Women with disabilities need health exams 127
HOW TO PREPARE FOR BREAST AND PELVIC EXAMS
You can prepare for a breast or pelvic exam by knowing ahead of time what is going
to happen. Ask the health worker to talk about each step of the exam and to explain
anything you do not understand. It may help to think in advance
Will you please
tell me how you
will examine my
of questions to ask her.
As a woman with a disability, you may have different needs
during the exams. If possible, take a friend or family member who
can stay with you the whole time. Talk with the health worker
about your specific needs before the exam so she can do
them in a way that is safer and easier for you.
If you are deaf or cannot hear well, bring a friend with
you who can use sign language to help you communicate
with the health worker.
If you are blind or cannot see well, bring a friend to
explain and describe the exams. Ask the health worker
to carefully explain what she is doing and what you
If you have a mobility-related disability or cannot
walk well, bring a friend, or plan ahead how to enter
the clinic or health center.
If you have trouble understanding or learning, and the breast or pelvic exam
makes you frightened, nervous, or uncomfortable, ask for someone you trust to stay
with you during the exam.
Family members and caregivers can help women who have disabilities that affect
learning or understanding:
• Talk about the exams in advance. A family member
or friend can explain the exams to a woman who has
trouble learning. Help her understand that these exams
are important for her to be healthy. Describe what will
happen during the exams and answer her questions. If
you can, tell her who will do the exams.
• Visit the clinic before the exams, if possible. The day
before the exams, try to go with her to the place where the exams will be done.
• Have someone she trusts go with her. If she wants, a friend or family member
can stay with her during the exams. If the health worker who does the exams is a
man, make sure a woman she trusts stays with her the whole time.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007