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Let’s send Pap screening rates soaring!

Pap Test Awareness Week Oct 25-31


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The Cervical Screening Initiatives program campaign for Pap Test Awareness Week launch will be coupled with a mail out to all physicians reminding each of you how important the physician prompt is in screening more women.

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The Cervical Screening Initiatives program campaign for Pap Test Awareness Week this year will include a community balloon launch in each region with a vision of “sending Pap screening rates soaring.” This initiative will be coupled with a mail out to all physicians reminding each of you how important the physician prompt is in screening more women. We are also encouraging the hosting of Pap test clinics during October in celebration of provincial Pap Test Awareness Week.

In addition, the program will be launching a “Spa Tacular” campaign through all beauty salons in the province to promote the importance of cervical screening. Each woman who visits a participating salon will be eligible to enter her name for a chance to win a salon gift certificate and will also be made aware of the message that Pap testing is important. “We will keep spreading the word on Pap testing,” says Lori Harnett, Women’s Health Educator with the program. “However, we need more opportunities for women to access service.”

The Cervical Screening Initiatives program began in the Western Region of the province, while maintaining linkages and expanding to all other regions. The program is currently well established across the province. The strong partnerships the program has formed with many service providers across the province are testimony to this.

The program is an organized approach to cervical screening aimed at educating the public and increasing participation rates. In Newfoundland and Labrador, about 85,000 women are screened annually and about 8,000 will have an abnormal Pap test each year. Unfortunately, that leaves about 140,000 women who are not screened.

Newfoundland and Labrador does an excellent job in promoting cervical screening, but screening rates in the province remain low. Many times Pap testing, like other preventative health care, can get put on the back burner.

Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in Canada. The Pap test, which takes only a few minutes, and done yearly, could save a woman’s life. It is estimated for every three women diagnosed with cervical cancer this year one woman will die. More than 60 per cent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer did not have a Pap test for many years before their diagnosis, if ever. With the very simple Pap test this cancer can be prevented.

Lori Harnett, B. Ed, MBA is the Women’s Health Educator with the Cervical Screening Initiatives program. She can be reached at (709) 643-8719 or by e-mail.

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