Cervical Cancer Awareness Week Oct. 20-24

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FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are being urged to observe National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week.

“Cervical cancer screening can save lives. This week is an excellent reminder to New Brunswick women of its critical importance,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “Combined with screening, enhanced education and vaccination are the keys to reducing the risk of developing this disease which kills nearly 400 women in Canada each year.”

Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer for women aged 20-49 in Canada. About 30 New Brunswick women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and 10 will die from the disease.

Women can help prevent cervical cancer by:

  • participating in regular cervical screening through Pap tests;
  • not smoking;
  • avoiding unprotected sex; and
  • getting vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Women should start receiving Pap tests from their primary health care provider at age 21 or three years after initial sexual activity, whichever occurs later. Also, women who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests should be screened once every two to three years.

During Cervical Cancer Awareness Week efforts are made to increase access to Pap tests, especially for women who are most at risk and without a primary health care provider. The New Brunswick Cancer Network, a branch of the Department of Health, has partnered with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada in their efforts to organize Pap test clinics for women across the province during the week. In addition to these clinics, a number of health care providers offer Pap test clinics throughout the year.

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