Pop-up pap test event to take place in Victoria next month
In response to a backlog of patients overdue for their cervical screening tests, a team of doctors on Vancouver Island is organizing a pop-up Pap test event called Papapalooza next month.
Pap tests are cervical screening tests for cancerous or abnormal cells, and BC Cancer recommends people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 69 book a screening every three years.
Abnormal cervical cells may signal the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus commonly spread during sex, severe forms of which can lead to cervical cancer.
The return to personal healthcare resulted in a backlog of more than 100,000 screening samples, according to BC Cancer, which says it typically processes 20,000 tests in four weeks, and those standards aren’t expected to return before the end of March.
In late January, BC Cancer said there was a backlog of 60,000 tests waiting to be processed.
Papapalooza co-organizer Anika Brown says while BC Cancer estimates that while only two-thirds of people eligible for a Pap test are to date, some people are five to 10 years between screenings.
“Of course, for people to have access to this screening, they have to go in person, and it’s a lot easier if you have a GP,” Brown said, “but for the thousands of people in BC who don’t, they have to have access.” for screening by either a walk-in clinic or a sexual health clinic.”
Brown said this event was founded by two doctors in Nanaimo, and that she and co-organizer Alisha Hussey received a grant from the Canadian Federation of Medical Students to expand Papapalooza across the province.
“The purpose is that people who do not have a GP or otherwise cannot access their GP and face multiple barriers to cervical cancer screening come to our event, have a safe and welcoming environment to have their cervical cancer screening done,” said Brown.
Papapalooza is scheduled for April 15 at the Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic and organizers expect around 110 appointments will be available.
According to Brown, those wishing to book a screening can register online through the event’s Instagram page or the clinic’s website and will need an MSP number. After individuals sign up, she said a medical student will call to make an appointment and clinicians will contact patients to share their screening results.