Early detection is the best defense against breast and cervical cancer. At Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, women can learn more about their risks and get screened for breast and cervical cancer by an experienced health care provider. Make an appointment for an annual exam, pap smear, or breast cancer screening at our Boulder or Longmont, Colorado clinics.
Annuals & Cancer Screenings Q & A
What happens during an annual exam?
Services provided during an annual exam include:
Review of your health history
Pelvic exam and Pap smear
Birth control counseling and supplies
Possible testing for sexually-transmitted infections
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a simple procedure that tests your risk for cervical cancer and certain other infections. It’s recommended for women once they reach the age of 21. The provider uses a swab or small brush to collect a sampling of cells from your cervix during your annual gynecological exam. These cells are sent to a lab and examined for abnormal growth. You may feel brief, mild discomfort during the exam, but it’s generally well-tolerated and not painful.
If the lab finds abnormal cells, you will be contacted to discuss what additional tests and treatments you may need. Abnormal cells don’t usually indicate cancer, but may require some other screenings.
What screenings are available for breast cancer?
During your annual exam at Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, a nurse practitioner performs a clinical breast exam that screens for any lumps or abnormalities in the breast region. After age 40, you and your provider will make a plan for further breast screenings or diagnostic exams. This conversation will take into account your individual risk of breast cancer, results of the clinical breast exam, current screening recommendations, and your personal preferences.
What if I cannot afford additional diagnostic exams?
Women who live in Colorado, are legal residents of U.S., and meet the income requirements of the Women’s Wellness Connection program can have their cervical cancer screenings paid for them. This includes women aged 21-64, and covers the Pap smear and any necessary future diagnostic tests. It also pays for a clinical breast exam and an annual mammogram for women aged 40-64. Most diagnostic tests and breast-related follow-up tests are also covered by the program. If cancer is diagnosed, there are also programs to assist in breast and cervical cancer treatment, such as Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) Medicaid. Please contact us if you would like help figuring out if you qualify for this or other programs.
What if I don't qualify for WWC?
Patients who are uninsured and/or low income may qualify for free or discounted breast cancer screenings through our Breast Health Program. If funds are unavailable in our breast health program, we may be able to connect you to other resources for free or discounted screenings. To find out if you qualify and what services are covered, call our Patient Advocate at 303-440-9320 ext. 130 (Boulder) or ext. 212 (Longmont).