Nunavut has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in Canada according to a recent study that will be published in an American medical journal next month.

Sylvia Healey says her study shows a virus, known as HPV, was found in 26 percent of women in Nunavut. This virus is often linked to the cancer and the big problem is that in conventional pap smears HPV isn’t detected.

Healey went on to say that the pap test has a sensitivity of approximately 51 percent. Healey says this means that the pap test detected only about half of the actual cases with abnormal lesions.

There are pap tests that can detect cervical cancer but they aren’t readily accessible in Nunavut.