The Lasqueti Island Local
A community driven newsletter
For a quirky off grid island.
The Nursing Clinic located at the Judith Fisher Centre.
Email address: LasquetiHealthCentre@gmail.com
Nurse: Dianne McClure RN/MN
Cell: 250-240-5712 | Home: 250-752-7419
Clinic phone (during clinic hours): 250-333-8891
Hours: Thursday from 11:00am – 3:00pm
A Pap alternative now exists, at least for some!
This month’s article is about a simple but important screening test that can help in the prevention of cervical cancer. As cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable having the ability to do self-screening is a positive step forward in the prevention of this particular cancer.
Most people are familiar with a Pap test, which looks for abnormal cell changes in your cervix. Cervix self-screening is an alternative to the Pap test. It looks for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes the abnormal cell changes. HPV is a very common virus. It spreads easily through any kind of sexual contact including intimate touching, and oral, vaginal and anal sex. The virus usually goes away on it’s own without causing any problems. Most people in fact will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives. Usually the body’s immune system will remove HPV within 2 years. An infection with a high-risk strain of HPV can be more difficult for the body to get rid of and it may cause the cells of the cervix to become abnormal. If abnormal cells aren’t found and treated it can lead to cancer.
Screening can help determine if you are at risk of developing abnormal cells. If high risk HPV is found it doesn’t mean you have cancer it just means you need to be followed more closely. If no high-risk HPV is found on screening you do not need another screen for 5 years. Pap tests are every 3 years (if normal results) up until the age of 69. Screening starts at 25 years of age.
The screening kit allows you to collect your sample at home. You don’t need a speculum exam or the assistance of a health care provider. The kits are free and completed kits can be dropped off at Canada Post preferably the same day the sample has been taken. Results are sent to you and your health care provider in approximately 6 weeks.
In some cases a Pap test may still be required. Lasqueti Island is currently not part of the pilot for obtaining screening kits however I am hoping to obtain kits for those people who have a primary care provider in Parksville.
More information can be accessed at: www.screening bc.ca/cervix-pilot
Best and Blessings, Dianne