What Doctors Don’t Want You to Know About Pap Tests and Pelvic Exams

You might have wondered why doctors are so persistent when it comes to your pap test and pelvic exam.  You might also have wondered why doctors don’t give you information and offer you a choice in the matter.  Here is some information about pap tests and pelvic exams that doctors rarely tell you:

Pap Tests – Undisclosed Information:  Pap tests detect abnormal cells on your cervix.  What doctors don’t tell you is that the results from a pap smear are often inaccurate (between 10 and 60% of pap smears are inaccurate) and will show a false positive for abnormal cells if you have recently had intercourse, taken a bath, used a tampon, or any number of such things.  An abnormal pap smear does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer, or that you are even at risk of cervical cancer.   ehealthmd.com/content/how-accurate-are-pap-smear-results

Cervical Cancer – Undisclosed Information:  Doctors also don’t want you to know how rare cervical cancer is.  Your odds of getting cervical cancer are 1 in 13,699 (in developed countries).  Your odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident each year are 1 in 6,535.  In other words, you are more than twice as likely to die in a car accident than you are of getting cervical cancer.  Also, the odds of getting cervical cancer are even lower if you are a young to middle aged woman. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012001/article/11616/tbl/tbla-eng.htm

Extra Fees – Undisclosed Information:  Doctors are able to charge extra fees for pap smears.  Doctors don’t want you to know that they are making more money from your visit every time you agree to a pap test.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/doctor/care/capitation.html

Bimanual Exams – Undisclosed Information:  Doctors perform a bimanual exam (insertion of fingers into the vagina) along with the speculum exam.  What doctors don’t want you to know is that there is no data to support the relevance of the bimanual exam.  Studies have shown that no abnormalities have ever been accurately detected by inserting fingers into a woman’s vagina. jwh.2010.2349 (application/pdf Object

Pleasure – Undisclosed Information:  Some doctors enjoy performing pelvic exams.  But do not take my word for this – read for yourself a male doctor’s point of view on pelvic exams: http://forwomenseyesonly.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/

Further Tests – Undisclosed Information:  Many women who receive a false positive pap smear result are sent for further and more invasive testing.  This leads to further income for medical professionals, but this is also where further damage to the cervix can occur from colposcopies and unnecessary biopsies; resulting in risk of heavy bleeding, infection, irreparable cervical mutilation, unnecessary hysterectomies, and difficulties with pregnancy and giving birth as the following evidence shows:

Based on solid evidence, regular screening with the Pap test leads to additional diagnostic procedures (e.g., colposcopy) and treatment for low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL), with long-term consequences for fertility and pregnancy. These harms are greatest for younger women, who have a higher prevalence of LSIL, lesions that often regress without treatment. Harms are also increased in younger women because they have a higher rate of false-positive results. Magnitude of Effect: Additional diagnostic procedures were performed in 50% of women undergoing regular Pap testing . . . The number with impaired fertility and pregnancy complications is unknown.  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/cervical/HealthProfessional/page1/AllPages#Section_133

So, as you can see, there are many good reasons why your doctor doesn’t want to offer you information and a choice regarding pelvic exams and pap tests.  Do your research, protect your healthy mind and body.

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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310 Responses to What Doctors Don’t Want You to Know About Pap Tests and Pelvic Exams

  1. Kleigh says:

    The way doctors mislead woman about hpv is sad. I read a husbands post on another blog telling how if his wife had not been screened she would have never been cured from her “hpv cancer” that is so wrong for gyns to mislead woman and there familys. They act like they have saved so many womans lifes from hpv.

    • Alex says:

      I guess they like the deception. Screwed-up, huh?

      mgpr2013- How’s it going with those pamphlets or whatever you were doing? I don’t remember if it was a leaflet you were going to be handing out or show you were going to be on, but I remember you wanting advice on what information to put in something.

      • mgpr2013 says:

        Hi Alex, I’m great. I am taking the approach of screening in general but will mention stats on cervical cancer and breast cancer and the huge amount of screening and treatment that is done to save only a few. I will definately mention the rate of cervical cancer as well. Both prior to paps being done and post pap screening.
        I also wrote a letter to the women’s clinic I went to to say how angry I was that the dr I saw could answer none of my questions and I will write a similar letter to the colposcopy clinic saying how angry I was that the receptionist basically threatened me with having cancer if I didn’t show up for this appointment.
        I’m trying to find the article again but it said that 80% of CIN3 regressed on it’s own. EIGHTY PERCENT. I don’t know the age group but I’ll see if I can find it.
        The other part that I’m trying to find out is how do I know if I”ve got a persistant HPV infection or not? I’ve had a new partner in the last 2 years…so I don’t know. The more I read the more I realize they don’t know a lot about HPV either. It may lay dormant, it may not. Most of the time it goes away, sometimes it doesn’t. It seems to me that instead of spending the money on a vaccine (that is useless anyway IMO) they should have spent the money on figuring out more about HPV altogether.
        And one more thing….I HATE the term precancerous cells. That seems to me an implication that they WILL turn into cancer. That simply isn’t the case. By that logic pretty much every cell in my body is ‘precancerous’. I understand that some may be more predisposed to be cancerous but ….they aren’t cancerous.
        It’s just tragic the number of stories I’ve been reading about, young women especially, who had their ‘lives saved’ because they had precancerous cells removed.
        I have a girlfriend who I’ve recently shared my new cause with and she was very upset with me. Paps ‘saved her life’ too. She told me she had cancer removed …. I was shocked and I said I had no idea she had cancer and she said yes, they were classified as atypical squamous cell of undetermined signifigance. She believed she had cancer. She did not want to listen to what I had to say about it. Tragic. So many ‘survivors’ and so little disease.

  2. Moo says:

    Sorry a woman having CIN3 might want to get a colposcopy since she could have cancer because the pap is inaccurate both ways. It could miss cancer. The problem is getting a colposcopy without the pressure for treatment. Such as some women might want to wait to see if their HPV clears and their dysplasia clears up before doing a treatment or use alternative therapies. Only most doctors do not want to wait. It is legal issues too.

    You can find plenty of journal articles that discuss the percentages of regression etc. however if it is your cervix and your health, try to get as much info as possible. Do not expect to get information from a receptionist. That is not their job. Even the doctors do have time. They system is just wrong.

    Depending where you live you can ask for a HPV test. Ask about whether the results show if which types. Types 16 and 18 are most likely to cause cancer. But if a woman has these types and CIN3, she might consider getting treatment rather than just nothing.

    • mgpr2013 says:

      Moo you’re absolutely right. I didn’t mean to imply you should ignore it or not get it checked. I simply want to let women know that HPV is common, and in most cases goes away. As does CIN3. I am no doctor, I just think women have been scared for so long and I want women to be educated on the realities of cervical cancer and then make a decision. Informed consent … to me is the most important message.

  3. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Many women with CIN 3 think they would have developed actual cervical cancer, they assume it’s a natural progression, it’s not.
    From memory about 12% progress to invasive cc…some studies go as high as 20% and I think one said 30%…regardless, the majority have nothing to worry about, of course, I can understand why someone in that position might be concerned.
    The scare-mongering and misinformation definitely hasn’t helped, but IMO, that was their intention, “HPV is everywhere, we’re all at risk!”….it helps cast a wide net and scare the daylights out of everyone….and they hope create a scared, compliant and grateful herd.

    • mgpr2013 says:

      Hi Elizabeth…I”m Canadian :)
      The scare mongering is very effective. I change my mind daily, sometimes hourly, about whether or not I’ll get a colposcopy/ biopsy. It really depends on what I read and who’s written it LOL,

      • Moo says:

        The CIN level is about how many layers the HPV infection has spread done to. If it is CIN3 the it is down to the bottom layer and the theory is that the HPV infected cells are producing proteins that induce cancer. So CIN1 is only the top most layer affected and more likely that the body will clear it so the higher regression rates. CIN2 is between the two and into the middle layer. There is also a good chance that it can regress as well. Some strains of HPV involved in CIN3 are very likely to cause cancer. But just getting a CIN3 pap result probably means your body is having trouble clearing the virus.

        What affects regression is the size of the HPV infection. It could be a small pin size so that could still be deep in the layers such as CIN3 but the body might be able to handle healing it. However if the HPV infection is over a larger area the body might need some help. If you have CIN3 you should probably consider at least finding out how big a problem it is before deciding any treatments from a colposcopist.

        Healing HPV on your own depends on certain factors such as age, smoking, vitamin deficiencies, other infections, immune status.

        Maybe you could consult with a naturopathic doctor for treatment. Some of them will send their pap lab work outside of your province for processing so the results will not be recorded in the provincial registry. However they charge and will also recommend diet, lifestyle and supplements to go with the treatments. It could cost you several hundred dollars.

        Do you not understand what the colposcopy process and biopsy is about?

      • mgpr2013 says:

        Hi Moo, yes I fully understand what the colposcopy and biopsy is about, which is why I don’t know if I want to get it done. I had an ASCUS pap. Which I suppose could be anything. But considering my overall risk of getting cervical cancer in my lifetime is so very low I don’t know if I want to keep digging around in there. The truth is, if I could go back in time I never would have had paps done at all. Or even tested for HPV. The rate of regression for these conditions is so very high and the risk of cc so low…I’d rather not know. But now that I do know…I’m torn about what to do.
        I now know that the truth is they don’t know which will regress and which won’t. So they treat everything just in case. I get it. But … I don’t know how I feel about it.

      • Alex says:

        mgpr2013- Aside from the fact that just because you ARE a woman doesn’t mean that you are likely to get something that only a woman can get- they don’t mention that these are high risk & low utility methods of detecting something that’s massively rare. I figure it’s a good idea to take this into account if you’re thinking about follow-ups to things.

        Something I told Ro (I think) that might be helpful:

        People tend to presume honesty & accuracy when interacting with someone. That’s not always misplaced- if you were to ask someone what time it is & they told you “3:30,” their watch probably does say “3:30.” Same goes with tone, body language, etc… .

        This can be used against someone & through subtle methods. Like when someone says something where something else would have to be true- it implies the background that would support the situation. A common trick is someone presenting something as a fixed situation (as if there exists no capacity for things to unfurl any other way). Like when they say that they “WILL” be doing something or that someone is “GOING” to be having something- that implies that things are this way. They don’t mention that an action has to be engaged in order to occur.

      • mgpr2013 says:

        Hi Alex, you’re right. And as I say I can’t decide. Luckily I don’t have to. I have several months for my ‘urgent’ ASCUS case gets examined. The fact is that cervical cancer happens. It is rare. Every woman needs to decide how important it is to her to get checked, but…that is only the beginning. Once you’re checked…then what? According to some it’s very serious. According to others not so much. I compare it to a smoker who is deciding whether or not to be tested for lung cancer. I’m at a higher risk because I am HPV positive but it doesn’t mean I have cancer or that I will develop cancer. I wish I had information sooner but I’m glad I have it now.

      • Alex says:

        That’s a good comparison! I didn’t think of that one (but I’m sure, as there’s no excuse for personal agency as far as they’re concerned, they’d try some kind of imposed situation with that).

        If I might offer a bit of advice: Look at the chance of NOT having cancer more than the possibility of having it. It’s not just that there’s a massive amount more one way, but also if you focus so much on that one potential it’ll usually start to seem like a definite thing.

  4. Moo says:

    I thought you said you have CIN3. Just ASCUS? I would personally not bother with colposcopy for ASCUS but that is my body.

    What puzzles me is what does “persistent HPV infection” mean? Is it with the same strain or if someone is tested for HPV every three years and all positive, regardless of strain, is that persistent. Is the carcinogenic effect of HPV infection accumulative or more related to strain? Who has those answers?

    If someone has one HPV strain and clears it, then apparently they can not be reinfected with that same strain again otherwise the vaccines would not work for long. The immune system cells remember only for so long though.

    I do not buy this “HPV reactivation” in older women. I think that they are probably new infections with different strains. Yes an odd cancer cell could hang put and decide to grow crazy later (we all have cancer cells) but there must be some stimulus.

    Most of the HPV tests are crocks because it is possible to identify each strain individually but they just group them all to make more money. Now the newer ones are having separate results for strains 16 and 18 because of the vaccines. This is because if a women has the vaccine she could test positive on a regular HPV test. There are also many other strains that are cancer causing so they need to cash in on that.

    • mgpr2013 says:

      Hi Moo, exactly what I”m saying. I have had ASCUS paps before, a few years ago, but no HPV. My pap last year was normal but this one now comes up with HPV and ASCUS. That’s why i’m soooo dubious about this whole rush to cut part of my cervix off and test it. I”ve also had a new partner in the last 24 months. For a little more info, I was pregnant last year and miscarried and I have read that that can make HPV pop up because your immunity is compromised. Also, I told the dr that I just finished my period the day before this pap. I was wearing tampons the day before…so I know that can affect the test. So, I am left wondering exactly what you’re asking. What is persistant? Who has these answers? Why aren’t they finding these things out instead of pumping money into vaccines? I think we all know the answer to that one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    mgpr2013 – I was in a similar boat – CIN1 colposcopy requested but I refused and was currently in menopause which by the way could have thrown up the abnormal cells. I could not put myself through this with possible treatment for something that may or more likely may not become cancer. Its a very long rollercoaster ride, for years! They claim it is simple and pain free, I don’t buy this at all. When it is me/yourself or any woman in those stirrups legs akin, a stranger behind the sheet hiding all those tools and acids , it is in no way SIMPLE! Overtreatment is huge, massive in almost every medical area. I feel I have protected myself from harm to this date, from 2009 this began and I am still here. The more I read, from here and elsewhere the more shocked I become, from all the lies. I have seen quoted on training sites “don’t tell the woman this or that because she will refuse the test” etc. All the projects they spend money on soley for the purpose of increasing uptake. If they have to lie and try so dam hard to get us to comply then something is seriously wrong, ALARM BELLS are ringing. It has to be with FULLY informed consent and as they hold back honest information, then it is not informed consent! This is not ethical. I understand your frustration as have been there, like many on this site, and still get questioned at every doctors visit. I was a little abrubt this time but was at the end of my tether, I’ve already said NO several times so again I said “its an informed decision and thats final”. I have another appt 10th April, lets see what happens this time. Oh and the Doc was sneeky and asked if I would have a cholesterol test, I foolishly said yes and the nurse told me its high at 5.6 and now I believe that is normal in the uk for the average woman-huh whatever average is LOL. Now I know that it was simply another screening test, Dam! Being told it was high made me angry then upset then angry again, followed by no dinner, a headache and a rough nights sleep! I am 47 kilos for goodness sake, why on earth would he want to test my cholesterol – easy answer – more targets and incentives!! Anyway I know my weight is fine but it did bother me, guess I’m just one of those sensitive types LOL! Good luck with your decision but make it yours and not anyone elses decision.

    • mgpr2013 says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. And I know exactly what you mean. I think the thing I never thought about before was “If I get screened, and they find something….what am I prepared to do about it?”
      And I believe that I have about a 90%+ chance that I am perfectly fine. I think I can live with that statistic.

    • Moo says:

      To anonymous. I got the cholesterol test because the rant was “prevention is important” however he never gave me any numbers just “it was ok” . If he ever asks again he is going to have to give me previous test results, paper copies and not try to charge me an outrageous fee. I know now much printing a piece of paper from his computer cost.

      How can I possibly know if my exercise and eating habits are good enough when I have no numbers. I am overweight but I refuse to weigh at the clinic because the scale is in the reception area. Not private.

      The e-medical files is a sham. It allows other health care workers to easily access your records but you, the patient, cannot see your own information unless you pay the outrageous fee. Presently the fee is $30 for the first pay and extra after that.

      • Finnuala says:

        Hi I am in New Zealand and they are bringing in Electronic Medical records here. It is an opt off system just like the NCSP register. I have already been to my GP surgery and opted my entire family off. To his credit my GP is not doing it……for now.

  6. ChasUK says:

    Sorry that last post was from me ChasUK

  7. Kleigh says:

    Anon. I Am happy to hear you stoud up for your self at the doctors. If you dont mind me asking, What was the docotrs and nurses reaction when you you refused and mentiond informed concent and over treatment? I had a bad experiance with a nurse who didnt even know what a pap cheeked but scolded me for not haveing a pap date for her.

    • Alex says:

      Ever notice how they either act like they’re experts in a field, but then don’t know anything about it or DO know what they’re doing & lie about it? Either one is a scam. Fraud is fine in a medical situation, then? No, of course not.

      They also tend to act innocent & like any other medical personnel is innocent no matter what they do. They are not innocent of their own actions!

      I guess you can’t expect them to dress like Dracula & bare their teeth at you before they try to cause a problem.

      • bethkz says:

        A few years ago, there was a bill on the Oklahoma State ballot which explicitly gave doctors permission to lie to their patients! http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/04/28/carr.abortion.oklahoma/index.html  The bill said that a doctor did not have to tell a pregnant patient of a foetus’ birth defects even if she directly asked him and he knew. It’s a slippery slope which would require only a single court case to decide that the “intent” of the law was to allow doctors to lie under other circumstances. The most amazing thing was that it was passed into law!

  8. Kleigh says:

    Alex, I also think they hide behide these exams being “standard of care” and also the follow ups. Even if the screening makes no since and the follow ups are damaging they do think if they dont follow up they are gona be sued. Its about money i think the Acog makes these “recomendations” to protect profit. “woman should have this” its like not doing it is not right and doctors thin kick woman out of there office if they do not comply with standard of care. IE FORCED PAP SMEARS.

  9. Kleigh says:

    also the nurse that scolded me for not haveing pap smears. Thought pap smears had somthing to do with mensturation and didnt know crap about the screening and i think she felt thretened when it questioned it and new more than she. An educated nurse.

    • Alex says:

      I’ve heard that as a running theme with nurses (at least in America). They’re usually lazy, arrogant, control-freaks that think they’re educated & have an “I’m not going to be ignored” attitude. They also seem to not be able to handle things well at home, so they try to play “commander-in-chief” with patients.

      I remember one of my mother’s friends was a nurse & she was sub-human. Not to get too graphic with details, but her son was “less than loyal” as a brother to his two little sisters & not only did this bitch pay for his $400 worth of parking tickets but she forced these girls to see him again & let him be alone with the next two children she had! Oh, but I was considered a “bad influence” or something along those lines.

      • mgpr2013 says:

        I don’t think it’s fair to label all nurses as lazy, arrogant, control freaks. There are lots and lots of nurses who are wonderful, caring, hardworking people. I personally believe that most doctors and and nurses BELIEVE they’re doing the right thing. Paps have been around a loong loong time. I think they’re taught what they are and how to do them and what to look for but not the full risks and benefits.

      • Alex says:

        I wasn’t trying to label them ALL that way, but I was talking in trends. Sorry if I offended you.

        I was going to say “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” but I truly don’t think they have that many good intentions. That’s a personal take on things, but it’s not baseless. If they really wanted to help people, they wouldn’t be doing things that are incongruent with that (forcing women into these kinds of tests, for instance- regardless of potential utility). Attack is antithetical to assistance, after all.

        I don’t mean to come off condescending, but is someone attacking somoene (iatrogenically or otherwise) helping them? I could go & burn someone’s house down & maybe they’d have a good weekend living with their relatives, but that is not an act of assistance.

    • D says:

      I’ve had a number of nurses and physicians scold me for not getting exams frequently enough, and for an educated decision I had made for my health. Like, seriously, scold. I’ve had someone sit in on an exam once and they were surprised by the attitude I received. It made me want to go back less than I had been. These medical workers are only human and I understand their concern for me, it is their job. But, if I were in their position, I would use positive reinforcement. That I was going in at all was a huge deal. I do feel that these screenings are important. But the more I read and the more I understand my own risks (I may have fewer as I have an unusual situation), and the more nurses I know who have weird attitudes and biases, the more I educate myself. I go in when I think it is time, and I do. I space my appointments as I wish. If I feel like I really don’t need a test at the time, I won’t do it. I won’t be pressured into it or be made to feel bad.

      • Kleigh says:

        D. I to have been scolded by a nurse bc I have never had a pap and explaned to her i was never sexually active and it was like she didnt know what a pap smear was for. She even said that it had somthing to do with woman mensturating and she acted personaly offended. But it is a thret to there bussnes when woman chooce to cut back or not have these exams screenings at all. I whould not let them talk to you as its your body not theres and they have no right.

  10. Moo says:

    Part of the argument for pap screening was that the precancerous condition is “easy to treatment” before it becomes cancers. Once a squameous cancer starts, it spreads quickly to other parts of the body and then “it is too late”. So cervical cancer is supposed to be a “preventable cancer” What is the truth in this, if any? Keeping in mind only CIN3 is considered a precancer.

    What other types of cancer can be “prevented”. What other precancerous changes in the body can be detected by a test or observing?

    For example melanoma can be fatal. Some moles can turn bad. So are all moles scraped and biopsied? Lung cancer is huge but does every cough need a chest X-ray and a biopsy? When is testing necessary and when is it overdiagnosis?

  11. FEDUP says:

    comment removed by moderator due to rude, crude and offensive language.

    • Alex says:

      Dude, you’re out of your fucking mind! You figure a husband should kill his wife because he can’t get jacked-off by a doctor as easily as a woman COULD use a doctor as a gigilo?!

      The general situation is that women get PUSHED into this situation whether with false advertising or coercive practices- they don’t mention risks, inaccuracies or alternatives AND as a general rule people get argued with when they express issue with the dynamics of the situation.

  12. Moo says:

    Attention moderator.
    Please erase this abuse and ban the previous poster.

  13. Pingback: Pap Tests and Pelvic Exams | THE TRUTH SEEKER

  14. sue suwandi says:

    If anyone knows the class action filed to sue this seemingly legal practice, pls contact me (ssuwandi@gmail.com).. when I asked if there us any cure from the biopsy results and the nurse said there is no cure, I definitely know what my option is. I told the nurse it is my body and I will let nature takes its own course.. this was first pap done in a prominent hospital.. prior paps in a small clinic did not suggest any biopsy. Be careful of rubbish practise, your body is traded off for profits!!!

  15. BethK says:

    I found a patent, approved in 1982, for a speculum cover that protects women from cross-contamination – being infected with diseases from the doctor’s prior patients via the unsterilized speculum (just washed off in the sink between patients, no matter what those patients may have been infected with). https://www.google.com/patents/US4492220 This issue has been known since at least then, and why hasn’t this device, or better ones, become the standard of practice?

    • Moo says:

      The use of single use plastic speculums is supposed to help reduce cross contamination. The bulk boxes or packages of speculum purchased are not sterile however and would only be sterile when the package was first opened. However unsterile plastic speculum can be contaminated by surfaces, handling, dirty gloves, splash back from a dirty sink where these are wettened before use.

      Metal speculum were previously used and had to disinfected between patients (not usually sterilized). Covers for metal speculum are rather redundant.

      Sterile plastic speculum are available but mostly used for pregnant patients. I think that all speculum and gloves, tools (ultrasound probes) used for any pelvic exams such be sterile. After all anything that your dentist puts in your mouth is carefully cleaned and sterilized.

      I would like to try this. Take a plastic spoon to your next doctor appointment. Put it in your mouth and then take it out. Or just put it around on surfaces in their office. Offer to rinse it off or wipe it with alcohol and ask him/her if you could put it in their mouth. Say you would even wear gloves, likely they will refuse. Really? Then tell them you feel the same about your vagina.

      • BethK says:

        I don’t want them putting a plastic or metal speculum into me, sterile or unsterile, with or without a plastic cover. I’ll pass on the plastic spoon illustration.

        Given that they ARE resusing these single-use medical products – including specula and now, it’s even come to light that they’re reusing hypodermic needles(!!!), and that packages of even sterile specula are no longer sterile after packages are open, the problem with these rinsed-off-in-a-dirty-sink specula is a recognized problem. It’s just that they don’t recognize it enough in their office to the patient. I think they recognize it, and it’s a lucrative way to get more patients with infections, more visits, more chances to grope and prod, and more payments.

  16. Moo says:

    No doctor in their right mind would reuse a plastic speculum ever. It is disposable on purpose. Unless you live in some third world country where this apparently happens often such as reusing plastic syringes because of low resources.

    You could possibly purchase your own sterile speculum and take it with you to your doctor appointment and insist that is used. Sterile gloves are also available.

  17. Kathy says:

    In 2013 there was 29.4 million cervical cancer tests (pap smears) performed in the US. But only 12,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. For so many screening tests being performed certainly the US would have the one of the world’s lowest cervical cancer mortality rates. Unfortunately that is not the case in fact the US is not # two or three or four.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Exactly, Kathy, in fact the country with the lowest rates of this always-rare cancer is Finland, they have had a 7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30 to 60, since the 1960s. Even now there is “concern” in some countries about winding back pap testing, is it safe to go to 3 yearly?
      They’re not interested in the evidence, dragging all women into the mix is good for them, but a harmful and unnecessary burden for the 95% of women who are not at risk and cannot benefit from pap testing. Looking at over-treatment rates, and there is (conveniently) very little research into the area, Australia has huge and hidden referral rates (caused by early screening and serious over-screening), the States would have similar, if not higher, rates. In the days when most US women were having annual pap testing from teens almost all women end up being referred at some stage, in the article by DeMay he puts the lifetime risk in the 90s (95% or so)
      So early screening (before 30) and over-screening (1, 2 or 3 yearly pap tests) = high over-treatment rates. The more often you test, the more likely you’ll end up referred and be over-treated.
      The Finns referral rate is much lower and now with evidence based screening (the new Dutch program) and pap testing only being offered to the 5% of Dutch women aged 30 to 60 who are HPV+ …this will see referral rates plummet. (and their rates are already well below our referral rates, they have never over-screened women and do not test before age 30)
      This subject is made complicated by those who benefit from that confusion, it’s really quite simple, put women first, follow the evidence and respect informed consent.

    • Moo says:

      Do you think that low income women in United States have access to medical care when they need it? More likely these are the women who are dying of cervical cancer. The rich and insured are getting paps done every year if their doctors demand it and can get paid for it by insurance companies.

      You can compare countries who have public health care programmes. Even then some women do not have paps at all or rarely. The participation rates in screening programmes has to be considered to show that screenings is effective (which it is not).

      As Elizabeth points out, the HPV test is more important.

  18. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Just using your example: 29.4 million pap tests = a huge amount of money
    Now evidence based testing would ONLY test the 5% who are HPV+ (and who want to test)…can you imagine the huge loss of income to doctors, specialists, hospitals etc. We’re talking about enormous sums of money, no wonder there’s a lot of “concern” about evidence based screening!

  19. Hannah says:

    I had a biopsy following a smear with low grade dyskarosis. Ever since I can’t orgasm and just feel pain instead. More then anything it’s emotionally painful. Will I never enjoy sex again? Is there anything I can do?! I feel so annoyed that I trusted them and they’ve ruined my body and my sex life. It’s so frustrating and upsetting can anyone help?!:,(

    • Alex says:

      Well, I don’t know if this’ll line up with your situation, but I’ve heard it said that “the answer to pollution is dilution.” This was talking about the environment, but I think it might also apply to general life. Trying to get more good things in your life maybe would help. It’s got to be its own thing, though- because if it’s some kind of a mission of counteraction it’ll probably keep reminding you of what you’re counteracting & just keep pissing you off.

      Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that when fucked-up things happen, it’s kind of like a portrait with a cigarette burn in it & adding new “paint” can have a bit of sharp edge to it. This “paint” might be something that gets you to thinking “Where was that earlier?” or it has a bite because of the contrast (you get to thinking about what it’s not). That or it feels tragic in some way, like good people falling off a cliff & landing on jagged rocks or something- that it has that “aw, it’s such a shame” bite to it.

      Again, I don’t know if any of this applies to you, but it sounds like this was an abusive situation (and the don’t make a big habit of telling people about risks, inaccuracies, or alternatives with anything). Overall, deception vitiates consent- it’s not someone making their own decisions if someone else is lying to them. Things like this can have a severe effect, even if it wasn’t an ostentatious situation.

      One more thing: I remember hearing that, similar to being drunk, what someone’s state is comes out. Maybe it’s not their personality, as such, but the state that they’re in at the moment. This could always be more of a background thing, than a surface-level thing.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Hannah

      How long ago did you have the biopsy? I take it you mean a colposcopy and biopsy, not a cone biopsy. I assume you’re American, I doubt any competent Australian or UK doctor would refer a woman for a biopsy after a low grade change, but know some American doctors still refer women for minor changes. If you’re under 30 as well, an “abnormal” pap is very likely, a false positive caused by transient and harmless infections or the pap picking up normal changes in the maturing cervix. This is why an evidence based program does not test before age 30.
      Women often experience sexual issues after a biopsy or treatment, sometimes it’s psychological, a feeling of being “dirty” or just put off after finding the treatment traumatic, embarrassing, painful, invasive etc. Also, if your cervix is still healing or has some scarring this may be causing you pain/discomfort, that could certainly prevent an orgasm.
      You’re not alone, a lot of women end up worse off after these treatments and biopsies, my younger sister had an unnecessary cone biopsy. She was told that might cause issues if she wanted to have children. (she was told after the procedure)
      It should be a scandal that women are pressured and misled into this testing,and early and over-screening, that so often leads to excess biopsies etc….all with no informed consent and often, there is no consent at all. (for example: you must have a pap test if you want the Pill)

      • Hannah says:

        I’m in the UK. I’m 25. I waited a month after the biopsy till I had sexual intercourse again. When it was painful I thought it must be too soon. It was another month or so again and I’d pretty much forgotten about having it, till again painful sex and can’t come anymore. Have you heard stories like this before? I only found one saying she lost sensation and it’s been 5 years etc..
        The letter I received from the doctor after the biopsy said it hadn’t been very helpful as the important part of my cervix was not represented. But he was sure it all looked fine. And that was it.

  20. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Actually Hannah…having a quick look on the net, you’re certainly not alone, there are quite a few women looking for answers.
    For some of these women the pain/discomfort lasted weeks, others months, one said a few years. Some were put off sex by the procedure itself, others found sex painful. (so an orgasm is not going to happen, sex should be about pleasure, not pain)
    Aside from psychological issues, some women develop an infection or have inflammation after this procedure, the inflammation is called cervicitis. This could explain pain during intercourse. I couldn’t find any stats, the system doesn’t want to know really, they like to tell us all of these procedures are minor and life-saving.
    Hopefully, things will settle down shortly, otherwise you might need to get some advice.

    It’s a shocking way to treat women, the lifetime risk of colposcopy/biopsy is a huge 77% here in Australia thanks to over-screening and early screening…note the lifetime risk of cc is only 0.65%
    A remote risk should not mean most women having something “done” to their cervix.
    The cervix is there for a reason and should be respected and protected.
    So sorry you have been negatively impacted by this testing. I’d urge you though to do some reading about this testing, then you can make decisions from an informed position, IMO, we cannot trust the official discourse in women’s cancer screening.

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks for your reply. Possibly it’s an infection as after intercourse I’m really swollen up to my chest for a few hours after. So wish id found this site before. Obviously the first ten-20 sites are all pro biopsy etc. It makes me so angry. So with these other woman did any of them say the pain went away do you know? I’d really like to know if it did. Thank you.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am 34 and I am a virgin. When I joined the military back in 2003 I was forced to get pap smears. I do not have a history of drugs or alcohol nor have I ever taken birth control as I do not support pharmaceutical companies. I hated every last one of them. One doctor treated me brutal and ripped my hymen and states he did it so I would not feel pain if I ever have sexual intercourse. What right does he have exactly? I called and reported to the female nurse and she said he had to get in there to see if I have anything. How does a female say that to another female. I am not satisfied with this so-called continuity of care between female doctors/nurses and female patients. I have never had good experiences with any of them.

    • sessa says:

      There is no reason for a pap smear for a woman who is not sexually active. Period. he had no right whatsoever to do that to you. If a pap was done to determine any STDs which is stupid to dobbcause hello! You’re a virgin then they could have tested through blood. Unbelievable these doctors do crap like this! Sorry you had to have such a horrible experience.

    • kleigh us says:

      They had no right to do that.

    • Lola3 says:

      He did what?? I assume there was no informed consent? If I were you, I would see a medical malpractice lawyer ASAP and even ask about criminal charges for sexual assault. He had NO right! You MUST give informed consent for any procedure. Informed consent the patient must have knowledge of all the relevant facts, including risks, benefits, and alternative treatments. This is sickening, and I am so sorry that happened to you.

    • Alex says:

      That’s something I had mentioned a long time ago (forcing penetrative situations in the military). Do you know if they try to lock people up for refusing things like that in the military? I know they try to “connect the dots” in some way you’re systemically destroying the military with pretty much anything, but is preventing their probing considered a crime?

      Speaking of which, there are books by Lars G. Petersson on this subject that you might want to read- if nothing else it seems to call things for what they are.

  22. sessa says:

    So, I had a pap done in JUNE 2014 it came back abnormal LSIL HPV POSITIVE I was recommended to see a gyn. After insurance issues I was FINALLY able to see a new doctor in April 2015 my pap this time came back ASCUS HPV positive high risk. The doctor (female) called me in for consult. I went in today for my consult only to arrive and asked to get undressed. OK??? I started asking the assistant questions as why I would need to undress for consult? She said after the doctor talks to you she will do a colposcopy. After asking her all know nds of questions after seeing all the tools that were covered up for me not to see, the only question she could answer for me was if the procedure would hurt…she said no, its like small pinches. When asked if iI would bleed she said “light spotting” while I’m looking at oversized kotex on the counter. When asked about risks…she said “none” I go onto read a paper she wanted me to sign, low and behold shall I begin to run a fever over 100 go to the E.R., if I have bleeding the dies not stop or overflows the pad within an HOUR go to the E.R. are these not risks?
    ME: I asked what type of HPV Strain do I have?
    HER: The test does not determine which one.
    ME: (After seeing a some stuff that looked like iodine) Is that Iodine? I’m allergic to iodine.
    HER: no its an iodine mixture.
    ME: Can you look at my file IM ALLERGIC TO IODINE!
    HER: OH.
    I finally got tired of her and asked to get the doctor as she was being no help at all.
    The doctor finally comes in and I start asking all the questions. How many biopsies? Which strain of HPV? Are there alternatives to a colposcopy? Will this hurt? Why do I need a colposcopy when you haven’t even Consulted with me? No answers! I asked is my pap still low grade (LSIL) She just shook her head yes, she did NOT tell me my most recent pap came back ASCUS (which I found out when I had to demand a printout).
    I finally just said I don’t think I’m ready to do this right now, my anxiety is through the roof, I’m not comfortable, and none of my questions could be answered, no I will not agree to you cutting parts of my cervix and you can’t even give me an average of how many biopsies are necessary. She said ok and walked out of the room after giving her assistant A LOOK, I left. Maybe I let my emotions get the best of me but I prefer a doctor to answer all my questions regardless of how important or how silly.
    Now I kinda regret not getting it done because I want to know what is going on with my body, and is this colposcopy procedure really that painful as I have read?

    • kleigh us says:

      That is lack of informed consent. She didn’t even ask you first. This is why I don’t go for well woman cheeks. It seems to be they push dangerous tests at woman with out are knowlage. It makes me so madd.

      • sessa says:

        I know I was so upset! There was no consult I had to ask her questions because she offered nothing! Then she seemed upset that I wanted to know. Any real doctor would not roll their eyes and give looks to their assistant the way she was. Even after I. Said I’m nervous and really don’t think I’m ready for this she said OK and walked out. I feel if it was a necessary procedure she would have assured me that this was something really important that needs to be done. I got nothing but an OK and a eye roll. The assistant didn’t even come back in after I was done getting dressed.

    • Alice says:

      Sessa, you done the right thing by walking out. The doctor acted unethical, did not answer your questions and even concealed important facts from you about the regression of the abnormality. The medical employees often behave like this to catch the confused patient there and then, and not net them to go away, do their own research and refuse the harmful procedure. Unfortunately, women’s health care is all about profits, not about women’s health.

      Another danger of biopsies is that if you do have a superficial HPV infection, you still have a good chance to clear it out, but once they do a biopsy, the virus will get deeper in the cervix tissue and the body will be less likely to fight it off. Which means that the doctor will get a reason to do a more invasive “treatment” and make even more money.

  23. Hexanchus (male - U.S.) says:

    sessa,

    Step back and take a deep breath…..

    ASCUS simply means there were atypical cells of undetermined significance present, it is considered mildly abnormal and does not mean that you have an immediate risk of cervical cancer. In fact, most common causes of ASCUS are non-cancerous conditions such as infections or inflammation

    An ASCUS result may be due to changes in the cervical cells caused by HPV infection, but in most cases, these cervical changes do not progress to cervical cancer.

    IMOH the doctor was wrong in trying to railroad you into an immediate colposcopy – she should have the scheduled conversation with you then discussed the options and given you time to digest the information in order to be able to make an informed decision. In fact, ASCCP guidelines favor HPV DNA testing for adult women with ASCUS Pap results as the next step, not an immediate colposcopy and biopsy.

    See the following web site for more info……..
    http://cervicalcancer.about.com/od/screening/a/ASCUS_pap.htm

    Hex

  24. Linda says:

    Hi Sessa. I believe you were nearly a victim of over treatment. They acted like this to rush you through before you had time to step back and get the full facts. Bad medicine. Even by their actions you described I sensed something wasn’t right. I’ve read a lot of articles on this over the past few months. There is a strong chance you have grade one lesions or even two or three. They will more than likely go away on there own. if you are young this is probably what it is. That is why in some countries they only begin testing at 30. Even me now at 50 because of menopause changes in cells will have exactly the same result that is why it is not safe for me to have paps either. If you still feel paps are for you have one in another year if not have a HPV blood test. From what I have read even if it was cervcial cancer it takes along time to develop so there is no need to panic yourself in to being forced into rash and unwise decisions. The best person on this subject is Elizabeth who posts from Australia. Perhaps you could read her past posts.

    • sessa says:

      I am 33 and I tried to ask them basic questions, usually comply with the doctors when it came to paps, as my old doctor would only do one every few years. When I asked the new doc why would I have to get this done when I never had to have it done before? She snapped back and said well you are not in your 20’s anymore and I won’t be able to fight off the HPV like younger people. I did have a yeast infection and I specifically asked her would the yeast affect any part of the test or my result? She said why would it. That’s when I just got tired of it, I did not go there to get treated like that when I was just asking important questions. She didn’t even tell me my LSIL changed to ASCUS. Unbelievable.

      • kleigh us says:

        That’s bull its all about money.

      • Moo says:

        ASCUS can be wrongly diagnosed when there is a yeast infection (Candida). Here is a research paper. http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?rh11015
        I would really love to read a paper showing that older women (not old at age 33) cannot fight off HPV.

        take care of the yeast infection then the HPV. Please get some good multivitamins with zinc, take some epsom salt baths and maybe make and use some coconut oil and green tea extract vaginal suppositories (1 tbsp oil to 1 capsule of GTE) to help with the HPV problem.

      • sessa says:

        Thank you I will definitely get some good vitamins and read into the article. Since I was 17 I’ve always had abnormal paps I’ve never had a normal pap result ever. Hopefully the vitamins will help in the process. I was given diflucan 1 day for yeast I take a second dose tomorrow just in case the first one wasn’t effective.

    • sessa says:

      Thank you, I will go back and read her posts. I’ve read up on a lot of articles and the more I read, the more relaxed I am I did not go through with the colposcopy.

  25. kleigh us says:

    I read that a yeast infection or even tampon or condom use can cause abnormal paps. They seem to keep woman ignorant and use this to there advantage. More tests equals more money.

    • sessa says:

      I continuously get yeast infection from everything including my period, I got tested, for diabetes just to be safe as rrecurring yeast infections can be a sign of diabetes but nope, my old doctor said I can just be sensitive to the blood, I’ve never used tampons only pads which bother too smh woman problems definitely!

  26. kleigh us says:

    I’m 30 by the way and never had a PSP smear and I’m living just fine.

  27. kleigh us says:

    Pap

    • kat rehman says:

      Kleigh I’m 51 and am still alive and kicking 15 years after my last smear. I won’t be having breast screening either!! Since I came on here I’ve discovered just how useless the tests are and feel so much better for it.
      We are an amazing community of women!!

  28. Emily says:

    sessa darling try a supplement called biofilm defense by kirkman labs…long story short persistent infections can be caused by something called biofilm- that’s when bacteria/microorganisms group together and secrete materials that encase them so they are beyond the reach of normal antibiotics/antifungals…this supplement contains several enzymes and compounds that can break the biofilm and flush it from your body. I started taking it recently after antibiotics failed to completely cure a uti and I am feeling much better! I got a bottle of 60 on ebay for $25. give it a shot :)

  29. June Gardner says:

    Rogue doctors are deliberately tricking healthy women into unnecessary radical hysterectomies by fabricating cancer and other non-existent problems. BEWARE OF GYNAECOLOGISTS! You may be the one in three women to go to your grave without your female organs…

    • linda says:

      Hi June. I would hate to live in a country where going to the Gyno is as routine as going shopping. These people are terrible. I keep reading about them on the internet. Cutting out anything they can find, molesting young girls in so called teen exams, helpinh themselves to women’s vaginas all day long. Christ. I always wanted to live on America when I was young i’m glad i don’t. I think i’m badly done to having had seven unwanted rapes (paps) But the average American could have a minimum of 26. I think my vagina would be sagging at the seams. American women are the most abused women on the planet. You must try help stop it.

      • kleigh us says:

        Are woman are brainwashed that they “need” to live at the gynos office. It never made since to me. Common since tells me that every woman is not going be be any healthier for letting a doctor prob them every year.

      • Alex says:

        I’m suprised that you wanted to go from the U.K. to America. I guess I was right in thinking that the U.K. isn’t quite as bad as America with that whole having a problem with bodily autonomy. Not great, from the sound of it, but not as bad.

        I notice & can’t help but reflect on how it seems really common that Anglo & Germanic countries tend to be more inclined toward things like this. Doesn’t have to be imposed probing, specifically- it just seems that they are very affirmative of extrapersonal orchestration of situations where there is some kind of interface with sexual areas. Doesn’t even have to be medicine, come to think of it.

        Whether through direct force (ex: delivery room) or through subtle tactics (ex: coercion with birth control, saying things like “need, must, have to”), they are very inclined toward situations of third-party comportment of a situation so as to generate visual access to or physical contact with sexual area.

        I know, I know- that kind of thing can always happen in other countries & all that sounds racist- but I just keep noticing the same trend. It’s a wonder to me that the people in this country talk shit about the middle east & the kind of stuff that goes on there. They even notice subtle things like virginity tests (on men AND women, potentially). Yet, in America, they just feel like those same dynamics are fine.

  30. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Linda
    Dr Joel Sherman’s wife had more than 40 pap tests, and I assume pelvic and breast exams, and possibly rectal exams. He was unaware just how rare cc actually was and how often it led to excess biopsies and over- treatment. He, like many others, just accepted this was all essential preventative healthcare.
    On his forum on Patient Privacy many women posted references, he read them and as a result he wrote, “Informed consent is missing from cervical screening” it appeared on the Kevin MD site and in the WSJ. His wife discussed our research with her gyn who agreed she could stop having the exams and test. (think she was high 60s at the time) You have to wonder though whether he would have arrived at that conclusion if she hadn’t raised the subject in such an informed way. Now this woman’s husband was a cardiologist yet she was being seriously over-screened and over-examined. It goes to show how well accepted it was that these exams were essential, many doctors were also, misled…and it seems didn’t research the topic for themselves, they were so sure it was all essential, they’d never heard anything else.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Eliz. If I was this poor woman, I would be very ill. Quite honestly Eliz, I actually would have killed myself by now. Why so many? I don’t think she had been medically looked after at all – I think she has been tortured for her entire life. And a doctors wife too, so she won’t have been stupid – probably qualified in something in her own right. I feel like bursting into tears for the sheer right to privacy and dignity she has never ever experienced. She will go to her grave knowing her body has never been her own. Words can’t describe how angrey i feel. And you know how angry I am at my treatment.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        It’s fairly common with American and German women, Linda. (and a few other nationalities) Up until fairly recently American women were tested annually, and often starting when they were teenagers, so add them up, by the time you’re 60 or 70, that’s a lot of testing, and these women usually end up losing some of their healthy cervix too.

        An article by Dr Richard DeMay (it’s old now) stated that annual testing made it almost a certainty that most women would end up with a false positive, it was 95% of women or similar. Many of these women went on to have a colposcopy/biopsy or “treatment”…the removal of “pre-cancerous” cells.
        http://ajcp.ascpjournals.org/content/supplements/114/Suppl_1/S48.full.pdf
        “Should we abandon pap smear testing” (you can imagine my shock when I found this article, it was an outrageous suggestion, but the author is careful to cover himself)

        “Because we may have reached a point of diminishing returns with Pap smear
        screening and because of unreasonable and unachievable expectations, let me play devil’s advocate and suggest that we should consider abandoning this test.”

        Dr Sherman seemed to play down the privacy and dignity aspect of over-screening saying his wife wasn’t too bothered by the exams after having 4 children. (not an exact quote, but something like that was said) I hear that so often, I think it says a lot about childbirth if after the event women are more accepting of invasive exams.
        Our dignity and privacy should always matter, whether we’ve had 4 children or not.

        I think he certainly appreciated the risk with over-testing though, and the lack of informed consent in the testing process. (in the States even consent itself was/is often missing)
        I was over-joyed when he wrote that article, he could have done nothing like everyone else, but he put himself out there. The comments to the article are very interesting, I think it was the first opportunity for many women to speak honestly about this testing.

        Dr Sherman also, contacted an American gynecologist and challenged her when she closed a thread on her website when women started sharing real information, admitting they don’t have/want testing etc. It was too threatening for her and she shut us down. Interesting, she feels differently about breast screening, she had the opportunity to share her views on the Kevin MD site. I wonder how she would have felt if others had concluded she had no right to challenge breast screening and refused to publish her article or removed it from the site.
        I don’t go to her site anymore, she’s quick to delete posts, I lost one after I mentioned the Delphi Screener, she felt I might have a commercial interest in the product and deleted my entire post….when in fact she could have just deleted the bit on self testing. I got the impression she was engaging in censorship, she did not want women (and her patients) having access to real information and being alerted to HPV self testing. (and the significance of being HPV-) It seemed to me she was protecting her business, not women.
        I have no respect for doctors who think they have the right to block access to real information. I don’t visit Dr Sherman’s site very often these days, but I’m forever grateful for his open mind and his efforts to correct some of the massive wrongs that have been done to women. (including IMO, to his wife)

  31. Ruined says:

    My drs would not help me with hormone education or treatment for years. They just kept bullying me for an endometrial biopsy i kept refusiing. They finally deckined being ny doctors and sent me to a another sr who said he would talk to me about hormone replacement if i did a pap smear. I reluctantly agreed and during my visit he performed something that was not a pap. I saw a large piece of tissue dropped in a cup after extreme pain enough to make me jump up freim the table. Hard scraping and made to cough while he viewed me from across the room. Iits five months now ive had heavy bleeding. Searing pain burning and open insides. My vagina is just hanging open. Periods are much different.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Oh, what a nightmare, I’m so sorry to hear of your ordeal, Ruined.
      That certainly doesn’t sound like a pap test, did he do a biopsy? Were you given results or any sort of explanation? Heavy bleeding and 5 months after the “procedure”, that’s concerning.
      I’d be lodging a complaint with the medical association and I’d probably also, speak to a lawyer. Evidence is always difficult in these cases, he said/she said and also, doctors often argue we misunderstood what was to be done, although it would be hard to argue you could mistake a pap test with a biopsy.
      So many women harmed by a medical profession that feels entitled to override consent and do as they please with our bodies. It seems some still believe the female body belongs to others, is common property.

    • Alex says:

      Sounds like the guy mangled you! He shouldn’t have been trying to barter with you in the first place. I know this is going to sound cruel, but this is why they need to be enslaved.

      Not to get off-topic, but unless I’m greatly mistaken, the Romans did exactly that & it probably wasn’t right BACK THEN, but now- I’m not so sure. Definitely don’t mimick them entirely, but perhaps in some things. Someone pulls some shit like that, you can cut & carve him as you may- execution by castration.

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