OTTAWA, Oct. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) have launched this year's National Pap Test Campaign, to take place during National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. This is the fourth year for this campaign, which originated as a main project of the FMWC in 2009. From October 21st to 27th, over 150 health-care professionals across Canada are taking a stand against cervical cancer by hosting public Pap test clinics in their community.
Just because a woman feels normal doesn't mean everything is normal.
The Pap test is an excellent way for women to prevent cervical cancer. It is the only way to detect abnormal cells in the cervix which, if left untreated, could develop into cancer. Each year in Canada, 400,000 women receive an abnormal Pap test result, 1,300 to 1,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and almost 400 women die of this disease. The good news is that since 1996, the incidence of cervical cancer has declined and, since 1995, mortality rates have also decreased. The main reasons for these reductions are improved knowledge, the widespread regular use of Pap test screening, and the availability of HPV vaccination.
Dr. Crystal Cannon, President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, is concerned about the women who are not getting screened. "Cervical cancer develops over time. Many women wait to develop signs and symptoms before seeing their doctor. By then, cervical cancer can be very well advanced. Regular Pap tests could have helped prevent the cancer from developing at all."
National guidelines recommend that a woman begin having Pap tests within three years of becoming sexually active or by age 21. A woman should have a Pap test once per year until she has had two normal test results in a row, and then she need only be tested every three years. Women should continue having tests until they are at least 70 years of age. Even if a woman has been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the root cause of most cervical cancer cases, it is still important to get regular Pap tests.
This is one test you do not want to get an "A" on.
While a normal Pap test result means that no abnormal cells were found, the opposite is true for an abnormal Pap test result. It means that there may be irregular cells on the cervix and further testing is required to learn more about them.
There are several potential causes for abnormal Pap test results. The cells on the cervix could be inflamed because of an infection (such as a yeast infection or a sexually transmitted infection). Mild abnormalities that suggest these causes will likely lead to another Pap test in six months, when a possible infection has had time to clear. Most abnormal cells on the cervix that are detected by a Pap test will clear without any treatment.
"Getting an abnormal Pap test result does not mean a woman necessarily has cervical cancer. It only means that something is not quite right with her cervix and that further investigation is required to appropriately evaluate and treat the problem," added Dr. Douglas M. Black, President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
During this campaign, health-care professionals will be donating their valuable time by extending their working hours and/or devoting one or more working days to specifically conduct Pap tests for women in their community, including "walk-ins" (individuals who are not currently their patients). Why? Because Pap tests save lives.
A list of participating health-care professionals and clinics is posted on the FMWC website at www.fmwc.ca.
About the FMWC
The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) is a national organization committed to the professional, social and personal advancement of women physicians and to the promotion of the well-being of women both in the medical profession and in society at large. Established in 1924, the FMWC is also an independent nation member of the Medical Women's International Association. For more information, please visit: www.fmwc.ca.
About the SOGC
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) is one of Canada's oldest national specialty organizations. Established in 1944, the Society's mission is to promote excellence in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and to advance the health of women through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and education. The SOGC represents obstetricians/gynaecologists, family physicians, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in the field of sexual reproductive health. For more information, visit www.sogc.org.
SOURCE: FEDERATION OF MEDICAL WOMEN OF CANADA (FMWC)
For further information:
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REQUEST AN INTERVIEW, PLEASE CONTACT:
Natalie Wright, Director - Communications and Public Education
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Tel: (613) 730-4192 or Toll-free: 1-800-561-2416, ext. 366