The Province of Manitoba is cutting funding for free HPV vaccines, and at least one Winnipeg gynecologist is worried some women won't be able to pay for it.

Obstetrician gynecologist Denise Black said she thinks it could be a mistake to make women pay out of pocket for the vaccine.

HPV has been linked to cervical and other cancers, and the vaccine was being offered for free to women between 18 and 26.

Black said about 45 women in Manitoba get cervical cancer every year, “but that’s the tip of the iceberg because there are over 16,000 abnormal paps in this province, and each of those pap tests may be an indication of precancer.”

Black said early detection is key. “Our goal is to treat the precancerous cells before they become cancerous,” she said.

Manitoba was one of the few provinces in Canada that was offering the vaccine for free to women in that age group. That will end on March 31.