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Private Pay HPV Testing

LifeLabs is offering private pay human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in BC. This is being offered for either primary HPV screening or as a follow-up option for patients with abnormal cytology results. There are implications for patients and providers when private pay testing is used with respect to ongoing cervix screening. The following Q&A document has been prepared to answer questions on the use of private pay HPV testing in BC.

Talking to patients

The single most powerful motivator for women to be screened is an invitation or suggestion by her primary care provider. 

Health care professionals can help address barriers or discouraging experiences that may have prevented their patients from having regular cervical cancer screening (Pap tests).

Women often describe the cervical cancer screening experience as awkward, invasive, uncomfortable, embarrassing and traumatic. Some women never return for subsequent tests. In many cases the failure to return has been attributed to a negative first experience. Therefore, it is imperative that health care professionals do all they can to provide a positive, sensitive and caring experience for the woman; including comfortable, pleasant surroundings and an organized and informative environment.

If possible, women should be provided the following information before their cervical cancer screening visit:

  • Do not douche the vagina for 48 hours before the examination
  • Avoid using contraceptive creams or jellies for 48 hours before the examination
  • Cervical cancer screening is not recommended during menstruation; a mid-cycle test is optimal
  • They will be asked for the date of their last menstrual period (LMP)

Submitting Pap tests

All Pap tests submitted for cervical cancer screening must be accompanied by a gynecological cytology requisition that identifies the name of a licensed health professional in British Columbia to whom the Pap test report and follow-up reminder letters can be sent.

A “licensed health professional” is a member in good standing of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Registered Nurses of BC or the Association of Naturopathic Physicians of BC. Registered midwives and certain nursing stations in rural areas are also acceptable.

Gynecological cytology requisitions have to be completed appropriately with the requester and patient information. Pap sample slides have to be labeled with the patient’s last name and date of birth, fixed with a cytology spray fixative and submitted in slide mailers.

Frequently asked questions

A patient’s date of birth (DOB dd/mm/yyyy) and their last name are required to be written in lead pencil on all Pap sample slides. Please note Pap samples will be rejected if both identifiers are not present on the slide.


New BC practitioners and clinics submitting gynecological cytology samples should contact the lab and provide contact details before sending in samples to ensure all requirements are satisfied prior to submission. The lab can be reached by telephone at 1-877-747-2522 or by fax at 604-707-2809.


Pap test supplies are available through BC Cancer. To place an order, complete the Gynecological Cytology Supply Order Form and fax it to 604-707-2606. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. For a complete listing of resources available, visit the "Resources" tab.


Updated practitioner and clinic contact information is vital for the timely delivery of Pap test reports and follow-up reminder letters. Call 1-877-747-2522 to ensure contact information is correct, or fax the changes to 604-707-2809.


Registered nurses who meet the criteria may apply for an individual provider number to submit cytology samples for cervical cancer screening in BC with the Individual Provider Number Application Form.


Pap tests are free for BC residents who fall within the eligible population with appropriate medical insurance. Pap tests are billable to non-BC residents and those without appropriate medical insurance. Payments can be made by having the patient submit a cheque payable to PHSA Laboratories or use the credit card payment form (please submit the cheque or form with the Pap sample).


SOURCE: Guidance ( )
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