Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSO) is teaming with Queen’s University medical students to bring their mobile ‘Pap Party’ to the Napanee Area Community Health Centre next Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Held as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, the mobile screening clinic aims to provide access to a pap smear test for women aged 21 to 69 who don’t have a family doctor. The free clinic is open to women within that age range with no doctor referral necessary.
While cervical cancer may not be the deadliest of all the cancers that affect women, it is among the most preventable.
“It’s such an easy one to be found at a stage well before the cancer has developed,” said Dr. Hugh Langley, Regional primary care lead for CCOSO. “It’s rather unique in that it’s almost always a slow progression and we can find very early changes in the cells of the cervix with a pap smear.”
As with any cancer, the sooner it’s caught, the higher the rate of survival.
It’s estimated that 748 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ontario this year and about 160 will die from it. Langley says if caught early, it’s almost always curable.
Last year a similar screening event was held and of the women screened, 15 per cent showed an abnormality and required a follow up with a physician.
Napanee’s mobile screening next Thursday is one of four that will be held next week, with one in Belleville on Oct. 15, Tyendinaga on Oct. 16 and Kingston on Oct. 17, all from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“What we’re trying to encourage with these events is that any woman over 21 that has been sexually active, if they haven’t had an initial pap smear or it’s been over three years since their initial one, to call their family doctor or nurse practitioner to make an appointment,” added Langley.
The screening process takes about 10 minutes.
In the case of the mobile screening, no appointment is necessary though it’s encouraged to call 1-800-567-5722 to make one to avoid waiting.