Cervical Cancer Prevention Program office
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Individuals can request a print out of the cervical screening history (Pap tests performed in Nova Scotia).
How do I access this program?
In Nova Scotia, Pap tests are performed by family doctors, nurse practitioners and specially trained nurses. You can make an appointment to have a Pap test with your doctor, nurse practitioner or specially trained nurse or you can make an appointment at a Well Woman clinic.
Cervical cancer is the 9th most common cancer among Canadian women.
Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is usually transmitted by sexual contact. More than 75% of women will be exposed to HPV, but only a small number will develop pre-cancer (cervical dysplasia). Regular Pap testing can pick up pre-cancerous changes that can be treated before becoming cancer.
The risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced by:
- Using a latex condom
- Choosing not to smoke
- Having a regular Pap test
- Not having sex at an early age
- Limiting the number of sexual partners
The Nova Scotia Cervical Screening Practice Guidelines recommend:
- Women who have been sexually active* should start having a Pap test at the age of 25. Once women begin having Pap tests, they should have them every 3 years.
- Women who become sexually active* for the first time after the age of 25 should have a Pap test within three years of the time that they became sexually active.
- Women who have never been sexually active do not need to have Pap tests until such time as they become sexually active.
* For the purposes of cervical cancer screening, sexual activity refers to vaginal sexual activity which includes vaginal intercourse, vaginal‐oral and/or vaginal‐digital sexual activity, use of shared sex toys/devices.
How often do I need a Pap test?
If the Pap test results are normal (negative or clear) women should continue to have Pap tests every three years.
When can I stop having Pap tests?
Screening may be discontinued after the age of 70 ONLY if there is an adequate negative screening history in the previous ten years (i.e. three or more negative tests).