Experts: B.C. to offer Canada’s first at-home, self-screening test for cervical cancer 

Published: 11 January 2024

B.C. residents will soon become the first in Canada to have access to an at-home, self-screening test for cervical cancer. About 200 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer a year in the province, according to Premier David Eby. He said doctors in B.C. have been looking for ways to improve the diagnosis of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. (Global News

Here are some experts from McGill University who can comment on this topic:  

Dr. Talía Malagón, Assistant Professor, Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology 

“This news is a welcome and much-anticipated development in cancer screening in Canada. Extensive evidence has shown that HPV testing is a better screening test than the Pap test for preventing cervical cancer. Substantial evidence also supports that using HPV self-tests are just as effective as HPV tests given by health care providers for detecting precancer and cancer. BC is leading the way in Canada by making these self-tests available for all screen-eligible women, and we hope this new method of screening will increase access to an important test that can save many women’s lives.” 

Dr. Talía Malagón is an epidemiologist and Assistant Professor in the Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology at McGill University and at St. Mary’s Research Centre. Her research projects include understanding the predictors of human papillomavirus transmission between sexual partners, risk factors for cervical precancer, decision modeling to evaluate the balance of screening harms and benefits of cervical cancer screening, and health inequalities in cancer incidence and cancer care pathways. 

talia.malagon [at] (English, French)  

Dr. Mariam El-Zein, Associate Director for Research in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology 

“As an epidemiologist who has been involved in HPV self-sampling research, this ‘putting the findings into action’ initiative by B.C. (at-home self-screening test kit for HPV) represents one way of allowing women to literally take onus of their healthcare through self-testing while expanding at the same time access to healthcare, especially in remote areas. This initiative will lay the groundwork for a research culture that aims first to eliminate obstacles in order to eventually eliminate inequality in women’s access to care.” 

Dr. Mariam El-Zein is an epidemiologist and Associate Director for Research in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill University. Dr. El-Zein’s main interests include cancer epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the prevention of cervical cancer, with a special focus on the role of HPV self-sampling, gene methylation, and the vaginal microbiome in cervical cancer screening. 

mariam.elzein [at] (English) 

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