Regular cervical cancer screening a key preventative tool

February 1, 2023

EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services reminds anyone between the ages of 25 and 69 with a cervix to get screened regularly for cervical cancer with a Pap test.

Regular Pap tests and follow-up care can prevent about 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases. A Pap test checks the cervix for any abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer. When needed, these abnormal cells can be treated or carefully followed.

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infections are common and usually do not cause symptoms, so most people do not even know they have it. Even if you’ve been immunized for HPV, it’s recommended you start having Pap tests at age 25 years, or three years after becoming sexually active, whichever is later.

Pap tests are quick and can be done at your healthcare provider’s office or at a women’s health clinic. Regular screening means any abnormal changes can be followed closely to make sure they clear up or are treated. It’s important to attend any appointments for follow-up testing if recommended by your healthcare provider. The earlier abnormal changes are found, the easier they are to manage and the less likely they are to develop into cancer.

For those who are unsure of when they had their last Pap Test, or are due for another, please contact your physician or call Health Link at 811.

In addition to regular Pap tests, HPV immunization is an important tool in preventing HPV- related diseases. The HPV vaccine is offered to all Grade 6 students in Alberta schools who haven’t had HPV vaccine yet and works best in children and teens before they have any type of sexual contact. Some adults may also benefit from the HPV vaccine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if it’s a good idea for you.

For more information on cervical cancer screening, visit

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Our mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Our current focus is on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.