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Putting women’s health first

A Pap test isn’t most women’s favourite date to circle on the calendar,which is why the B.C. Cancer Agency is giving girls one less excuse toget one.

A Pap test isn’t most women’s favourite date to circle on the calendar, which is why the B.C. Cancer Agency is giving girls one less excuse to get one.

The Agency is partnering with clinics around the province to offer women walk-in examinations as part of Pap Awareness Week, which starts on Monday and runs until June 13.

The campaign was piloted last year at 12 doctor’s offices around the Lower Mainland and is expanding this year to 100 clinics across B.C.

“A number of factors —from not having a family physician to challenges scheduling appointments (in rural) communities —could influence a woman’s decision to get regular Pap tests,” said Dr. Kathy Ceballos with the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

“Our goal is to make it easy for women to access cervical cancer screening by simply dropping in at participating local clinics.”

Ceballos said the Agency is particularly interested in reaching out to local women in their 20s, who fall 10 per cent below the B.C. participation rate of 78 per cent.

“Pap tests detect abnormalities that can turn into (cervical) cancer,” said Ceballos.

“Our peak age group for finding those abnormalities is the 20s.”

“Cervical cancer is not a disease of the elderly. It impacts women in the prime of their lives.”