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Cervical Cancer Screenings st louis

Cancer Screenings

Early cancer screenings can be life-saving. Make sure these simple tests are a part of your regular wellness exams. 

Free Breast and Cervical Health Screenings

If you live in Colorado, Nevada, or New Mexico, you could qualify for a free breast and/or cervical cancer screening. Click your state below or call 1.800.230.PLAN to learn more.

Colorado

The Women's Wellness Connection program provides free yearly breast and cervical cancer screening for Colorado residents who qualify, based on income or insurance. 

  • For individuals age 21-39 who qualify, the screening includes a pelvic exam, Pap test, and HPV test. 

  • For individuals age 40-64 who qualify, the screening includes a pelvic exam, Pap test, HPV test, clinical breast exam, and screening mammogram. The program also covers further diagnostic services, if indicated.

Nevada

The Women's Health Connection (WHC) provides a free yearly breast exam, Pap test, and pelvic exam for Nevada residents ages 40-64 who qualify, based on income and lack of insurance. The program also covers mammograms for individuals ages 50 to 64.

New Mexico

The Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCC) provides free yearly breast exam, Pap test and pelvic exam for New Mexico residents who qualify, based on income and insurance.

  • For individuals age 21-29 who qualify, the screening includes a clinical breast exam, pelvic exam, and Pap test.

  • For individuals ages 30 and up, the screening includes a clinical breast exam, pelvic exam, Pap test, and mammogram referral, if indicated.

Cervical Cancer Screenings

A Pap test, sometimes called a Pap smear, is an important test that finds abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer. A Pap test may be part of your annual wellness exam or pelvic exam. Pap tests are recommended beginning at age 21.

During a Pap test, your clinician puts a metal or plastic speculum into your vagina. The speculum opens up to separate the walls of your vagina so that they can get to your cervix. Then they use a small sampler — a tiny spatula or brush — to gently collect cells from your cervix. The cells are sent to a lab to be tested.

The Pap test only takes a few minutes. It shouldn't hurt, but you might feel some discomfort or pressure from the speculum inside you. You might also feel a light scratching when the clinician takes cells from your cervix.

Preparing for a cervical cancer screening

  • For best results from your Pap test, please do not douche or place anything in the vagina 24 hours before the appointment. (If you use the NuvaRing, you can continue using this as normal.)

  • If you have your period and are spotting or bleeding lightly, we can continue with your appointment. If you have heavier bleeding, please reschedule your appointment for another time (unless the bleeding is an issue you need to discuss with your clinician).

Learn more about cervical health here. 

Breast Cancer Screening

A clinical breast exam can detect a lump in your breast and other changes that might require more testing. Breast exams improve the chances of finding breast cancer early – and the earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. 

If you have breasts, it is recommended that you begin getting regular breast screenings at age 21. If you are over 40, it is recommended that you have a breast exam every year.

During a breast exam, you’ll take your shirt and bra off. Your clinician will look at both of your breasts to see the shape, size, and texture of your skin. They’ll feel your breasts with the tips of their fingers to check if there are any lumps or if something else doesn’t feel normal. They’ll start with one breast and then do the other, including both nipples, and also check your armpits. 

Your clinician will tell you whether your breasts look and feel healthy, and can recommend more tests if there’s anything unusual. They’ll also talk with you about your risks for breast cancer and what you can do to help prevent it.

Learn more about breast health here.

Do I need a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can find lumps that are too small to be felt during a clinical breast exam. Most people with breasts should get a mammogram every year starting at age 40.  You may need to get one earlier depending on your family history of breast cancer or the results of your clinical breast exam.

Like most doctor’s offices, Planned Parenthood health centers do not have mammogram machines. If a patient needs a screening or diagnostic mammogram, we will provide a referral to a local radiologist who can perform the mammogram X-ray. 

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