Pap smears are completed through routine vaginal exams. In Canada, a Pap test is the most effective and recommended screening test for cervical cancer. In B.C., it is recommended women aged 25-69 be screened every 3 years.
A Pap test is a procedure that removes a small sample of cells from the cervix. It is done to look for changes to the cells in the cervix.
Why a Pap test is done?
A Pap test is mainly used to:
- screen for and help diagnose precancerous conditions of the cervix and cervical cancer
- help diagnose precancerous conditions of the vagina and vaginal cancer
- diagnose infection and inflammation in the lower female reproductive tract
- follow up after an abnormal Pap test or to monitor precancerous conditions
- check for abnormal cell changes or to see if cancer comes back (recurs) after treatment
The BC Cancer Agency suggests you still get regular pap testing if you:
- have been through menopause,
- are in a same-sex relationship,
- received the HPV vaccine,
- are transgender,
- have only had one sexual partner
NEW: BC CANCER CERVIX SCREENING PROGRAM
The Cancer Agency will contact you directly by mail if you have abnormal results. They will also send reminders to you when you are due for your next pap. (usually in 3 years) They will use the address you have registered with your Personal Health Care card. To change the address on file call: 1-800-663-9203
We will also contact you with any abnormal results.
If you DO NOT want to receive mail communications go to their website: www.screeningbc.ca/notifications to update your notification preferences
Maintaining proper vaginal health aids to prevent irregular pap tests and decreases chances of cervical abnormalities. Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are linked with decreased fertility, cancers, and systemic disease. A healthy vaginal is free from STIs, yeast and bacteria vaginosis. Adequate healthy microflora in the vagina will aid in proper vaginal health. STI testing, regular paps, yeast and dysbiosis tests should be completed routinely to ensure good vaginal health.