BC Cancer is launching an at-home cervix screening pilot in Central Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, improving access to screening and helping to prevent cervical cancer.
"Cancer impacts many lives, and we are working to make sure services are in place to help prevent this disease," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "With at-home screening, people in need of cervix screening will face fewer barriers which may include cultural issues, trauma, inconvenient clinic hours, transportation concerns, and the need for time-off work or child care."
With at-home cervix screening, participants are mailed at-home kits with everything they need to self-screen for high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) by collecting and mailing back a sample.
"Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable and regular screening is one of the key ways you can prevent it," said Dr. Dirk van Niekerk, medical director, Cervix Screening, BC Cancer. "That is why it is important for BC Cancer to continue to find new, innovative ways to reduce screening barriers for our patients. This pilot will help us fine-tune our patient communications, provider engagement and internal processes to better serve our patients."
"Screening for HPV has been demonstrated to be a more accurate cervix screening test than the Pap test," said Dr. Gina Ogilvie, affiliate scientist, BC Cancer and one of Canada's leading experts on HPV. "Pap testing detects changes to the cells of the cervix that have been caused by HPV. Whereas, HPV testing detects the presence of high-risk types of HPV, often before cells changes have occurred, identifying people at risk for cervical cancer, earlier and better."
This initiative aligns with the World Health Organization's call to eliminate cervical cancer. Funding has been provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
"This pilot opens the door to the potential of at-home screening, which will help reduce barriers to access for Indigenous people, particularly those residing in more rural and remote areas," said Warren Clarmont, provincial director, Indigenous Cancer Control, BC Cancer. "We are hopeful that by bringing screening closer to home, this pilot will help to increase cervical screening participation amongst First Nations and Métis peoples."
Approximately 67,000 eligible participants will be identified through B.C.'s client roster data and cross-referenced with individuals in the BC Cancer Cervix Screening Program database. Only those selected will be invited to participate at this time. This pilot is expected to run for approximately one year.
Eligible participants in these communities will be invited to participate in at-home cervix screening:
Sunshine Coast: Earl's Cove, Langdale, Madeira Park, Pender Harbour, Sechelt, Robert's Creek, and Gibsons.
Central Vancouver Island: Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Lighthouse Country, Coombs, Errington, and Nanoose Bay, and Port Alberni.
Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable. Regular screening is one of the key ways you can prevent cervical cancer.
At-home cervix screening is quick and easy. This test is done instead of a Pap test.
Eligible participants will be identified through B.C.'s client roster data and will be invited to participate in the pilot by mail.
In 2021, an estimated 190 B.C. women will be newly diagnosed with cervical cancer.
One in 170 females is expected to develop cervical cancer during their lifetime and one in 530 females is expected to die of cervical cancer
To learn more about this at-home cervix screening pilot, visit: www.screeningbc.ca/cervix-pilot
For information about cervix screening, visit: www.bccancer.bc.ca/screening/cervix
For the latest B.C. statistics on cervical cancer, read our Statistics by Cancer Type – Cervix summary.