PAP screening including HPV testing

Why is Mint adding HPV screening to our Pap tests?

Currently when you get a Pap it’s identifying changes to the cervix that with time can turn into cancer. What we’re now trying to do is not only identify if there are these changes but also test for the virus that causes these changes. The virus is HPV and it causes cervical cancer.

Who is at risk of having HPV?

Everyone. That’s the reason we already routinely screen with Pap tests for those 25 and over.

With HPV screening we are trying to catch the infection as early as possible and identify whether the high risk strains of the virus are present. Most people are able to kill the virus with no treatment. Some don’t. We worry about those people. We can tell why some people can’t kill HPV because certain factors are associated with infections including:

  • Birth control pills
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Yeast infections
  • BV infections
  • Stress

These risk factors are broad, which makes it challenging to hone in on who most likely needs screening. So we screen everyone. That way we can detect the virus, catch any early progression of the infection to precancerous cells, treat and monitor for clearance of HPV.

The Advanced Pap has some other benefits.

  • Faster results. 2-3 weeks vs 3-4 months
  • More accurate and reliable results.
  • Retesting shows if the virus is killed.
  • Offers a window of opportunity for medical support to help kill the virus.

Adding HPV screening to your Pap test is not covered by MSP. It costs $100.

Most extended Health Plans do cover the Pap appointment, which is $110 if you have ND coverage.

More about Basic PAP Screening

Pap Smears do not have to be painful chores that you need to do every 2-3 years. At Mint, we believe they can be comfortable and educational experiences where you can learn more about your body while screening for cervical cancer and its risk factors. You should feel empowered and supported in understanding why you are having this screening done. We don’t just want you to feel like a postcard reminder.⁠

The BC Cancer Agency tells us:⁠

  • Cervical cancer screening involves a test called a Pap test that can find abnormal cells in the cervix before they become cancer. ⁠
  • If these abnormal cells are found and treated early, cervical cancer can be stopped from developing. ⁠
  • Screening can also identify cancer at an early stage – before it can cause symptoms. If cervical cancer is caught at its earliest stage, the chance of survival is more than 85 per cent. ⁠

Cervical cancer usually has no symptoms. Symptoms of cervical cancer may include: ⁠

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as bleeding in between periods, bleeding during/after sex or after menopause); ⁠
  • Abnormal or persistent vaginal discharge; or,⁠
  • Pelvic pain, or pain during sexual intercourse. ⁠

Women and anyone with a cervix between the ages of 25 to 69 should be screened for cervical cancer every three years. ⁠

Cervical cancer screening can stop at age 69 if your results have always been normal. Ask us if you should still be tested.⁠

You should still screen regularly for cervical cancer if:⁠

  • You’ve been through menopause;⁠
  • You’ve had only one sexual partner or have been with the same partner for a while;⁠
  • You’ve had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine;⁠
  • You’re in a same-sex relationship; or,⁠
  • You’re a transgender individual with a cervix.⁠

At Mint you can request a Basic PAP or Advanced PAP which includes HPV screening.

Dr. Bobby Parmar ND RAc