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Pap-A-Palooza returns to northwestern Ontario

By CJ Goater Apr 3, 2024 | 3:00 PM

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The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and healthcare organizations across northwestern Ontario are hosting their seventh annual Pap-A-Palooza campaign.

The month-long event brings awareness to cervical screening and encourages eligible individuals to book a Pap test.

The test is a screening test that can detect cell changes in the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer before people feel any symptoms.

“Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, follow-up of abnormal results, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine,” explained the Ontario Health – Cancer Care Ontario Regional Colposcopy and Cervical Screening Lead for the North West region Dr. Naana Jumah. “However, only around 50% of eligible individuals in Northwestern Ontario have participated in cervical screening.”

“Most cervical cancers are found in individuals who have never been screened or have been screened less often than recommended by Ontario’s cervical screening guidelines,” stated Dr. Jumah. “Regular cervical screening is important because it can find early changes that could lead to cervical cancer. Treating these changes can prevent cervical cancer from developing.”

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends having a Pap test every three years once you have become sexually active or are between the ages of 25 to 69.

The goal of this year’s campaign is to complete 800 pap tests.

To find a participating clinic near you or to learn more about Pap-A-Palooza, click here.