Dr. Melissa Bedford, Naturopathic Doctor with Patient at Victoria Clinic

Pap Tests & Cervical Cancer Screening in Victoria

UPDATE: Cervix self-screening, another way to screen for cervical cancer, is available through the BC Cancer Cervix Screening Program as of January 29, 2024.

Therefore, there are now 2 options for cervical cancer screening:

  • Self-screening – with this option, you collect your own sample in the comfort of your home via a vaginal swab
  • Provider-collected sample – this is the screening method that has been in place for many years, which involves an in-office speculum exam

Cervix self-screening has not entirely replaced provider-collected samples (pap tests). Pap tests are still available for those who prefer to screen in person, for those who may be ineligible for self-screening, and in some cases, where a follow-up pap test is required (if HPV is found through the self-screening test).

Please visit this excellent resource on the BC Cancer website for more information and to order a self-screening kit, if desired.

Have questions? As your Naturopathic Doctor in Victoria I am here to support you in your health journey. Please reach out with any questions you have.

Where Can You Get a Pap Test in Victoria?

There are several free options for completing a pap test in Victoria:

PAP TESTS with Dr. Bedford, ND:

A number of Naturopathic Doctors (including myself!) offer pap testing. I am pleased to continue to offer pap tests for those who prefer this screening method or who are ineligible for self-screening. As a private healthcare provider, while there is no additional cost for the pap test itself, there is a charge for the appointment time.

The appointment time for a pap test is 30 minutes and costs $125. If you have extended health benefits for naturopathic medicine, this fee (or a portion of it) may be covered – I encourage you to take a look at your plan and ask your insurance provider for more information if you have questions.

pap testing in Victoria bc

What causes cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) that is long term, persistent, and high risk. 

  • Long Term: Cervical cancers develop very slowly, typically taking 10-15 years for invasive cervical cancer to develop following an initial infection with high risk HPV (hrHPV).
  • Persistent: There is an estimated 80% lifetime risk of HPV infection, meaning HPV infection is very common and will affect most people at some point in their lives (often without us ever knowing we have the infection). However, most HPV infections are transient – our body will clear the majority of infections within 2 years, especially in people under age 30. 
  • High Risk: There are different strains (types) of HPV – some are low risk and some are high risk. There are 15 high risk HPV (hrHPV) strains – the two most prevalent are HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancers.