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October 25, 2004
For immediate release

Regular Screening for Cervical Cancer Crucial to Women’s Health

Health and Social Services

More than 30 per cent of Island women do not have regular screening for cervical cancer, a factor that contributes to the province’s higher than average rate of cervical cancer. In an effort to ensure that women understand the importance of regular Pap screening, the organizers of Pap Screening Awareness Week, October 24 to 30, are launching a media campaign to encourage women between the ages of 18 and 69 to have regular tests and to provide information regarding clinic dates and locations.

The campaign, sponsored by the PEI Department of Health and Social Services, the Medical Society of PEI, and the PEI Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, includes television, radio and newspaper ads; public presentations; and posters.

The posters feature Cathy Jones of “This Hour has 22 Minutes,“ and will be distributed province wide through physician and public health nursing offices, local pharmacies, family resource centres, women’s groups, shopping malls and hairdressers.

Heather MacMillan, Pap Awareness Coordinator, says many women do not realise how important prevention is. “More than 90 per cent of the incidences of cervical cancer can be prevented with regular testing. Women need to be aware that prevention is key,” MacMillan notes. “Early cell changes cannot be detected without a Pap test. By raising awareness, we can help detect and treat cell changes early, before cancer develops.” MacMillan encourages women to be screened for cervical cancer at least every two years.

Woman may visit their family doctor for a Pap test, or they may prefer to book an appointment at the Pap screening clinic in Cornwall. Additionally, outreach Pap clinics have been scheduled across PEI between October 25 and December 13. A registered nurse trained to conduct Pap tests will be holding clinics in Rustico, Charlottetown, O’Leary, Summerside, Crapaud, Souris, and Montague. Information regarding times and dates will be advertised in advance of each clinic.

MacMillan emphasizes that women need to take care of their health not only for themselves, but for their loved ones. “Having regular Pap tests continues to be a woman’s best protection against the development of cervical cancer,” MacMillan says, “Take care of yourself. Your family and friends will thank you.”

To make an appointment at the Pap Screening Clinic, call 368-2010 or toll-free 1-866-818-7277. For more information on the Pap Screening Awareness Campaign or the Pap Screening Clinic, please contact Heather MacMillan at (902) 368-4951.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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