The Cervical Cancer Prevention Program encourages screening to prevent and lower the risk of cervical cancer. Pap tests are used to screen for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is transmitted by sexual contact and is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In most cases HPV goes away on its own. Regular Pap testing can pick up pre-cancerous changes in the cervical cells that can be treated before becoming cancer. The risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced by:
- Getting an HPV vaccine if you haven’t been vaccinated already
- Using a condom during sex
- Choosing not to smoke
- Having regular Pap tests
The Nova Scotia Cervical Screening Practice Guidelines recommend Pap tests for anyone with a cervix age 25 to 70 who has ever been sexually active. •
- Anyone with a cervix who has been sexually active* should start having a Pap test at the age of 25.
- Anyone with a cervix who becomes sexually active* for the first time after the age of 25 should have a Pap test within three years of sexual activity.
- Screening with Pap tests should continue every 3 years.
- Pap tests are not needed if someone has never been 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.
Location, contact information and hours
Cervical Cancer Prevention Program office
Tel: 1-888-480-8588 (Individuals can request a printout of the cervical screening history (Pap tests performed in Nova Scotia).
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
How often do I need a Pap test?
If the Pap test results are normal (negative or clear), the next Pap test should be in 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).
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).