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

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

Red Deer apartment project opposed by some neighbours

Two buildings proposed for a site in Normandeau with existing four apartment complexes

Red Deer’s osprey cam celebrities are back

FortisAlberta has webcam set up at nest created as part of avian protection program

Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run introduces Community Diaper Dash

Central Albertans will make a dash in diapers to bring lunches to… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Opinion: Schools can’t be exempt from scrutiny

This weekend’s meeting of the Alberta School Councils’ Association promises to be… Continue reading

Bishop now the Stars goalie trying to beat Blues in playoffs

Ben Bishop grew up rooting for the St. Louis Blues before being… Continue reading

Nashville gets its chance to step up for NFL draft

NASHVILLE — Broadway in downtown Nashville is as lively a place as… Continue reading

The Cranberries, still in mourning, return for the last time

NEW YORK — Whether or not there would be a final Cranberries’… Continue reading

Dance studio owner in dispute with Burton Cummings fined for noise ticket

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The owner of a dance fitness studio who… Continue reading

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Most Read