FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged to observe National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, Oct. 17-21.

“Regular screening with a Pap test can detect cervical cancer,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “This week is an excellent opportunity to remind women of the importance of getting Pap tests regularly.”

About 30 New Brunswick women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 10 will die of the disease. The incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer can be reduced by encouraging women to:

  • participate in regular cervical screening through Pap tests if they have ever been sexually active;
  • be vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV);
  • avoid or not smoke; and
  • avoid unprotected sex.

Eligible New Brunswick women, aged 21-69, are reminded of the importance of cervical cancer screening through a province-wide invitation and reminder process. Letters are sent to eligible women who have never had a Pap test and to women who are overdue for follow up. Women who have had Pap tests with normal results and who get screened at least once every three years, may never receive a letter.

The Department of Health is partnering with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada in their national campaign to increase awareness of cervical cancer and offer Pap test clinics during this week.

The department is also posting information on its website about cervical cancer screening and the locations of Pap test clinics offered across the province during the national campaign.