Cervical cancer screening in Canada: Environmental scan (2018)

Review this summary of cervical cancer screening programs’ key components and strategies across Canada in 2018

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer conducts annual environmental scans on national, provincial and territorial cervical cancer screening guidelines, strategies and activities. This environmental scan’s information was collected in June and July 2018.

As of 2018, organized cervical cancer screening programs are available in most provinces across Canada. The programs screen women who are at an average risk for cervical cancer and show no signs or symptoms. There are no organized cervical cancer screening programs in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon or Quebec. However, in those areas, a primary care provider (PCP) may offer cervical screening.

 Discover more about this scan’s highlights:

  • Nine provinces have organized cervical cancer screening programs. The first program began in British Columbia in 1960, and the most recent program began in New Brunswick in 2014.
  • Provinces and territories recommend that cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 or 25, continue until age 65 to 70 and occur every two or three years. Notably, organized cervical cancer screening programs in British Columbia and Alberta have increased their start age to 25 to reflect recommendations from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
  • HPV testing is not currently used for primary screening within organized screening programs in Canada. However, several provinces and territories have begun to use HPV testing for triage or follow-up after treatment, or are piloting its use for primary screening.
  • HPV immunization is offered to children in all provinces and territories, generally between grades 4 and 7. For school-aged girls, the provincial and territorial immunization uptake ranges from 57.1 to 92 per cent. For school-aged boys, the immunization uptake ranges from 67.1 to 89.7 per cent.
  • Eight provinces have created strategies to connect with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Five provinces are using strategies to help underserved populations participate.

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