Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s (TBRHSC) Screen for Life Coach is expanding its cervical screening services with pap testing for women across Northwestern Ontario, starting at 30 years of age.
Starting February 1, women ages 30 – 69 years of age can make a cervical screening appointment on the Screen for Life Coach. Until now, the Screen for Life Coach, and the previous mobile mammography coach, which was replaced last July, offered services to women 50 years and older. “The Screen for Life Coach offers three different screening services: breast, cervical, and colorectal. Ontario’s cancer screening guidelines recommend that women 50 years and over participate in breast and colorectal cancer screening, and that women should begin cervical cancer screening at an earlier age. For this reason, the mobile cancer screening program will now offer cervical cancer screening services to women starting at age 30. Our goal is to provide better access to cancer screening for more women who will now be eligible for the services that we offer,” says Dr. Stephanie Block, Mobile Coach Medical Lead, with Prevention & Screening Services at TBRHSC.
In Ontario in 2013 approximately 610 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 150 of them will die of their disease. The primary cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV). This is a common virus, found in both men and women, which is passed through sexual intimacy. The good news is that evidence shows that cervical cancer is preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely follow-up of abnormal Pap test results, and HPV immunization. “The cervical screening guidelines recommend that women should be screened for cervical cancer with Pap testing every three years starting at age 21 for women who are or who have ever been sexually active”, says Dr. Block.
Getting a Pap test done on the Screen for Life Coach is easy for clients. Dr. Block explains, “A Pap test appointment takes approximately 20 minutes and is performed by a trained nurse. If the test is normal, the client will receive a result letter that will tell her about her result and inform her of when she should book her next Pap test. If the test is abnormal, then our Patient Navigator will follow-up with her for next steps.”
The Screen for Life Coach travels to more than 60 different locations throughout Northwestern Ontario providing convenient, neighbourhood-based screening to women across the region. Pap tests for women ages 30 years and older will be available wherever the Coach travels, including Thunder Bay.
The Screen for Life Coach is one of many initiatives supported by donations to the Northern Cancer Fund. To support Exceptional Cancer Care in Northwestern Ontario, please visit www.