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
Updated guidelines recommend Pap testing for women who are, or have been, sexually active. Testing should begin at age 21, 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
Pap Test appointments are available at the following Appletree Medical Centres:
240 Sparks Street, Unit C153
Monday 4:00pm – 7:00pm
2573 Baseline Road
Monday 10:00am – 2:30pm
Friday 9:00am – 1:00pm
1595 Merivale Road, Unit 1A-2
Thursday 10:00am – 2:00pm
1309 Carling Avenue
Saturday 10:00am – 3:00pm
Greater Toronto Area
2077 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Tuesday 10:00am – 5:00pm
1450 O’Connor Drive, East York
Wednesday 10:00am – 4:00pm
275 Dundas Street West
Tuesday (alternating) 1:00pm – 4:30pm
2025 Midland Avenue, Unit 100
Monday 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Tuesday 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Wednesday 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Thursday 1:00pm – 8:00pm
4700 Keele Avenue, York University
Wednesday (alternating) 1:00pm – 4:00pm
4G Spadina Avenue, Toronto
Monday 9:00am – 3:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am – 2:45pm
Thursday 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Friday 9:00am – 2:45pm
Saturday 1:30pm – 3:00pm
545 Steeles Avenue West, Brampton
Friday (alternating) 3:00pm – 6:00pm
What to Expect During Your Appointment
You will be asked to complete a short heath questionnaire which will provide the doctor you are seeing with relevant medical information regarding your health. The Pap test will be completed by either a Physician or an International Medical Graduate (IMG). You will be asked to lie down on the exam table and a speculum will be inserted into the vagina, to allow the cervix to be examined. Using a small brush, your cervix will be swabbed to collect cells for analysis.
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 off at a local laboratory. Nearby locations will be listed on the bottom of the requisition for your convenience.
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
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.