In partnership with the BC Cancer Agency and the Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon Division, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice together with Fraser Health, is reminding women 21-69 to get a Pap test every two years to prevent or detect cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent by identifying and curing it in the initial stages. A Pap test can detect precancerous cells, which, if treated early, can stop the cancer from developing. It can also identify cancer at an early stage, when there are more treatment options available and survival rates are over 80 per cent.
According to the latest BC statistics there are 1,534,461 women in the province between the ages of 21-69 – but only 66 per cent of women are getting a regular Pap test. This number is far lower in the South Asian community.
In an effort to increase awareness and testing, the South Asian Health Centre will run a six week pilot on Thursdays, starting May 15, where women can come to the clinic and receive a Pap test by a Punjabi speaking Nurse Practitioner.
“Our South Asian Health Centre is excited to partner with the BC Cancer Agency and the Canadian Cancer Society in this exciting initiative,” says Dr. Saroj Kumar, a local community physician who chairs the South Asian Health Centre Working Group. “We know that South Asian women have much lower rates of Pap exams, and we hope that we can create a safe, welcoming environment for women to have these exams, and have their questions answered by a Nurse Practitioner who speaks Punjabi.”
“We know that many women don’t have regular Pap tests. This pilot will provide an opportunity for women to come to the South Asian Health Clinic to receive a Pap test from a female nurse practitioner and spend time to get any health related questions answered,” said Karol Ghuman, Nurse Practitioner with Fraser Health who works at the South Asian Health Centre.
Of the 176 patients diagnosed with cervical cancer in BC in 2012, 42 per cent were overdue for screening by five years or more, or had never been screened.
Pap tests are free for women in BC and only take a few minutes to complete. Women who are interested in receiving their Pap test at the South Asian Health Centre can call (604) 591-5751.