There has recently been a change to the regulations regarding PAP testing in Ontario. A PAP test screens for cervical cell changes and is a useful test for detecting pre-cancerous lesions. The new PAP testing guidelines now state that screening should occur every 3 years for women starting at age 21 who have previously been sexually active and should continue until age 70. They are also recommending that women who have never been sexually active delay screening until they are sexually active (this includes sexual intercourse or oral or digital contact). This is a significant change from the previous recommendation of yearly screening beginning the first year a female is sexually active or at the age of 18, whichever is sooner.
This new guidelines has sparked some concern among many in the medical profession who are concerned that if a woman has a normal PAP test at age 21 that waiting 3 years may be too long if cervical cell changes start to develop. As a Naturopathic Doctor, one of the things we often try to educate our patients on is prevention of disease or rather being pro-active about one’s health. We understand it is not a women’s favorite test to have performed, however it can help to detect cervical cell changes well before a more serious concern arises. This new recommendation runs the risk of potentially missing the one or two women, whose cells begin to change faster than the average, possibly putting them at risk for more serious concerns. When cervical cell changes begin to occur, if they are caught early, the treatments are usually much less aggressive and can help to revert the cervix to its healthy state. Naturopathic Doctors are licensed and trained to perform PAP tests as well as breast exams. We have decided that as a service to our patients and the women in our community that we are going to begin offering well-woman checks. These visits offer a warm, welcoming environment for women to learn more about their bodies.
Well women visits includes:
- a full breast examination
- an education session on how to perform a self breast exam
- a full gynecological exam, including a PAP test.
You do not have to be an existing patient of the clinic in order to schedule a well-woman check. The visit is 45 minutes in length and the cost of the visit is covered under most extended health care plans. The fee is $135. Please feel free to give us a call to schedule your appointment or please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.