A Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) helps you and your healthcare team keep an eye on your breast health. During an appointment for a Clinical Breast Exam, we will discuss your breast health, check out any changes, and perform a manual and visual exam of your breasts. During the CBE we just ask you to take off your bra (if you wear one); you can keep the rest of your clothing on. Breast Self-Exam (BSE) and mammograms will also be discussed during your visit.
Regardless of your gender identity, who you have sex with, or how you have sex, if you have a cervix you need a Pap test. If you’ve had a hysterectomy you may still need screening tests.
What to expect during a Pap test: You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist down (you can leave your socks on) and lie down on the exam table on your back with your feet in footrests. The practitioner will use a metal or plastic device called a speculum to open the vagina in order to see the cervix. A brush-like swab will then be used to collect cells from the cervix. The entire process takes only a couple minutes. You may feel some discomfort or pressure, but the process should not be painful.
Pap Test Tips:
- The best time to have a Pap test is in the middle of your menstrual cycle (not during your period). If you no longer have periods, you can have a Pap test at any time.
- Two or three days before your Pap test, avoid putting anything into your vagina. No penetration. This includes sex toys, tampons, vaginal creams, douches, medications, or lubricants.
- Let the practitioner know if this is your first Pap test.
- If you are not comfortable with terms like vagina being used, ask the practitioner to use terms that you prefer.
- Ask the practitioner to explain what they are doing as they do it.
- You are in control. If anything feels uncomfortable, let the practitioner know. If at any time you need the exam to stop, tell the practitioner to stop.
- Take long, slow, deep breaths. This will help relax the muscles inside the vagina and help it open.
- Bring a friend or family member and tell them in advance how they can support you.
- If you are not used to penetration, it can help to get comfortable with it at home either on your own or with a partner before you get a Pap test.
Cancer screenings are worth it. Call (207)947-5337 or email us to schedule your appointment today!