Frequently Asked Questions for Cervical Cancer Screening


I've had the HPV vaccine. Do I still need cervical screening?

Yes. HPV vaccination is highly effective at protecting against several types of HPV but not every type; therefore, it is still important to be screened for cervical cancer as recommended by the and your healthcare provider.

Do I still need to be screened if I have had only one sexual partner/ am not currently sexually active?

Yes. Routine cervical cancer screening is recommended for all women and people with a cervix ages 25 to 69 years who have had any sexual contact, regardless of how many people you have had sexual contact with or if you are currently sexually active.

HPV is a very common virus, and most people who are sexually active will be exposed to it sooner or later. A recent study showed that nearly half of women got an HPV infection from their first sexual partner. An HPV infection usually goes away on its own within two years. 

Why did routine screening change to every three years, instead of every one or two years?

Having a Pap test every three years provides the same benefits and less risk than having a Pap test every one or two years.

It is safe to go longer between Pap tests because:

  • Most (90%) HPV infections will go away within two years.
  • When high-risk HPV does not go away, it usually takes 10-20 years for infected cells to develop into cervical cancer.
  • Improved screening with combined Pap and HPV reflex testing guides follow-up and treatment more accurately because it can predict which cell changes are likely to become cancer. This means fewer people will have unnecessary treatment.


I don’t have a family doctor or healthcare provider. Where can I get a Pap test?  

If you do not have a primary care provider, such as a family doctor or nurse practitioner, please call the screening program or make an appointment at one of the clinics that offer Pap tests.  

What if I don’t want to have a Pap test with my male healthcare provider? 

If you would like to have a Pap test with a female healthcare provider, you can call the screening program or contact one of the clinics that offer Pap tests to ask if there are female healthcare providers providing Pap testing. 

Where can I see my Pap test results?

Your healthcare provider will contact you about your results. The Screening Program for Cervical Cancer will also mail you the results of your tests. You can view your results on MySaskHealthRecord

Are there symptoms to watch for between Pap tests/cervical screening appointments?

Tell your health care provider right away if you start bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause.

Is HPV the only cause of cervical cancer?

HPV is the cause of cervical cancer in 99.7% of cases.

Does HPV cause anal and genital warts?

Some low-risk HPV infections can cause anal and genital warts. Low-risk HPV types do not cause cancers, and anal and genital warts do not turn into cancer. HPV reflex testing does not check for low-risk HPV.

If you are sexually active, you should have regular check-ups. If you have warts, you should speak with a healthcare professional.

I am HPV positive. What now?

Learning that you are HPV positive can lead to a variety of feelings and raise several questions.

First and foremost, it's important to realize that being HPV-positive is nothing to be ashamed of, and it does not mean you have or will develop cervical cancer.

An abnormal Pap result and positive HPV result means that you have high-risk HPV and changes to the cells of the cervix. These changes can progress over the years from precancerous cell changes into cervical cancer if left undetected and untreated. It is important to follow up with your healthcare provider, who will refer you to a specialist for a colposcopy.

Can HPV be cured? (or) How is HPV treated?

There is no cure or treatment for an HPV infection, and most HPV infections will go away on their own, especially in younger people. What can be treated is the signs of an HPV infection, such as warts or cervical cell changes caused by HPV.

Cervical cell changes can be treated during a colposcopy or other procedure. 

Do I have to share my HPV test results with my partners?

It is always your choice whether or not to talk to your partners about HPV. HPV is a very common virus, and most people who are sexually active will eventually be exposed to it. An HPV infection usually goes away on its own, and there are tests such as cervical screening that can monitor for possible complications due to HPV. This means there is no medical need to tell your partners.

Whether you or your partner have been diagnosed with HPV, it's important not to blame or shame. There's no way to know for sure when HPV was passed or by whom.

You can contact your health care provider for more advice on whether to share your results and how you might share your results with others.

Who gets HPV reflex testing?

Only people in specific age groups with certain abnormal Pap results will have an HPV reflex test.

HPV reflex testing helps healthcare providers recommend appropriate follow-up care. HPV reflex testing is automatically done in situations where follow-up care is not clear based on Pap testing results alone.

At this time, there is no approved test for HPV in men. For more detailed information about HPV reflex testing, please see the cervical cancer screening guidelines.

Will I need another exam for HPV reflex testing?

No. Your healthcare provider will collect a Pap sample. This sample will be used for your Pap test. Depending on the results and your age, the lab will test for HPV using the same sample.

Should my partner/boyfriend/spouse get HPV testing?

At this time, there is no approved test for HPV in men. If your partner or spouse has a cervix, they should have regular cervical cancer screening.

I am a trans man/transmasculine person. Do I still need to be screened for cervical cancer?

It depends. If you're a trans man age 25 or older who has ever had sex with anyone (any gender or sexual orientation) and have a cervix, you should get screened for cervical cancer. 

If you have had gender-affirming surgery that left your cervix intact or partially intact, you would need regular cervical cancer screening. If your cervix was removed, you may not need cervical cancer screening. Speak with your healthcare provider about your screening needs.

I heard about self-screening kits for cervical cancer. Are these available in Saskatchewan?

Cervix self-screening is not currently available through the public healthcare system in Saskatchewan. HPV testing is emerging as the leading approach to cervical screening because it identifies individuals who are at increased risk of cervical cancer earlier than the Pap test and results in a significantly lower likelihood of developing cancer. Other jurisdictions are planning to transition HPV testing to their primary screening test. Saskatchewan's introduction of combined HPV and Pap testing is the first step in making HPV testing the primary screening test.

I have moved/I am planning to move. How do I ensure the screening program's letters come to my new address?

To continue to receive communication from the Screening Program for Cervical Cancer, it is important that you update any address changes. Contact eHealth by calling 1-800-667-7551, emailing, or online at

Can I opt out of participating in the screening program?

  • Yes, you can choose not to participate in the program. Please discuss your options with your healthcare provider before making a final decision. You can also contact the Screening Program for Cervical Cancer if you have questions.