A Pap for a Pad – campaign encourages women to get pap tests and win an iPad 2
The B.C. Cancer Agency’s LACE Campaign and Prevention teams, the Canadian Cancer Society and Options for Sexual Health, are working together to deliver the message that Pap tests save lives. As part of this effort, they are making it possible for women without a regular health provider to drop in at local clinics to get screened during the campaign.
During the month of October and Pap Awareness Week – October 23-29 – women in Cranbrook and Kimberley due for their Pap are being encouraged to drop-in to get tested at Options for Sexual Health (Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.) or at participating clinics in their area. Women getting screened during the month will be provided with a little extra incentive: an Apple iPad 2.
“It’s called a Pap for a Pad,” said Lanna van der Velden, one of the regional organizers for the awareness campaign. “Kootenay infoTechnology very generously supplied an iPad for which any woman that receives a Pap test during the month of October is eligible. All participating clinics in Cranbrook and Kimberley will have an entry box as well Options for Sexual Health in the Cranbrook Family Connection building next to the Skateboard Park. The draw will be held on Saturday, October 29 at the end of our Pap Day event. To find clinics offering Pap’s in the Cranbrook/Kimberley area visit LACE Campaign.com. For info on the Pap Day event or the contest call 250-489-0877.”
According to Patti Moore, Health Promotion Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, “We’re excited to be a partner in this initiative because throughout October we are highlighting three cancers affecting women – colorectal, breast and cervical. It’s important to remind women of the simple steps, including screening that they can take to reduce their risk of cancer or have it detected early.”
Moore adds, “This year in British Columbia, an estimated 160 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 45 will die. As sobering as those statistics are, the good news is that the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased by 70 per cent since the early ‘60s when B.C.’s Cervical Cancer Screening Program was introduced. Pap tests determine the presence of precancerous cells on the cervix that left untreated can become cancerous and deadly. However, when caught early, treatment can prevent cervical cancer from ever developing or very successfully treat the cancer in its early stages.”
Women need to start having a Pap test by the age of 21 or three years after becoming sexually active. While cervical cancer-related deaths are declining, there are still women in the region who are not adequately screened. This could be due to lack of access to a health professional or other barriers such as fear of the exam.
“Through this fun campaign we want to raise awareness about women’s health issues that are very important. Talking about them openly and encouraging the women in our lives—our mothers, our sisters, our daughters—to look after their health is vital in the fight against women’s cancers including cervical cancer,” said van der Velden. “We need to get rid of the notion that cervical health is something you don’t talk about in polite society, because awareness and action saves lives.”
Spread the word and help us prevent cervical cancer by joining the LACE campaign at www.lacecampaign.com.