Map of Simcoe Muskoka


Cervical Cancer Screening

The Papanicolaou (Pap) test is a method of cervical cancer screening for healthy women who may be at risk but are not showing signs of the disease. The purpose of screening with a Pap test is to prevent cervical cancer by identifying pre-cancerous changes to the cells of the cervix. Cancer Care Ontario updated its cervical cancer screening guidelines in 2012. Between 2008 and 2011, Cancer Care Ontario recommended women return for screening in 12 months. It now recommends cervical cancer screening every 3 years for women aged 21 to 69 who are, or who have ever been, sexually active. Screening can stop at 70 years of age in women who have had 3 or more normal tests within the previous 10 years.

Between 2014 and 2016, over 100,000 eligible females between 21 and 69 years of age in Simcoe Muskoka completed at least one Pap test with-in a 42-month period. The age-adjusted cervical cancer screening participation rate among eligible Simcoe Muskoka females between 2014 and 2016 was 66%, which was significantly higher than the overall provincial participation rate of 62%. The 2014-2016 cervical cancer screening participation rates were significantly lower than any of the previous reference periods for Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario as a whole. There has been a significant downward trend in the cervical cancer screen rates both in Simcoe Muskoka and across Ontario since 2008. The change to the cervical cancer screening guidelines in 2012 may have influenced the decline in the most recent participation rates. The Simcoe Muskoka cervical cancer screening participation rates have been significantly higher than the provincial rates for each time period from 2005 to 2016.


Among women living in urban areas in Ontario between 2012 and 2014, cervical cancer screening participation increased steadily and significantly as urban neighbourhood income quintiles rose.