The Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) previously covered one PAP test a year which included cervical cancer screening. Effective January 1, 2013, in an effort to cut costs the province now only covers the cost of a test once every three years. The change will save the government millions of dollars while negatively affecting women's health and well being. Without the funding for more frequent PAP tests and cervical cancer screenings, fewer women with cervical cancer will have been diagnosed in its earlier and more easily treated stages.
My story: From the time I was 16 until I was 22 years of age, I had a PAP test completed every 6 months (I tested every 6 months as I live with a history of Endometriosis) all which came back normal. My last normal PAP test was completed in January 2011. When I tested again in July 2011 at age 22, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I had no signs or symptoms or reason to believe something was wrong. Within just 6 months after a normal PAP test result, my cervical cancer was detected by another PAP test. Soon after, during my fight with treatment, my ovarian cancer was detected. If I had waited three years for my next PAP test due to OHIP funding, I would still not know of my cervical or even ovarian cancer today. I would not have even begun my fight against cancer yet. I would have been deprived of the last year and a half I have been given to fight. Who knows what stage my cancer would be in today or where it would have spread.
*An estimated 1,350 women in Canada were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012.
*Out of those 1,350 women, there was an estimated 390 deaths.
Without more frequent PAP testing and screening for cervical cancer, the number of early detection cases can only decrease raising the possibility of more deaths.
How many more women will have to suffer or die before the Government of Ontario realizes what is really important: saving money or saving lives?
Save the lives and quality of life for yourself, your mother, sister, aunt, daughter, best friend and women of the future.
Please sign this petition to help save lives today.
*Statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society.