Eliminating cervical cancer in Canada

Implementing HPV primary screening and follow-up

Key takeaways

  • Cervical screening is available in all Canadian provinces and territories.
  • HPV primary screening with timely, equitable and appropriate follow-up has been implemented or partially implemented in two Canadian provinces and is being actively planned in eight provinces and one territory.
  • At least five Canadian provinces and one territory are planning for HPV self-screening, enabling people to collect their own samples.

Hear from Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV-related Diseases and Prevention, on the benefits of HPV testing and self-screening.

HPV primary screening and follow-up to prevent cervical cancer

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing detects cervical pre-cancer earlier and more accurately than Pap testing. An HPV test detects cervical pre-cancer better and earlier, which means screening can occur less frequently. Safely extending the intervals between negative test results can reduce the harms associated with overscreening.1

An HPV test can be taken more easily compared to the Pap test, as a sample of cells from the cervix is not necessarily required. As a result, transitioning to HPV primary screening opens the doors for new approaches that will increase access to cervical screening in Canada. With an HPV test, screening samples can be collected by a healthcare provider or people can self-screen by collecting their own samples.

Explore the specific actions needed for Canada to continue to implement HPV screening and follow-up to prevent cervical cancer.

  1. Union for International Cancer Control. UICC responding to the call to action to eliminate cervical cancer [Internet]. Geneva: Union for International Cancer Control; 2019 [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: https://www.uicc.org/uicc-responding-call-action-eliminate-cervical-cancer.