Make time for your Pap test with the Ontario Cervical Screening Program

Opinion Oct 05, 2017 by Dustin Costescu Ancaster News

Summer is behind us, the kids have returned to school and routine is back in our lives. Fall is the season for getting back on track and this extends to healthy habits like screening for cancer prevention and early detection.

With this in mind, I encourage women to make time for their Pap test through the Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP). This province-wide program is administered by Cancer Care Ontario. Its goal is to help prevent and reduce the number of deaths from cervical cancer. The OCSP provides women aged 21 to 69 with access to free, high-quality cervical cancer screening every three years with a Pap test by their family doctor or nurse practitioner. Women who face barriers to cancer screening are able to visit the Screen for Life Mobile Coach — a 45-foot-long bus that offers cervical, breast and colon cancer screening in Hamilton neighbourhoods with low screening rates as well as at Six Nations and New Credit reserves. The coach’s schedule can be found at hnhbscreenforlife.ca

Pap tests are for women who are or have ever been sexually active. Pap tests are also recommended for members of the LGBTQ community who were born with a cervix.

The province’s goal is to see 85 per cent of eligible Ontario residents participate in cervical screening, but the number sits at 61 per cent provincially. In the area served by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program, which also includes Burlington and Norfolk, we’re at 62 per cent. The number of people who return for screening every three years is also declining provincially and regionally.

Those numbers are sad to see, because cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely followup of abnormal results and HPV immunization. Cervical cancer is usually very slow to develop and starts as a precancerous condition with no symptoms. A Pap test is the only way to detect this precancerous condition so that it can be treated and never develops into cancer. That’s why it’s so important for women to stay up-to-date with their Pap tests.

The OCSP sends residents letters when it’s time for their Pap test. Instead of putting it in the `to do’ pile of paperwork, I urge you to book your test. It’s worth making the time, because in the later stages cervical cancer is much more difficult to treat.

Each year, about 630 women in Ontario are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 150 die from this disease. Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. If you’re due, or overdue, contact your health care provider today and book your Pap test. If you don’t have a health care provider, consider visiting the Screen for Life Mobile Coach.

As the father of two young girls, I understand that life gets busy and parents’ needs often wind up at the bottom of your family’s to-do lists. I encourage you to get back on track with cervical screening by moving yourself to the top of this list for the few minutes that it takes for this test.

 — Dr. Dustin Costescu is the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Colposcopy/Cervical Lead and an Assistant Professor and Family Planning Specialist at McMaster University.

Make time for your Pap test with the Ontario Cervical Screening Program

Opinion Oct 05, 2017 by Dustin Costescu Ancaster News

Summer is behind us, the kids have returned to school and routine is back in our lives. Fall is the season for getting back on track and this extends to healthy habits like screening for cancer prevention and early detection.

With this in mind, I encourage women to make time for their Pap test through the Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP). This province-wide program is administered by Cancer Care Ontario. Its goal is to help prevent and reduce the number of deaths from cervical cancer. The OCSP provides women aged 21 to 69 with access to free, high-quality cervical cancer screening every three years with a Pap test by their family doctor or nurse practitioner. Women who face barriers to cancer screening are able to visit the Screen for Life Mobile Coach — a 45-foot-long bus that offers cervical, breast and colon cancer screening in Hamilton neighbourhoods with low screening rates as well as at Six Nations and New Credit reserves. The coach’s schedule can be found at hnhbscreenforlife.ca

Pap tests are for women who are or have ever been sexually active. Pap tests are also recommended for members of the LGBTQ community who were born with a cervix.

The province’s goal is to see 85 per cent of eligible Ontario residents participate in cervical screening, but the number sits at 61 per cent provincially. In the area served by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program, which also includes Burlington and Norfolk, we’re at 62 per cent. The number of people who return for screening every three years is also declining provincially and regionally.

Those numbers are sad to see, because cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely followup of abnormal results and HPV immunization. Cervical cancer is usually very slow to develop and starts as a precancerous condition with no symptoms. A Pap test is the only way to detect this precancerous condition so that it can be treated and never develops into cancer. That’s why it’s so important for women to stay up-to-date with their Pap tests.

The OCSP sends residents letters when it’s time for their Pap test. Instead of putting it in the `to do’ pile of paperwork, I urge you to book your test. It’s worth making the time, because in the later stages cervical cancer is much more difficult to treat.

Each year, about 630 women in Ontario are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 150 die from this disease. Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. If you’re due, or overdue, contact your health care provider today and book your Pap test. If you don’t have a health care provider, consider visiting the Screen for Life Mobile Coach.

As the father of two young girls, I understand that life gets busy and parents’ needs often wind up at the bottom of your family’s to-do lists. I encourage you to get back on track with cervical screening by moving yourself to the top of this list for the few minutes that it takes for this test.

 — Dr. Dustin Costescu is the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Colposcopy/Cervical Lead and an Assistant Professor and Family Planning Specialist at McMaster University.

Make time for your Pap test with the Ontario Cervical Screening Program

Opinion Oct 05, 2017 by Dustin Costescu Ancaster News

Summer is behind us, the kids have returned to school and routine is back in our lives. Fall is the season for getting back on track and this extends to healthy habits like screening for cancer prevention and early detection.

With this in mind, I encourage women to make time for their Pap test through the Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP). This province-wide program is administered by Cancer Care Ontario. Its goal is to help prevent and reduce the number of deaths from cervical cancer. The OCSP provides women aged 21 to 69 with access to free, high-quality cervical cancer screening every three years with a Pap test by their family doctor or nurse practitioner. Women who face barriers to cancer screening are able to visit the Screen for Life Mobile Coach — a 45-foot-long bus that offers cervical, breast and colon cancer screening in Hamilton neighbourhoods with low screening rates as well as at Six Nations and New Credit reserves. The coach’s schedule can be found at hnhbscreenforlife.ca

Pap tests are for women who are or have ever been sexually active. Pap tests are also recommended for members of the LGBTQ community who were born with a cervix.

The province’s goal is to see 85 per cent of eligible Ontario residents participate in cervical screening, but the number sits at 61 per cent provincially. In the area served by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program, which also includes Burlington and Norfolk, we’re at 62 per cent. The number of people who return for screening every three years is also declining provincially and regionally.

Those numbers are sad to see, because cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely followup of abnormal results and HPV immunization. Cervical cancer is usually very slow to develop and starts as a precancerous condition with no symptoms. A Pap test is the only way to detect this precancerous condition so that it can be treated and never develops into cancer. That’s why it’s so important for women to stay up-to-date with their Pap tests.

The OCSP sends residents letters when it’s time for their Pap test. Instead of putting it in the `to do’ pile of paperwork, I urge you to book your test. It’s worth making the time, because in the later stages cervical cancer is much more difficult to treat.

Each year, about 630 women in Ontario are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 150 die from this disease. Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. If you’re due, or overdue, contact your health care provider today and book your Pap test. If you don’t have a health care provider, consider visiting the Screen for Life Mobile Coach.

As the father of two young girls, I understand that life gets busy and parents’ needs often wind up at the bottom of your family’s to-do lists. I encourage you to get back on track with cervical screening by moving yourself to the top of this list for the few minutes that it takes for this test.

 — Dr. Dustin Costescu is the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Colposcopy/Cervical Lead and an Assistant Professor and Family Planning Specialist at McMaster University.