The human papillomavirus (HPV) detection test will now be used as the primary screening test for cervical cancer, allowing Quebec women to detect the disease more easily, the government announced on Monday.
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The test will be offered to all women in Quebec from the age of 25.
Because of its greater sensitivity, the HPV test will be performed first. However, other tests may be required if necessary.
It is to follow the recommendations of the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services (INESSS) that the Quebec government decided to implement the HPV test as a screening test for cervical cancer. In its report, INESSS recommended that this test be used as a priority from age 25 until age 65, at five-year intervals.
Currently, cervical cancer screening is offered by PAP test, accessible under medical prescription.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) has planned to implement this program gradually, by proceeding in phases.
“In terms of care, prevention notably involves early detection, particularly in cancerology. The implementation of this program will thus contribute to improving access to care and reducing complications due to cancer of the cervix,” declared the Minister of the MSSS, Christian Dubé.
The majority of cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, transmitted sexually or by direct contact with infected mucous membranes.
In Canada, approximately one in 168 women will develop cervical cancer in her lifetime.
In 2021, 1450 cases were diagnosed across Canada, including 290 cases in Quebec.
In recent years, Canada has observed a sharp decrease in cases of cervical cancer, in particular thanks to screening and vaccination against HPV.