What You Need to Know about Testing for Cervical Cancer

This blog article brought to you by Dr. Aarti Kapoor, a Magenta Health physician who practices at the Riverside clinic.

A Pap Test is a simple OHIP-covered screening test that can detect cell changes in the cervix caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV infections may lead to cancer before patients feel or see any symptoms.

Unless otherwise directed, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends a test every 3 years for everyone with a cervix between the ages of 21-69 who are/have been sexually active (vaginally, orally, or digitally). As HPV is spread through skin to skin contact during sexual activity, women who have sex with women should follow the same screening regimen as women who have sex with men. The same applies to trans men with a cervix.

During a Pap Test an instrument called a speculum is gently  inserted into a patient’s vagina so their cervix can be seen. Cells are brushed from the surface of the cervix and are sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope. Your results will be sent to both your physician, and to the address associated with your OHIP card. Cancer Care Ontario will also send reminders for when your next pap is due. 

Generally, Pap Tests are no longer recommended after the age of 70 if a person has had 3 or more normal tests in the previous 10 years.

More information about cervical cancer screening can be found on the Cancer Care Ontario website.

*To help Magenta Health patients stay up-to-date on their recommended cervical cancer screening and to provide more convenience generally, Dr. Kapoor offers specialised ‘Pap Clinics’ on Friday afternoons for patients of her fellow Magenta Health physicians. She is a Magenta Health family physician who has a special interest in sexual health.

Use your regular booking link to book pap appointments with your Magenta Health physician or if Friday Pap Clinics are more convenient, contact your regular physician for more information.