening Program: Website link, Visit Cancer Care Ontario or Call ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-523-3161 or in Toronto 416-314-5518; TTY 1-800-387-5559, TTY in Toronto 416-327-4282; Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.