Our Next Lady Bits Clinic is Monday July 29th
Call Health Squad to reserve your spot
Ok, I’m gonna give you a PAP talk:
You know that getting regular health screening is part of wearing big girl pants. I know it’s not the highlight of your year, but being proactive with your health screening can be seriously empowering and pretty darn smart.
Did you know your Naturopathic Doctor is trained and licensed to perform regular Pap smears, pelvic and breast exams?
While your MD (or Nurse Practitioner) is a great option (maybe even the best option) to get your screening, it may not be the best option for YOU:
You may not be comfortable (for any reason) with your family doctor
You want a female health practitioner
You don’t feel comfortable in a conventional medical clinic
You are working in depth with me (especially for hormone / woman’s health issues) and these exams will provide and important information on your health
You are one of thousands of women in our community who do not have a family medical doctor or nurse practitioner, women who are missing vital health screening
I will be offering a regular “Lady Bits Clinic’ to my patients and women in our community. These visits offer a safe and welcoming environment for women to get gynecological screening.
Lady Bits Visits include some or all of the following components. This is determined based on Ontario guidelines (see below), your age, risk factors, previous testing history, and YOUR choice:
Pelvic and Breast Health History
Clinical Breast Examination
Cervical screening- PAP test
This visit will NOT include: HPV screening, or screening for chlamydia, gonorrhoea or other STIs. However, if this testing is indicated, it is available with your MD, a sexual health clinic, or self-test via an at home kit.
If you avoid getting a PAP test for any reason (e.g. history of sexual trauma, fear, anxiety etc.), please talk to us about the option of doing a self administered PAP test which you can do, at home.
You do not have to be an existing patient of the clinic in order to schedule a Lady Bits Visit. The visit is booked for 45 minutes in length for you to ask any questions you may have and to do the exams. The cost of the visit and the PAP testing from Life Labs is covered under most extended health care plans.
Please call Health Squad to schedule your appointment or hit us up with any questions you may have.
WHY GET A PAP TEST?
Having a Pap test is a simple, yet highly effective way to screen for changes or abnormalities that could lead to cancer of the cervix. (Not quite sure where your cervix is? Click here for a brief anatomy briefing).
Regular Pap tests are designed to find early cell changes in the cervix, before problems develop. An abnormal result means that the cells taken from your cervix look different under the microscope than normal cells. Cell changes found through Pap tests are very rarely cancerous but do require follow-up testing
what causes cervical cancer?
An HPV infection causes cell changes in the cervix. HPV is a family of viruses that is spread through sexual contact. For most women, the cells change back to normal when the infection goes away. Sometimes, the HPV virus remains over a number of years and this may slowly lead to cancer if not found and treated. Most women with an HPV infection do not develop cervical cancer.
Do you need a PAP?
The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends:
Women who are or have been sexually active have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21
Regular screening should continue until at least age 70 or when advised by your health professional 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.
If you have had the HPV vaccine, you still need to have regular PAP testing
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A PAP TEST?
What happens if you have an abnormal pap?
Your follow-up plan depends on the type of cell changes you have:
You may be asked to repeat your Pap test more often for a short period of time, for example every six months. This will allow time to see if the abnormal cells will change back to normal on their own.
Your health care provider may suggest an HPV test.
You may need to have your MD/NP refer you to a gynecologist for a special examination called a colposcopy.
CLINICAL BREAST EXAM
is a clinical breast exam right for you?
A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam of the breasts and the underarm area by a trained healthcare professional.
CANADA NO LONGER RECOMMENDS ROUTINE CLINICAL BREAST EXAMs…
The Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care has advised against routinely performing Clinical Breast Exam (CBE), or Self Breast exam, alone or in conjunction with mammography to screen for breast cancer. This recommendation is based on evidence that CBEs do not reduce breast cancer mortality, and also weighs potential harms of over diagnosis and unnecessary biopsy. The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society have also endorsed these guidelines.
however, this recommendation is controversial, and it may not BE RIGHT or FEEL RIGHT for YOU.
Not all cancers are detected by screening mammography, and screening mammography is not advised for women of all ages (mammography is suggested from age 50-74 for women at average risk). A study in the journal “Current Oncology” of 6333 women, found that a significant number of cancers (9%) would have been missed if CBE had not been performed, and cancers detected by CBE had more aggressive features. It may not save lives, but it might increase detection for some women.
YOU may feel that it is important for YOU to be proactive with your breast health.
BREAST HEALTH IS also important for other reasons…
You may have questions or concerns regarding breast health such as fibrocystic breasts, breast pain or discomfort, lymph node swelling, or changes with your menstrual cycle . A CBE may be helpful in conjunction with talking to your ND about treatment options and lifestyle factors that will promote breast health.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS AN ABNORMALITY FOUND DURING THE CLINICAL BREAST EXAM?
This would require a referral back to your MD/NP to confirm the finding, and to schedule appropriate testing. This may include an ultrasound, mammogram, and/or biopsy.
If you feel that a Clinical Breast Exam makes sense for you, then ask for it can be included in your visit.
Ontario Breast Screening Guidelines