Regular cervical cancer screening a key preventative tool

January 30, 2024

EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is recommending cervical cancer screening for those between the ages of 25 and 69 who are or have been sexually active. This screening is with a Pap test and is also frequently referred to as a Pap smear.

A Pap test checks the cervix for any abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer. It’s important to get screened regularly. You should have a Pap test once every three years unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise. Regular Pap tests and follow-up care can prevent about 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases. Pap tests can also detect cervical cancer early. Getting screened can save your life. The earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.

Contact your healthcare provider’s office or a women’s health clinic to book a Pap test. If you do not have a healthcare provider, such as a family doctor or nurse practitioner:

It’s important to have regular Pap tests, even if:

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. HPV infections are common and they usually do not cause symptoms, so most people do not even know they have it.

A Pap test doesn’t test for other cancers or sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

For more information on cervical cancer screening, visit

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Our mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Our current focus is on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.