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Cervical Cancer: Could it happen to you?

Natalie Vachon Ukrainetz RN, BScN

Cervical cancer? What does it mean? When we hear the word cancer, we immediately become panicked and emotional. After all, who wants to hear such a strong and life-threatening word?

Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix and usually grows very slowly. The cells start off as abnormal and are pre-cancerous. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? But it can be, if left untreated.

But are you in fact at risk of cervical cancer? How do you even know? If you are a woman between the age of 21 and 70, check out the list of questions to the right.

A lot of women are often busy working, raising families and running around doing everyday things. We often don’t take the time to take care of ourselves. Or, we assume that nothing is wrong and keep putting it off until later to avoid going for any type of checkup out of embarrassment or fear.

I know because I used to do it. Am I at risk? Not anymore, but I used to be. I make sure to schedule my pap test every 3 years to prevent any type of cervical cancer.

It’s easy. All you have to do is call your family doctor and schedule a pap test every 3 years from the time you are 21 up until you are 70 and if you are or have been sexually active.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to cervical cancer, contact your local health unit or visit www.cancer.ca.