The Age for Cervical Screening Should be the Age of Consent!
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In February of 2016, BC Health published a policy introducing a new age bracket and time frame for Cervical Screenings in BC, BC Cancer Agency also published their policy June of 2016.
Both BC Health and BC Cancer noted that women aged 25-69 years of age would be eligible for the Pap-Test every three years. Eligible, how is the eligibility of a woman's cervical health calculated?
BC Health used charts, numbers and lots of statistics which explain the "low-risk" that women under 25 have regarding cervical cancers, and thoroughly explained the risks, effects and facts about HPV in Canada. HPV (Human Papillomaviarus) in Canada is said, by the Canadian Cancer Society, to affect 75% of the sexually active men and women in the country. There are over 100 different types of the HPV virus and 40 of those types are transmitted through sexual contact. Healthlink BC notes that, "Almost half of all STI's occur in people younger than 25 years old" and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention states "HPV is the most commonly spread STI".
HPV can cause many infections over time that can come and go, BC Cancer explains that most women under 25 that experience an HPV infection will have it disappear within 2 years and because of the infections that occur, testing for such cervical cancers can lead to false positives. Although that is true, and perhaps BC Cancer seems to be creating a more "effective" way to diagnosis, I argue that as long as the numbers say there is a risk, there should be available screening for all women. Some cancer-causing HPV viruses can take 10-15 years to mature which means that someone at the age of consent (16) who experiences her first sexual contact, could contract HPV and have to wait 9 years to have a proper cervical screening, all because in the eyes of our government she is old enough to contract yet too young for a pap.
Dr. James Dickinson, chairman of the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care, said in an interview with the Vancouver Sun in January 2013, " reducing the frequency of tests isn't about saving money, but rather about not putting women through tests they don't need." We the petitioners argue strongly that we do in fact NEED these tests. Although the statistics for women under 25 are low, there is still a risk, how can you tell an entire group of people that they are less eligible for a screening they were once eligible for, based on their age?
We urge Ms. Christy Clark and the Honourable Mr. Justin Trudeau, to consider the affect that this will cause. I personally was refused a screening that I requested from my family doctor because of these rule changes, I felt pushed aside and unimportant. I felt like my government didn't care about me, my sisters, my friends, my niece; all because we are under 25 and "in-eligible" for proper cervical screening.
For those of you touched by the cruel hand of cancer either personally or through another, remember this: cancer of any genre does not have prejudice. Cancer is not judgmental and does not prey on those that are "eligible", so why should we be so generous and give it the extra room to fester and infect our lives?
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