Do you or your loved ones get regular pap tests to detect cervical cancer? What happens when you get the results? A new study finds fewer than half of women with abnormal Pap tests receive proper follow-up care, and low-income women are less likely to be screened in the first place.
More than a million women in Ontario haven’t been screened even though cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. And less than half the women who had a Pap test that detected a low-grade abnormality received appropriate follow-up care within the recommended time period. The study authors say those women should either be getting repeat tests or a medical procedure called a colposcopy. The low rate of follow-up in these women is cause for concern because they tend to be at greatest risk for eventually developing cervical cancer.
The study, a joint effort by St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, says that the overall rate of cervical cancer screening in Ontario was 69 percent, with rates of 61 percent for low-income women and 75 percent for high-income women. The bottom line: make sure you get the smears done regularly, and most of all go back if they find anything suspicious.