A program to increase screening for cervical cancer and the Human Papillomavirus in Northern Saskatchewan will continue through the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, two Sask. doctors and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Cornelius Spiers, a retired doctor from Yorkton, is volunteering the use of his time and personal aircraft. He said he plans to fly into northern communities to examine the successes of prevention and education efforts with the goal of screening more women. “If we can get women involved in cervical cancer screening, we can also get them involved in HPV vaccination. In the long-term we will be able to eradicate cervical cancer in 20-years from now,” Spiers explained.

Currently Saskatchewan children can receive the HPV vaccination in Grade six. For those between the age of nine-to-27 who have not been immunized with Gardasil can do so for free through their healthcare provider. However, people 27-years and older would have to pay for the vaccine, which could cost as much as $630.

Spiers said approximately 19 percent of northern First Nations women are screened for cervical cancer and for HPV.

He said northern women face barriers in getting immunized as it requires three doses to be administered one-month apart.

FSIN Vice-Chief Heather Bear said many First Nations women distrust the healthcare system or lack a provider for care. “I think this project is going to save lives and give our women a better quality of life,” she said.