Alberta, citing research, lengthens interval to three years between pap smears

Alberta is lengthening the suggested interval between Pap smears to three years from one.

EDMONTON — Alberta is lengthening the suggested interval between Pap smears to three years from one.

Revised guidelines, developed by a panel of physicians and health experts, reflect research that indicates cell changes that lead to the cancer take years to develop and can be caught with less frequent Pap tests.

It’s hoped the changes will mean more women get Pap tests.

Lack of screening and under-screening are cited as the major risk factors for what is an otherwise preventable disease.

“The new guideline is evidence-based and is aligned with cervical screening guidelines followed in other provinces in Canada,” said Dr. Verna Mai, head of the Screening Action Group for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

“It should be a welcome change for women as there will be fewer Pap tests needed for women who have repeated normal results.”

The new rules also urge Pap smears begin three years after sexual activity begins or at age 21, whichever comes first, rather than the previous age of 18.

Research now shows that cervical cancer is rare in women under 21.

Dr. June Bergman co-chair of the cervical cancer screening guideline committee, says the guidelines are just that — guidelines.

“Women should discuss their previous Pap test results and other health issues with their primary care provider to determine what’s best for them,” she said.

About 150 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Alberta each year, and 40 per cent of them die.

Widespread testing in the last 40 years has cut the death rate significantly, yet it’s estimated that one Alberta woman in three has not been tested in the last three years.

Just Posted

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

UPDATED: Red Deer air quality risk rated high

Poor air quality and reduced visibility

Ponoka liquor store robbed

One suspect charged so far

Women’s Outreach looking for school supplies for low income Central Albertans

With the back-to-school season upon us, Women’s Outreach is looking to the… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfires

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of… Continue reading

As service refusals make headlines, experts say businesses usually in the wrong

Two Canadian businesses that recently made headlines for refusing customers have learned… Continue reading

Irregular asylum claims increased in July after two months of decline

OTTAWA — The number of irregular border crossers in Canada went up… Continue reading

Knocking down statues no way to address a troubled history, McKenna says

OTTAWA — The minister responsible for Parks Canada says tearing down statues… Continue reading

Turning on Trump doesn’t buy credibility for black Americans

WASHINGTON — For years, Omarosa Manigault Newman stood at Donald Trump’s side,… Continue reading

Senior Chinese monk accused of sexual misconduct quits post

BEIJING — One of China’s most high-profile Buddhist monks has resigned from… Continue reading

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was… Continue reading

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

GENOA, Italy — Italian emergency workers pulled two more bodies out of… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month