Dr. Johnson, President of FMWC discusses How Cervical Cancer is Preventable!


From Oct 16th — 20th is the National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week! Hear what the Federation of Medical Women of Canada are doing for this awareness week!


As an Ottawa Family Physician and President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC), I want to share with you that it is the 10th Anniversary of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week! We, at the FMWC, for the 10th year are organizing the PAP Campaign= Prevention and Awareness Program to get more women screened for cervical cancer! Canadian Women can use our website https://fmwc.ca/events/pap-campaign/ to contact local Pap test clinics organized specifically for this campaign by doctors and their staff. Some clinics are open to women who are not currently patients, to provide information, screening and HPV immunization. In addition to the PAP campaign, it was with excitement that the FMWC announced in Canadian Parliament the inaugural National Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Prevention Week Oct 1–7, 2017. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. October is a very important month for women’s health in Canada, with the PAP Campaign and National HPV Prevention Week.

In Ontario, the guidelines suggest starting your Pap tests at age 21 if you have ever been sexually active, including intercourse, oral and digital sexual activity with a partner of any gender. If your Pap test is normal, the screening interval is every 3 years. As a Family Physician, I often get the question: “is it safe to wait 3 years between Pap tests?” Prior to 2013, Canadian guidelines recommended annual Pap tests. In 2013, the Guidelines were changed because annual Pap tests offer little benefit and may actually cause harm if women receive abnormal results that later result in biopsies, treatment and ultimately are false alarms. So yes, it is safe to wait 3 years. Over the next few years screening may be replaced with an HPV test instead of the Pap test. Let’s all stay tuned for progress and changes in our health screening.

What can you do this week?

  • Go to the FMWC website https://fmwc.ca/events/pap-campaign/ and look for social media messages at #CervicalCancerAwarenessWeek.
  • Call your healthcare provider this week to make an appointment for your Pap test.
  • Talk with your friends, your sister, your mother and ask them when they last had a Pap test?

The FMWC’s key messages this week:

  1. Every woman deserves a long and healthy future.
  2. Cervical cancer is preventable!
  3. Get screened and get immunized.
Beverly Johnson MD CCFP
 President Federation of Medical Women of Canada
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