Cervical Cancer Screening

Cervical cancer can affect anyone with a cervix who has ever been sexually active. It is almost entirely preventable with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, regular screening, and appropriate and timely follow-up of abnormal results. Women between the ages of 21 and 69, who ever been sexually active, should have a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer every three years. Most cervical cancers are found in women who have never been screened or have been screened less often than recommended by Ontario’s cervical screening guidelines. That’s why regular screening is so important.


What is a Pap test?

A Pap test is a simple screening test that can help to prevent cervical cancer. A Pap test looks for abnormal cell changes on the cervix. It does not test for other cancers in the reproductive organs or for sexually transmitted infections.


A Pap test is done in a health care provider’s office. An instrument, called a speculum, is gently inserted into the vagina so the cervix can be seen. Cells are taken from the cervix and are sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.

When should I be screened for cervical cancer?

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program is the provincial cervical cancer screening program that aims to prevent and reduce deaths from cervical cancer. As part of the program, you will receive letters reminding you when you are due for your next screening and result letters notifying you of your screening results. The program recommends that women have a Pap test if they are between 21 and 69 years of age and have ever been sexually active.


Women still need to be screened for cervical cancer if they:

  • Feel healthy and have no symptoms;
  • Are no longer sexually active;
  • Have only had one partner;
  • Are in a same-sex relationship;
  • Have been through menopause;
  • Have no family history of cervical cancer;
  • Have received the HPV vaccine.

Women who have had a hysterectomy should talk to their healthcare provider to see if they need to continue having Pap tests.

Where can you get screened?

There are many choices of where women can be screened for cervical cancer:

Thunder Bay District Health Unit
Sexual Health Clinic
999 Balmoral St.
Thunder Bay, ON
(807) 625-5976

Northwestern Health Unit Sexual Health Clinics:

Kenora
Health Unit – Market Square
Monday: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
209-308 Second Street South
Phone: 468-4503
Toll Free: 1-800-830-5978
Beaver Brae High School
Monday: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Dryden
Health Unit
Monday: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
75D Van Horne Avenue
Phone: 223-8777
Toll Free: 1-888-404-4231
Dryden High School
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Fort Frances
Health Unit
Monday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
396 Scott St.
Phone: 274-9371
Toll Free: 1-800-461-3348
Fort Frances High School
Monday: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Red Lake
Health Unit
Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
234 Howey Street
Phone: 727-2626
Toll Free: 1-800-461-3348
Red Lake District High School
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Sioux Lookout
Health Unit
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
47B Front St.
Phone: 737-2292
Queen Elizabeth High School
Monday: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

How do I book a Pap test on the Screen for Life Coach?

Women between the ages of 21 and 69, who have ever been sexually active, can book their Pap test on the Screen for Life Coach by calling (807) 684-7777 or 1-800-461-7031.

Cancer Screening:

  • Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening and follow-up.
  • Most cervical cancers are found in women who have never been screened or have been screened less often than recommended by Ontario’s cervical screening guidelines. That’s why regular screening is so important.
  • Cervical cancer is caused by a cancer-causing type of human papillomavirus (HPV) that persists, in other words, where the infection doesn’t go away.
  • Regular cancer screening is important because it can find cancer early when it may be smaller and easier to treat. Screening for cervical cancer can also help prevent this disease by finding abnormal cells that could turn into cancer.