What You Need To Know About Pap Tests
What Is a Pap Test?
A Pap Test (also known as a Pap Smear) is a test that may help prevent cervical cancer. The two-minute procedure involves collecting cells from the cervix, which can detect cell changes that, if left untreated for several years, could eventually turn cancerous.
When changes in cervical cells are found early, they can often be treated effectively before they become dangerous. Regular Pap testing can reduce cervical cancer deaths by 70 per cent.
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is usually caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). However, several other factors are known to increase the risk of cervical cancer including:
- Sexual activity
- Weakened immune system
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
- Socioeconomic status
- Family history
- History of STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
In the early stages of cervical cancer, a woman may or may not experience symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods
- Pain during sexual intercourse or bleeding after intercourse
- Clear, watery, or foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Increased amount of vaginal discharge
Recently updated guidelines recommend Pap testing for women who are, or have been, sexually active. Testing should begin at age 25, and repeated every 3 years. Screening may be discontinued at the age of 70, if there have been 3 or more normal tests in the last 10 years.
Does Vaccination Prevent HPV?
Yes, vaccination is an effective way to prevent cervical cancer. This new and safe HPV vaccine is available at all Appletree locations. However, even if you have been vaccinated, you should still get a Pap test. Book your appointment today at any Appletree location, and detect the early signs of HPV.
How Can I Access This Service?
This service is available at select Appletree Medical Centres. Appointments are required.
Book Your Appointment
The following schedules vary frequently, always consult our website to view the most up-to-date availability. Pap Test appointments are available at the following Appletree Medical Centres:
240 Sparks Street, Unit C153
Monday: 2 pm – 6 pm
2573 Baseline Road
Monday: 10 am – 3 pm
Tuesday: 4 pm – 8 pm
2948 Baseline Road
Thursday: 10 am – 2 pm
Friday (alternating): 10 am – 2 pm
1595 Merivale Road, Unit 1A-2
Tuesday: 12 pm – 3 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 2 pm
2150 Robertson Road
Wednesday: 10 am – 4 pm
Greater Toronto Area
1450 O’Connor Drive, East York
Thursday: 4 pm – 8 pm
275 Dundas Street West
Tuesday (alternating): 1 pm – 4:30 pm
2025 Midland Avenue, Unit 100
Tuesday: 9 am – 5 pm Wednesday: 9 am – 8 pm Thursday: 9 am – 8:00 pm Friday: 9 am – 5 pm Saturday: 9 am – 12 pm
4700 Keele Avenue, York University
Wednesday: 1 pm – 4 pm
3355 Hurontario Street, Mississauga
Wednesday: 12 pm – 3 pm
Sunday: 9 am – 12 pm
4G Spadina Avenue, Toronto
Monday: 9 am – 3 pm
Tuesday: 9 am – 2:45 pm
Thursday: 1:30 pm – 4 pm
Friday: 9 am – 2:45 pm
Saturday: 1:30 pm – 3 pm
545 Steeles Avenue West, Brampton
Friday: 3 pm – 6 pm
Prepare For Your Appointment
Prior to your appointment, you must review our Pap Testing Preparation Guide and ensure you follow instructions so that we can proceed with the test.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
You will be asked to complete a short health questionnaire providing the doctor you are seeing with a complete picture of your health. The Pap test will be completed by either a Physician or an International Medical Graduate (IMG).
If you do not have OHIP coverage, make sure to take your swabs and accompanying requisitions with you at the end of the appointment, to drop them off at a local laboratory.
After Your Appointment
We will provide you online access to your Pap test results, through your secure and confidential Patient Portal, so that you may access them from anywhere, at any time. Pap test results are generally available 4 weeks after your appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I get screened? Am I eligible?
Currently, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that women who are or have been sexually active have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21.
If you are under 25, talk to your family doctor or nurse practitioner about whether you should wait until age 25 before starting cervical screening with the Pap test. You can meet with one of our Family Doctors via Virtual Care in in-person to get a referral to a gynecologist.
Regular screening should continue until at least age 70 or when advised by a doctor or nurse practitioner to stop. Pap tests can stop at the age of 70 if a woman has had 3 or more normal tests in the previous 10 years.
Eligible people need to get cervical screening even if they:
- feel healthy and have no symptoms
- are no longer sexually active
- have only had 1 sexual partner
- are in a same-sex relationship
- have been through menopause
- have no family history of cervical cancer
- have received the HPV vaccine
Women who have had a hysterectomy should talk to their doctor or nurse practitioner to see if they need to continue cervical screening.
Do I need a referral?
When is the best time to have a Pap test?
Ideally, a Pap test should be done during the middle of your cycle, around day 14 after your period starts.
I received the HPV vaccine in school as a teenager; do I still need a Pap test?
Yes – you should still have your routine Pap test every three years, even if you have been vaccinated.
Is a Pap test painful?
You may feel pressure and a little bit of discomfort, but a Pap test should not be painful. If you experience pain during your Pap test, let your health care provider know.
Does the Pap test check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
No. The Pap test itself does not check for STIs, however, additional swabs are usually collected at the same time to check for STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Your health care provider will review this with you at the time of the appointment.
What is the cost of a Pap Test?
There is no cost for a Pap test, as it is an insured OHIP service.
I have not had sexual intercourse before. Can I still get a Pap test?
If you are not sexually active, it is recommended to consult with a family physician or get a referral to an OB/GYN to discuss the reasons for requesting a Pap.
I had a hysterectomy done. Do I still need a Pap?
If your cervix was removed during hysterectomy for a benign condition, such as fibroids or endometriosis, you don’t need further Pap tests.
Who performs the Pap test?
We have an internationally-trained female physician (ITFP) performing the Pap and the procedure is overseen by a licensed physician.
Is the Pap test covered by OHIP?
Yes, the Pap test is covered by OHIP once every 3 years, unless specified otherwise by a doctor from previous Pap tests received.
Is this service available via walk-in?
No, this service is only available by appointment. Review the information on the page above on how to book a Pap test.