Cervical Cancer Screening

The goal of cervical screening is to find cell changes in the cervix before they become cancer.

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) is a province-wide screening program that provides people with a cervix with access to comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality cervical screening.

OCSP Eligibility

Currently, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that anyone with a cervix (women, transmasculine and nonbinary people) who is or ever has been sexually active have a Pap test every three years starting at age 25. If you are under 25, talk to your primary care provider about whether you should wait until age 25 before starting cervical screening with the Pap test.

Eligible people need to get cervical screening even if they:

  • feel healthy and have no symptoms
  • are no longer sexually active
  • have only had one sexual partner
  • are in a same-sex relationship
  • have been through menopause
  • have no family history of cervical cancer
  • have received the HPV vaccine

You can stop regular screening with Pap tests at the age of 70 if you have had three or more normal tests in the previous 10 years.

Where to Get Screened

Visit your health care provider or one of the locations listed below. Individuals living in First Nations communities can contact their nursing station or health centre.

Screen for Life Coach
Locations throughout Thunder Bay and the region
980 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, ON
P7B 6V4
(807) 684-7777 or 1-800-461-7031

Thunder Bay District Health Unit
Sexual Health Clinic
999 Balmoral St.
Thunder Bay, ON
P7B 6E7
(807) 625-5976

Northwestern Health Unit
Find a location near you: https://www.nwhu.on.ca/our-services/sexual-health/sexual-health-clinics/

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is a body part that connects the uterus (womb) to the vagina (genital opening).

What is cervical cancer screening?

A Pap test is a cervical screening test that can detect cell changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer before people feel any symptoms.

Who should be screened for cervical cancer?

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that anyone with a cervix between ages 25 to 69, who is or ever has been sexually active, have a Pap test every three years.

What causes cervical cancer?

The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is passed between people through sexual contact with another person. HPV infections can sometimes cause changes in the cells of the cervix. Over many years, these cell changes can sometimes lead to cervical cancer. However, these cell changes can be treated before they can cause cervical cancer.

Can cervical cancer be prevented?

Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular screening, appropriate and timely follow-up of abnormal Pap test results, and getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization. Visit MyCancerIQ.ca. This free online tool can help you assess your cancer risk and help reduce it.