Discussion Forum (Unnecessary Pap Smears: Part Two)

This post has been created to provide an additional forum for discussion.

Thank you Alex for suggesting the addition of an open forum devoted to discussion on this blog. (click on title or graphic to go to comments)

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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2,352 Responses to Discussion Forum (Unnecessary Pap Smears: Part Two)

  1. Victoria says:

    In general I’m really getting sick of the fear-mongering about cancer, especially among young people (under 40s, but especially people in their 20s). This UK charity is aimed at young women (the least likely age group to get breast cancer): http://coppafeel.org/ . We need to be reminded regularly apparently. All the rhetoric that comes from these charities and the general public who agree with them, is along the lines of “it’s so important”. This gives the impression it’s a significant threat (if it wasn’t a significant threat, it wouldn’t be important), which is false. I’ve seen more than one person saying 3 in 100 men will get breast cancer. Utter nonsense. American Cancer Society says lifetime risk is 1 in 1000, and NHS says 1 in 100,000 men are diagnosed each year.

    (Speaking of the UK NHS) All of these people are now going to run to their over-stretched doctors, taking up appointment time, increasing waiting times for everyone who needs an appointment. The consensus is that you should insist your doctor refers you for a scan or biopsy. More pressure on those departments, and delays for everyone (including the people who really have cancer!). More samples to look at, so less time to study them properly. Massive over-treatment because people insist on every lump getting removed, or agree to mastectomies when they’re not entirely called for.

    Oh, and the name Coppafeel is a take on a phrase used by teenage boys/men (imagine this being said in a lairy tone, over drinks): “Yeah, I copped a feel last night! Wa-hey!” It’s a crass turn of phrase, and using it to refer to a medical check (even a self-exam) implies women should be okay with this attitude applying to their body.

    • Victoria says:

      I’m not against people being aware of their health and what’s normal and what’s not, but it becomes a problem when you add in this terrible scare-mongering. I think it’s possible to have a population able to spot unusual symptoms who aren’t freaking out over every little thing, if it wasn’t for this constant media attention on cancer (which is particularly focused on people in their 20s and 30s who have cancer). There must be at least 1 cancer story per day across the major UK news networks and newspapers.

    • adawells says:

      Couldn’t agree more with you about this vile cancer charity, which has had a lot of support from The Sun newspaper. Yes, the term coppafeel is a lads expression for a good tit groping and I find this whole charity despicable. Like Jo’s Trust they market themselves for the 18-30’s, and to cover up the fact that cancer statistics in this age range are so small, they include anyone else who’s had a “worry” about cancer into this cohort, so they have whole teams of hanger’s-on jumping onto the charity bandwagon, claiming to be survivors and champions to the cause, when they haven’t had cancer at all and their medical knowledge is zero. Coppafeel use giant inflatable breasts to draw attention to themselves, and get any photo opportunity they can. Quite how this makes mastectomised young women feel better beggars belief.
      To clean their act up they are now running a campaign to get into schools and teach teenage girls about breast examination and awareness. You can imagine the worry this would cause young girls, whose breast are just starting to grow. I saw on twitter they are promoting the “fact” that 1 in 3 people are going to get any type of cancer. While that may be true for those over 85 years old, they are omitting to tell young people that this figure drastically falls to very low risks the younger you are. I was reading recently, that odds of breast cancer in women under 40 was about 1 in 2000, falling to about 1 in 50 in middle age and only 1 in 25 by age 70. If these charities are only concerned with breast cancer they should give clear breast cancer statistics and not use all case cancer stats for those approaching death as their actual figures.

  2. linda says:

    Hi Victoria & Ada. I read an interesring piece written by a coronor who when opening up his clients finds that all have cancer somewhere or other. However they have mostly died of something else. He thinks that it is a natural part of being human some however drop unlucky and it develops further.
    All these awful charities feeding off our fears is terrible. Funny, but i’ve always had an inate feeling they were bad and have never given them anything. If people go looking for sometjing hard enough they will find it. My new philosophy is to just live. If i feel ill treat myself – it can be done. If i get cancer i am goinb to live with it and not treat it. You may not agree with me but cancer treatment killed my friend.

    If any of these descicable people show up in my classroom i will throw them out. I am not afraid to throw people out i have done it loads of times. Loads of teachers will not entertain them scaring the girls so don’t worry about this happening

    • Victoria says:

      I came across that autopsy stat just this morning funnily enough. It was 7% who had an undiagnosed cancer at the time of death, and it wasn’t the cancer that killed them.

      Speaking of declining cancer treatment, you’ve reminded me of the other side of public cancer awareness that I find distasteful: referring to it as something you pluckily “fight”. While that approach helps some, it doesn’t apply to everyone. I’d hate to think of people who decide to have no treatment, or stop at some point, being seen as weak or giving up. I hate to think of friends and family badgering them, believing it’s the right thing to do. I did a brief bit of Googling this morning about criticism of cancer awareness campaigns, and fortunately there are plenty of people who speak out against the commercialisation, sexualisation, and sanitised image of cancer. It almost comes across like a popular club ::shudder:: You see patients smiling, looking confident and strong, hair and make-up done for the photoshoot, but that’s not the reality of day-to-day life during treatment (or the worry that can stay with you afterwards).

      • Alex says:

        Like having cancer makes you part of the “in” crowd? That IS pretty creepy. I figure a gamma personality is helpful against that, but really just having sense & being able to make deductions is all you’d need. I also figure that someone gets more attention as a person with a disease- like cancer.

        Sometimes people seem to fake an illness to take away attention from their children, too. THAT type of disorder doesn’t seem to be as publicized for some reason. It’s mostly the kinds of ailments only women can get, cancer in general, and every now & then AIDS or heart attacks/

  3. Alex says:

    Something spooky that I heard about is how it’s now possible for 11-year-old girls to get an IUD implanted AT SCHOOL. Try looking that up, as I don’t remember exactly where in America this is- but if they have these means on hand, doesn’t that mean they could impose their use on kids? It might not be what’s SUPPOSED to happen- but then they’re not supposed to molest children in the conventional way, either.

    Speaking of which, apparently a lot of cops have been getting off without a day in jail for things like that. They outright rape a 5-year-old & they’re fine, but if someone so much as punches one of them in the face- that person might actually get locked-up. I know, I know- they don’t ALL do that, just the ones that do. Them getting turned loose certainly seems like a collaborative effort, though.

    • Hexanchus (male - U.S.) says:

      Seattle Public schools – 4 middle schools and 9 high schools will prescribe contraception, including IUD’s to girls as young as 11 (6th grade). without parental knowledge or consent.

      It’s apparently allowed under Washington law….


      • Alex says:

        Now, I’ve got to ask: Do they back the girls into the same things as doctors out in public do?

      • kleigh us says:

        Do the schools force paps for birth control? If I had a 12 year old the thought of strangers putting a device inside my child should have me gumming. There can be serious health risks from tthose IUDs.

    • bethkcz says:

      >Something spooky that I heard about is how it’s now possible for 11-year-old girls to get an IUD implanted AT SCHOOL. Try looking that up, as I don’t remember exactly where in America this is- but if they have these means on hand, doesn’t that mean they could impose their use on kids? It might not be what’s SUPPOSED to happen- but then they’re not supposed to molest children in the conventional way, either.

      Speaking of which, apparently a lot of cops have been getting off without a day in jail for things like that. They outright rape a 5-year-old & they’re fine, but if someone so much as punches one of them in the face- that person might actually get locked-up. I know, I know- they don’t ALL do that, just the ones that do. Them getting turned loose certainly seems like a collaborative effort, though.<

      It's now the law in Seattle, WA for girls in middle school or high school to get birth control at school, without parental permission.

      I am 110% in favor of it! Access to birth control is THE most effective way of preventing unwanted pregnancy, teenaged pregnancy, and abortion, as well as infant abandonment in absurd locations, such as dumpsters or left out in the cold on the street. As abstinance-only sex education has usurped real sex education throughout the United States, teen pregnancies have been on the rise. Abstinence may be an effective way to prevent pregnancy, but since when have teens done as they are told? They don't. Hence, we have teens promoting abstinence or "Purity Pledges" who have 2 or 3 children!

      If a girl gets pregnant, there are a lot MORE risks involved. If she carries to term, she will be faced with the internal exams that they impose on all women, and the birth process (or birth rape) itself. Even informed, grown women with resources are seldom able to keep men out of the examination room, the birth room, and their pelvis itself. What chance does a teen girl have, especially one who does not have her parents helping to enforce her decisions about who to allow or how? Besides that risk, there are all of the risks involved in pregnancy, plus the risk of being pregnant at a very young age. There are social risks, including that of poverty, not completing her education, the increased risk of spousal abuse (later), the risk of homelessness, and on and on.

      Many of these girls, as well as their mothers/parents, are not aware that a pelvic exam is no longer required OR RECOMMENDED in order to get hormonal-based birth control, such as the pill or implant. They will not be able to refuse, nor could their uninformed parent if he/she were there. The IUD certainly involves penetration to insert it. If the girl is too young to consent to penetration of her sexual organs, this should include medical practitioners. Having a parent on hand would not be of help. A parent cannot legally give permission for someone to have sex with their underaged child, although it does happen with alarming frequency. We all know of parents (mothers especially) who take their teenaged daughter to the gyn to have "her first pelvic". This should be a crime! Especially since it is not recommended to give paps to women under 25, nor is their any reason to give a pelvic exam to an asymptomatic woman of any age. In fact, for most symptomatic problems, a pelvic exam is too nonspecific to be able to diagnose or treat the condition, whereas other laboratory tests can specifically diagnose the problem.

      As far as cops outright raping children, even 5-year-olds, I would point out that while we make a big show of abhorring sexual abuse of children, the taboo is TALKING ABOUT IT, not actually doing it. As it stands, 1 girl in 2, and 1 boy in 3 has *unwanted* sexual penetration before (s)he is 18. Those who sexually abuse children usually have 100s of victims before they are arrested or prosecuted. There's a <1% chance of conviction even when one of these is brought to court. Those convicted spend an average of 6 months behind bars. Besides that, in 38 states, there's something called "parental exception", which states that the *parent* cannot be charged with such a thing on their own child, stepchild, or grandchild (sometimes niece or nephew). We need to do something about that. As hard as I've tried over the past 25 years, the obvious answer is NO ONE REALLY CARES! I keep trying, even if I'm beating my head against a wall.

      Note that some of these teen pregnancies occur as a result of family members imposing themselves on the girl too. I won't start that discussion, as this is long enough as it is.

      • Alex says:

        bethkz: I Figure that people should be able to get birth control over the counter with no ability for other people to get in the way. No doctor, no pharmacist, no school principal, no teachers- and at an easily affordable price or outright free. Taxes are pretty high, maybe they should start paying for things.

        If they are ready, willing, and able to implant IUDs in 11-year-old girls in school, that is a serious problem. As is fairly common knowledge, the schools now tend to like making their own decisions & applying them to children. They also have a growing tendency to militarize their intentions (calling police to work as a violence-squad for them).

        I greatly worry about what this means if they get an idea to do exams on these girls or if they hear that someone brought drugs to school. I’d imagine it’s not out of the question for them to “think it’s best” to implant these IUDs in girls before they screw around with someone & just impose an implantation. Maybe these things would happen on an individual level, maybe they’d happen on a group level.

      • bethkz says:

        I agree. Birth control should be over the counter and FREE. It costs a lot less to provide birth control for someone for a year than to pay for the costs of rearing a child – especially an unwanted child, perhaps with the mother using a drug or chemical or other substance – legal, illegal, prescribed, or work-related. This has been tried in Colorado, yielding a 40% reduction in teen pregnancies, abortions, and unwanted (unadoptable) babies. Not to mention the cost to society from the girl rearing a child rather than completing her schooling and working on her career. Without a baby, she would be a productive, taxpaying member of society. Instead, having given birth at a young age (and possibly abandoned/thrown out by her parents when she became pregnant), instead, her life is a burden to society and taxpayers. Note too that Precocious puberty is increasing – defined as puberty (and fertility) before the age of 8 in girls. Yes, 8. Along with that come the hormones and sexual interest – and as we know, there are no shortage of men willing to have sex with an 8 year old. And, she too can get pregnant, and ruin her life in all manner of ways. The reasons for this decrease in age of girls who can become pregnant is unclear, but it’s a fact. Shouldn’t those girls be EITHER given adequate birth control OR adequate sex education so they can avoid getting pregnant before they are 10? It seems to be child abuse to set up a situation whereby someone so young gives birth! Note that an 8-year-old probably is incapable of using something such as a condom or diaphragm or contraceptive foam or remember to take a pill everyday.

        IUDs pose special problems of their own. These involve penetration by instrumentation and manually. If the girl is under the age for consent, regardless of whether her parents agree, consent, or insist upon it, it is statutory rape. The parents cannot legally consent to someone penetrating their minor child – under the age of consent – or if she is outright refusing – and this is one instance where the medical community seems to think there are special rules that apply to them, and only them. Yes, I fear the reverse will also happen – of schools, the medical community, or parents insisting that a teen girl have an IUD implanted against her will.

        They already do body cavity searches – by calling the police and having the POLICE penetrate the girl (or boy) if they think that the student is hiding drugs they brought to school in a body cavity. The existence of an IUD would not change what already is in place.

      • Alex says:

        I never heard of them doing that to a kid (although I’ve heard of them conventionally raping them- even in the first decade of life).

        I know things get into the naked posturing department with kids & the “shower in front of me” realm. Part of why I have a very hard time trusting cops. I wouldn’t really presume that they’d like to work against abuse of this general kind. Especially if it was done in an unconventional way or by someone that can be seen to have “rank” above whoever they attacked.

  4. adawells says:

    Sense about Science have just released the 2nd edition of Making sense of screening, which is a good step in the right direction, aiming to quell all those stupid tabloid stories and scares. There are some excellent comments and some good posters here.
    The actual document can be downloaded here:

  5. Victoria says:

    Found a couple of good articles about breast cancer awareness yesterday:

    http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2013/11/lingerie-brands-sewing-breast-cancer-awareness-bras.html – another Elizabeth on there doing her bit to educate people :)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html?_r=1 – lots of factual info included. Including: “there was a 188 percent jump between 1998 and 2005 among women given new diagnoses of D.C.I.S. in one breast — a risk factor for cancer — who opted to have both breasts removed just in case.” The fear is such a driving factor here and where are we getting that fear from? The media, charities, and other women who push the message. The writer is spot on here: “The fear of cancer is legitimate: how we manage that fear, I realized — our responses to it, our emotions around it — can be manipulated, packaged, marketed and sold, sometimes by the very forces that claim to support us. That can color everything from our perceptions of screening to our understanding of personal risk to our choices in treatment.”

    I’m also learning that young women are more likely to have aggressive breast cancer and early detection will do little to help them.

    “a 12-year randomized study involving more than 266,000 Chinese women, published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found no difference in the number of cancers discovered, the stage of disease or mortality rates between women who were given intensive instruction in monthly self-exams and women who were not, though the former group was subject to more biopsies.”

    • adawells says:

      Thank you so much for digging out these articles to share. I had not seen the “Coppafeel-Coppafail” article before. Such a shame she got a hammering from the “if I hadn’t had that screening test I’d be dead by now” brigade, but as you say she stuck by her guns and “Catherine” did a good job supporting her.

      This pink ribbon nonsense makes me sick. I have frequently heard that late diagnosis is a real problem in the UK as there is poor access to MRI scanners. When I got diagnosed with endometrial cancer last year, there was a hold up in waiting my turn for the MRI scanner, so much so, that my appointment to discuss the results had come around before I had had a chance to go in it. Consultant then referred me to a local swanky private hospital to use theirs. Day before my turn their scanner had broken down, so another 2 week wait before I got done. These charities should put their money into buying more scanners not running around with giant plastic breasts and pink knickers to get into the newspapers. I hope they will be exposed for the rackets they are.

      • Victoria says:

        … and then when people pester their doctors more and more for scans because they’re so scared, the referral units can’t cope and everyone is waiting much longer for scans. No help at all to people who really have a problem that needs looking at.

      • bethkcz says:

        That’s part of the whole problem which I’ve noticed for years: Some people get entirely too much “health care”, often foisted upon them against their will by others, while others think they “need” healthcare for every little thing or concern, and at the same time others, who truly NEED something taken care of right away – with an obvious problem, diagnosis, with a known, proven treatment do not get care. This is not entirely because of lack of money, 3rd-party payers, government or insurance company messing around. Self-pay patients cannot get treated in a hospital for simple things like appendectomies or simple broken arms, whereas Medicaid patients go 2x per week with their kids for skinned knees or sniffles, and insured patients cannot receive hospital treatment for pneumonia while they can get “free” screening for the poster-child cancers. This does not make sense. Some people cannot get their treatment approved by their insurance companies, and some people get unneeded things approved by insurance companies – or even an insistence that they have an unneeded treatment BEFORE a necessary one will be covered.

  6. Victoria says:

    The message being put out about checking/screening is far too simple as well. The message is this:

    “Do self-exams and go for screening. Prevent cancer or catch it early.”

    People believe this and have NO IDEA of the effectiveness of self-exams (or exams by doctor), their risk of cancer at their age, their risk of over-treatment and what exactly over-treatment can mean (unnecessary mastectomies and the belief you had cancer when you didn’t).

    The happy-clappy media image glosses over all of that and presents cancer detection and treatment as a very clean, unpleasant-but-not-terrifying experience that you will “survive” as long as you’re a good girl and do what you’re told.

  7. linda says:

    Hi All. How about knickers that say don’t forget to smear, trousers that say check for varicose veins, socks that say check for ingrowing toenails, hats that make us aware of strokes, shirts that tell us about back injury, coats that remind us not to go out in the rain. You might never get dressed for spending your time reading.

    This is yet another load of nonsense. How dare this bra company start putting these stupid labels in the underwear. Its about time they were made to stopp scaring everyone into thinking about cancer all day every day. All this new campaign will do is addle some young woman’s head. What is the point of being alive and enjoying ourselves if all were worried about is being ill and dying all the time. They have gone too far.

    I believe that the nazis actually won the war. I can just imagine some totalitarian state where this is the norm to find these labels on the clothes. We already have them on food. I can’t have a glass of wine without worrying about bloody units. This thing where they put a tax on ‘sin’ food and drinks is coming. Its already doing another round in parliament.

    Its all about treating us as if we were born stupid morons.

    • Karen says:

      This is the largest piece of bullshit I ever had the misfortune to encounter: http://www.cancersutra.com/

      • Alex says:

        VERY creepy. Also, what’s the deal with all the homosexual stuff? Is it supposed to be like a gay-rights thing? I could see it being like a “stylish” thing. That someone is the “liberated, free, enlightened” person, which usually comes with the idea of getting laid- since the idea is that everything else is frumpy, sexless, and unfair.

        I’d figure the woman-on-woman stuff could be kind of a “sisterhood” thing. Not meaning like literal sisters, but the theme of “women being affirmative of other women.” In which case, sexual imagery could potentially work.

      • bethkcz says:

        I agree. They had one thing on their first page that is 100% correct:
        “The fear of cancer can be as bad as cancer itself.” That is exactly the problem with this neverending set of calls for everyone to be screened for nearly everything…. especially the commercial cancers.

    • Alex says:

      It’s interesting that you say that, Linda. Actually, that’s more or less the plot to Captain America 2. The idea seems to be that importing those scientists had a Trojan Horse effect.

      It gets better: In America, they’re REALLY campaigning against smoking (the NYC mayor is actually trying to keep people from smoking in their own homes, now)- something the Nazis did plenty of.

      The police increasingly have an attitude that they are superior to everyone else & act with hostility- something the Nazis did plenty of.

      There was actually a manufactured Nazi ring in a “gumball machine” (I don’t know if there were gumballs in it, but whatever that type of dispenser is called). It wasn’t a solid ring from back then that someone decided to through in the machine as a joke, it was made like the types of things you’d get out of those kinds of machines.

      There was a heavy mentality that “the bird is flown , the fish is swum” back then- that would mean that the situation with people would be that “the person does not live, the person IS lived.”

  8. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Just pondering the difference between the medical profession’s attitude in the way they deal with cervical cancer screening and prostate cancer screening.

    Cervical screening is seen as a ‘no brainer’ and sold to women as a ‘quick and simple’ test. We are told that any abnormalities can be dealt with easily with ‘minor’ treatments that will ‘head off’ any potential cancer. This is how it is sold to us as though we have the mentality of children. Any one dissenting from this ‘no brainer’ of a test is seen as a ridiculous risk taker. No mention in the insipid NHS leaflet ‘Cervical Screening’ of the potential for overtreatment as the treatments are considered as ‘minor’ to the medical profession. But in my opinion it is because female parts are seen as more expendable than men’s.

    Prostate screening, despite it being a more prevalent cancer is handled differently by the medical profession. There is no national screening programme in the UK and therefore no financial incentives for our GPs to ‘encourage’ testing for prostate cancer.
    The NHS literature given to men ”Information sheet for men considering PSA test” is to the point and lists actual facts for the men to digest when they make their decision. It clearly tells men that “48 men will undergo treatment in order to save one life” I’ll bet they don’t cite a biopsy of the prostate as ‘minor’ nor any treatments following diagnosis. I believe some men have sued due to incontinence or impotence problems following treatments.

    On the other hand, after treatment, women do not sue. They are grateful to be ‘survivors’ despite the fact that most have never had cancer, that most are over-treated and that many have lost part of their cervix. But then most of these women are unaware of the facts.
    The statement “The number of women who need to be treated to prevent on death from cervical cancer – Over 150 receive an abnormal result, over 80 are referred and over 50 have treatment” cannot be found in the pathetic NHS leaflet, but is buried in an article in the British Medical Journal.

    IMO Medical surveillance of women is a form of social engineering. This can be seen in the tactics used to ‘encourage’ us to comply (that are not used on men). The sickening attempt to emotionally blackmail mothers into having the test (little boy crying poster). The stupid women campaigners running around with their skirts tucked into the back of their knickers with the message “Going out with your skirt caught in your knickers is embarrassing but a smear test is a normal thing to do”. The infantilisation of adult women “It’s for your own good”. The implication that cervical smear tests are a ‘normal part of being a woman’ and a ‘responsible thing to do’ is a blatant manipulation of our identity as women. So, spreading our legs and being penetrated by a complete stranger is a normal part of being a woman? Who are they to decide what constitutes being a woman? The belittling and manipulation of women who decide not to participate and who are labelled as “immature, reckless, silly, avoiders, non-compliant”. Last but not least, the blaming and shaming. If you are unfortunate enough to develop cervical cancer, the implication is, “if you haven’t tested then you are to blame”, despite the fact that you could have had every damn test and still developed cancer.

    • ADM says:

      I’ve posted this before but will again because it clearly shows the difference in attitudes with cervical cancer screening and prostate cancer screening.

      From the Canadian Cancer Society website:

      Cervical Cancer Screening: “All women who have been sexually active should have regular Pap tests by the time they are 21 years of age…If you are older than 69, talk to your doctor about whether you need to continue having Pap tests. The decision to stop is often based on if your last 2 or 3 Pap tests had normal (negative) results.”

      Prostate Cancer Screening: “Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing prostate cancer. Ask about the benefits and risks of testing. Research currently shows that the risks of testing for prostate cancer may outweigh the benefits of screening men at average risk of developing prostate cancer.”

    • ChasUK says:

      Exactly – Perfectly put – thank you

    • Alex says:

      It’s all very much an attempt to make these things happen, whether or not the other person is “on board.” Let me say some things on countering harm:

      I think a part of why they don’t use tactics like this on a man is simply because men are, for one, more counter-confrontational. Women seem to be easier to steam-roll, in these types of situations. Not trying to make it out to be a gender flaw, I just think that a man pretty much instantly sees them as an enemy. In the condition of someone getting pushy, men generally WANT to push back. I think women generally tend to just want the problems to stop, not for anyone to be hurt.

      It’s good to prioritize one over the other, since you can easily get so caught up in making someone else “feel it” that you don’t actually finish things & then lose the conflict (ex: talking shit before pulling the trigger leaving an opening for the other guy to do something unexpected & win the fight). The thing is that stopping those problems would in itself be hurtful for the ones trying to dish it out. It’s a simultaneous thing.

      Yeah, it IS a situation where you are in some way affirmative of their misery (since, even if you don’t specifically want them to feel pain, you want something that’ll cause it). However, not all misery is equal. If someone is aligned so that bad stuff makes them happy & good stuff makes them miserable, it’s a good thing for them to be miserable.

      P.S.- Someone can always make the point that it’s harmful for someone to block them because they want to do something & this is being prevented (it’s not an equal situation, but the phasing is the same). But if someone really thought these two things were equal, they wouldn’t be fighting against one of them, would they? They’d have no problem with it being blocked.

      As far as arguing ethics goes, I don’t really know what to say on that, except that maybe it’s better to have a situation like the Chinese where the same word with a different tone means a different thing. Then again. there’s no way to say anything so that someone else can’t lie or twist your words & at some point language has to connect to something. I guess if someone

      [About Men Fighting Back: I know that when someone starts with me, I LIKE that it hurts for them to be vitiated & to have their desires go unfulfilled. Not that I like for PEOPLE, in general, to experience this situation- but for those SPECIFIC people to have that happen. A lot of men get like a wind-up toy about these things, sometimes just because they think it’s manly to be “all war.” Just figured I’d elaborate on where I get my deductions from & what caveats there can be on that subject.]

  9. adawells says:


    What If We Treated All Consent Like Society Treats Sexual Consent?

    • moo says:

      Interesting article. While you are visiting that site read the article the grey area of consent. It discusses that the subject of consent is missing from those sex ed talks from school and the “doctor’s office”. One reason the doctors are missing the topic of consent with sexual activity is because they do not use consent with their bikini medicine.
      So really where should this discussion about consent and sex start?

      • bethkz says:

        Part of the problem is that the medical community acts as if reality takes a coffee break for them, and “consent” in a medical environment is “not consent” in another. It is typical for a medical professional to say, “Now we are going to do (name procedure).” Before one can answer – especially if that person has some sort of speech impediment, is recovering from a stroke, English (or whatever language they speak) is not the supposed-patient’s first language, or is just polite enough to wait a brief period before speaking up, they BEGIN the procedure. There was no opening for the person to overtly consent. And, they’re making the mistake that was brought up on everyday feminism that lack of refusal is not consent – e.g., “she didn’t say ‘no’, so it wasn’t rape.” If a man walked up to a woman, and tell her, “We’re going to have sex right now.”, and proceed to remove/open his clothing and hers and then just do it to her, even while she resisted, he would be hard pressed to convince any reasonable person that it was not rape. When a medical professional does just that, it is not considered malpractice, medical assault, assault and battery, or any number of other crimes.


      • Hexanchus (male - U.S.) says:


        It’s one of the many holdover attitudes from when medicine was exclusively paternalistic in nature. Supposedly medicine has moved to a “patient centered shared decision making” doctor/patient relationship, but a lot of that is cosmetic – the reality of things is that with rare exceptions, unless you assert your rights to make your own decisions they will run right over you.

        Like the old joke says: “Do you know the difference between God and a doctor?…..God know he’s not a doctor…” It might be a little funnier if it wasn’t do pathetically true.

        While they may pay lip service to informed consent and patients’ rights. the reality is that many of the old paternalistic attitudes are still alive and well. Unless/until enough people stand up to them. it’s not going to change…….


      • Alex says:

        bethkz: You’re totally right, but why ask “Why?” It doesn’t matter. If someone were looking to cut your head off, you’d never ask what the reason was. Even if you were to ask “Why?” as a reflex, you can always just say “No, not why- just refusal.”

        I think people tend to try to use the opponent’s momentum against them, in the broad sense. It’s trying to get them to crash their fist into the wall or something when it could just be simple shutting things down. I remember it frequently being used as a way to end an argument- it would be like getting that Marine in A Few Good Men to flip out & confess or like a chess match where you’re looking to cause a “checkmate.” You know when someone tries to make it apparent that someone did something by using the process of elimination? “Not this, not this, not this- so what else is left? That they’re the bad guy.”

        As far as reasons for doing things that way, there can always be the simple concept that if someone figures out an answer for themselves they are more likely to believe it- but there’s also the potential that making a deduction makes some people feel like they have more discretion in what the situation actually is.

        As a suggestion, I’d say don’t give someone a chance to argue their case or weigh in on your answer. I think it at least changes the dynamics of the situation a bit when you’re answer is just a plain & solid “No.” It comes off like there’s a chance you’ll go with it if you’re asking “Why?” Just like pushy salesmen.

  10. Karen says:

    http://www.makery.info/en/2015/06/30/gynepunk-les-sorcieres-cyborg-de-la-gynecologie-diy/ any thoughts on this? Is this just techno-fetish, or could you see any actual uses of this stuff?

  11. adawells says:

    There are some great articles here calling for more balanced information on screening. Some very hard evidence-based criticism of all the screening programmes:

    The article by Prof Susan Bewley in “The Conversation” is excellent.

  12. moo says:

    Thanks for the good articles put up here lately.

    I always believed that induced births were spiritually wrong for the child but this article also discusses the excess of unneccessary inductions. Inductions are rarely done for medical purpose and mostly conveniences yet they increase pain and risks for both mother and child. Note the Dutch statistics on induced births are very low.

  13. IMustBeSurrounded says:

    Hello Everyone.

    I don’t post very often, but I promise you, I look at this site every single day. Yes. Every. Single. Day.

    Like many women who have found their way here, I actually feel empowered in many areas of my life – not just the areas that are connected to my health. So thank you, for all of your thoughts, comments and work.

    I was wondering if I could get some input on a couple of things. Actually two things that are driving me crazy…

    One, whenever you read about Cervical Cancer, it says that it “used to be a leading killer among women in the US” OR “It is still a killer in (insert name of country here)” – at the same time, I understand that CC is a rare disease. I am wondering how to reconcile this and why people write that it was (and is) a common disease when that is not necessarily true.

    The OTHER thing that is driving me crazy – actually this is a personal thing, so please forgive the TMI – is something that is going on with me. Several weeks ago, I developed what I thought was a yeast infection – in fact it may have actually been one. I treated it with a three day treatment and that didn’t seem to clear it up completely, so several days later I did a one day treatment. WEEKS later now, I still have redness, but no itching AND white discharge. I went to the doctor last week and my cultures (for yeast and BV) came back normal. So, now I wonder what the cause is.

    Of course, I went ahead and Googled everything I could – and of course, then scared myself. Some people have said that abnormal discharge is related to Cervical Cancer. Though, in those cases it’s sometimes foul smelling or blood tinged and mine is neither. Sadly, as informed as I am – I still go back and fear the worst when something is wrong…how frustrating.

    Some personal history. I am almost 37 years old. I’ve never had children. Never been pregnant. I have had some normal pap tests, some abnormal. Some HPV – but it was hard to tell from my records if it was high-risk or low risk. I think my last one was in 09 – and my online records say that it was “abnormal” but I don’t ever remember receiving the call that it was. I also can’t seem to find a hard record of that in my medical files (that I’ve had printed out) My boyfriend has had lots of partners. Not me, though. All of that being said, being that 1) Cervical cancer is rare 2) The pap is a miserably inaccurate test that puts people on a merry-go-round of confusion and procedures – I haven’t worried about it very much and I am going to move forward using great caution.

    My plan of action moving forward is to order an at-home HPV test and actually change my brand of clothes soap. I am also going to throw away some cheap underwear that may be the culprit.

    On a good note, because of your information and insight – when I go to the doctor I am never harassed about pap tests. I told them last year that I had made an informed decision not to have one…and that was the END of that. It was much more simple than I ever thought possible! I even went to a different clinic the other day (that is still a part of my health group) to get my culture and THEY never asked. Now, either it was in my notes not to ask me OR…perhaps they are informed too? I won’t count on the second option there. But, it was a relief not to go around and around in a discussion about it.

    • IMustBeSurrounded says:

      OH! I hit post too soon! First, thank you for reading my LONG POST. Secondly, thank you for your thoughts on it. Thirdly, thank you again for EVERYTHING on this site.

      • kleigh us says:

        My cousin got tested for a yeast infection thru a urin sample. You don’t have to let the culture you.

      • kat rehman says:

        Just had a totally weird doctor consult. My medication review.
        In the waiting room were. 6 different posters pointing out the importance of smears in pretty pink.
        Doc asked me usual questions then did I still have periods. Any menopause symptoms? – Yes the odd hot flush.. Would I like HRT?? No thanks.
        Was I sure??
        Quite sure.
        And as I was leaving the smear question. I don’t have them any more I said I’ve opted out. To be fair he dropped it immediately but I will be writing to say I don’t want to be asked about it in consultation any more. I wonder if I’d wanted HRT I’d be told I really HAD to smear???

    • Karen says:

      Hi, maybe your skin is just really raw from the treatments, and you need to give it time to heal? I had a similar thing when I was a teenager, took me a month or two to get over the hm, liberal application of some apple cider vinegar, a rather strong acid for a few days or maybe a week. Same can be true for prescription medication, these things are often rather strong and destroy healthy tissue.

    • IMustBeSurrounded says:

      Thank you Karen and Kleigh! I have been doing some research into my last pap test (that I don’t think the doctors office ever called me about) and the results were “Nonspecific Changes on Pap Smear (Glandular Cells)” I am trying to access those old records now to see if an HPV test was run with this. Thank you to ALL!

      • moo says:

        If you want to read about glandular changes this paper is not the most up to date but what I could find. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0601/p2239.html. You might note that 50-80% of women who had colpscopy for this pap result had nothing wrong. For reading this result is often confused with fetal tissue. Many women have early miscarriages and never know they are pregnant. But the slide will look like similar.

        Where I live the most recent gyn guidelines are that atypical glandular results AGUS or ASCUS for women over 40 will get send to colposcopy and get a scraping of the endocervical canal along with three or four punch biopsies.

        Around pre menopause everything can get weird. There is more dryness and irritation. The pH of the menstrual flow becomes too acidic and often irritating. Wearing those plasticy pantiliners also can cause redness and irritation. If the flow is too low for tampons and your cycle is just weird consider buying or sewing some cloth pad/liners from cotton flannel. There is no need for plastic. It makes you feel hot and promotes the bad type of bacteria or yeast to grow. Or just buy black underwear. Do not wear panties at night or at home if you can. A nightgown is more comfortable or nothing at all if you get hot flashes. There are some herbs that can help so visit your local herbalist or store.

    • bethkz says:

      There are a lot of things which could be causing redness. CC is a very unlikely cause.
      1) If you use tampons, stop and use pads. Tampons can be a source of irritation and infection.
      2) It could be a bacterial infection. It’s common to go back and forth between yeast and bacteria once those microbes get out of whack. You might be able to cure it with an iodine douche every day for a few days. Follow THAT up with inserting some lactobacili – the “good” bacteria. Eat some yogurt, and use a clean(new) turkey baster to put plain, unsweetened, unflavored, live-culture yogurt “up there”. If you can get them, lactobaccilus capsules used like suppositories.
      3) Try using a #00 capsule filled with boric acid as a suppository, every night for a week. You can get boric acid at any pharmacy, and the pharmacist will sell you empty capsules for about a nickel each. Do NOT swallow these capsules or boric acid! This will cause a liquidy discharge. Wear pads.
      4) If you douche with typical scented products, or even douche frequently with a vinegar/water solution, stop. You normally do not need to douche for hygiene.
      5) Watch what you bathe in. The common, scented, colorful bath powders and soaps can cause irritation even if you use them only externally. Use a mild, unscented soap, and refrain from washing your vulva with anything but plain water.
      6) Vigorous sex can cause irritation, especially if there’s too little lubrication. Do something else or different, or use plenty of lubrication.

      • IMustBeSurrounded says:

        Bethkz – SO many thanks for this! I am going to print this. Thank you for your insight and your time!

  14. kat rehman says:

    Btw my review was for migraine!!!

    • bethkz says:

      Sigh! A perfect example of a doctor or medical practitioner derailing a visit or consult for a real medical problem which is unrelated to reproductive systems into bikini medicine.

    • IMustBeSurrounded says:

      WOW – He covered a ton of things that seem miles away from your headaches. As a fellow migraine sufferer I sympathize with the pain and frustration these headaches cause. I hope that he covered things related to the migraines (your whole reason for the appointment) I can tell you that although I have Imitrex on hand, that making sure that my blood sugar is very stable helps with avoiding migraines. I try to eat when I am hungry (small snacks or meals) and I have also been losing weight and eating better since the beginning of the year – and avoiding alcohol…though as I type this I am enjoying a glass of white. But they are awful to get, I just had one the other morning. I wish you the best with yours…Oh and SIX posters? That is kinda creepy overkill IMO. Thanks, kat!

      • kat rehman says:

        Thanks I must be… Your information is a lot more relevant than anything I got yesterday!!

      • kat rehman says:

        Yes lots of pretty pink posters. If you know symptoms of cc pass it on and help save lives. Attend your smear it could save your life. A smear takes 5 minutes isn’t it worth it for improved quality of life?? Aimed at younger women. Poster of headphones “listen!! Attend your smear! ” a pic of a letter box and pink envelope.. 4 out of 5 women take up their smear “invitation ” book yours today. One other I can’t remember!!

      • IMustBeSurrounded says:

        Thank you, Kat for saying so! WOW – that amount of posters for ANY kind of screening, testing or otherwise is just…overwhelming isn’t a big enough word for it…

  15. Mint says:

    There is a thread on Mu***et where a 24 year old has a script for diazepam to enable her to have a smear test. I think that this is so sad.

  16. IMustBeSurrounded says:

    I have a question for everyone here…and after reading all of this for two and a half years, I should know this. Terrible that I don’t.
    I had an HPV test (of course coupled with a pap) back in 06.The HPV test was High Risk Negative. I have not changed sexual partners in the years since..and my partner hasn’t either. Can your HPV status change to high risk on it’s own? Or do you or your partner have to change behaviors?

    In short – can your HPV risk change on it’s own?

    Thanks in advance!

    • IMustBeSurrounded says:

      And…as a follow up question. If you were diagnosed as low-risk, can it switch to high risk? Gosh, I should know these things. But I guess when you are applying these things to yourself, it can be hard to think straight. Or my work hours have rotted my mind. Thanks again.

      • Kate says:

        If you fell ill with, say, bird flu, would you expect it to mutate into swine flu while you were sick? No? There are many different strains of HPV, most of them completely harmless and if your test results came back negative for the high risk strains then you have nothing to worry about. Doctors do like to keep us confused and fearful – keeps us coming back for more *care*.

      • IMustBeSurrounded says:

        Kate! VERY good point! I’m embarrassed to say I never looked at it that way before! Thank you!.

    • Alex says:

      I think it’s like your credit score- it’s whatever the hell someone says it is, but doesn’t necesarily reflect on you. But, since it can randomly match up with reality, some people actually think it’s important.

      • Karen says:

        Hahaha, this makes the most sense, of all the things I ever read related to HPV. Its like your credit score.

    • bethkz says:

      >The HPV test was High Risk Negative.<

      High risk negative? Isn't that kind of like "almost pregnant"? It doesn't make sense on its face.

      The closest thing I could find by doing an Internet search on that term and HPV and PAP was http://www.mdanderson.org/transcripts/focused-qa-hpv-testing.html This 2010 page is presented by Doctor Helen Rhodes, Associate Professor in M.D. Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology,University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In there, she says:
      If your PAP test is normal, but your high-risk HPV test is positive, do not panic. Nothing further needs to be done. What's recommended is that you have another PAP test and high-risk HPV test in 6 to 12 months time.

      If your PAP test is abnormal, and your high-risk HPV test is positive, we recommend colposcopy, which is a further evaluation of the cervix under a microscope.

      If your PAP test is abnormal and your high risk HPV test is negative, we still recommend colposcopy, because remember we are treating the abnormal cells on the cervix that HPV can cause. We're not treating the HPV infection."

      She points out elsewhere in the paper that a woman can clear an HPV infection, and they can regularly test for it. You're not necessarily HPV+ for life. Elsewhere, I've read that people USUALLY clear HPV infections – including "high risk" strains – within 2 years.

      As for how you got it or how it could have upgraded itself to "high risk", while in a mutually-monogamous relationship, the answer is that you've gotten infected with a different, high-risk strain of HPV. If you and your partner are both monogamous, there is only one other place for you to have been penetrated and have gotten such an infection: In the medical setting. Gyn infection control practices are astonishingly nonexistent. There is the notion that since women's vagina's are not sterile, that there is no need to sterilize what goes into it. Nonsense! While my or your vagina is not sterile, I (and you) are not infected with ALL of the strains of HPV, HIV, syphillis, CRE, VRE, MRSA, and on and on. The risk of cross-contamination between patients is very high… and higher still if they are putting the metal speculums in a sink to be washed "sometime" later, and do not use the (functional) autoclave AFTER EVERY USE. Then, there is their nonsterile lube, the nonsterile community glove box, and the way they use even sterile gloves after they put them on. Medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, PAs, therapists, and on and on will put on the gloves, then open the drawer, touch the doorknob, touch their hair, touch the examining table, touch the counters, and on and on. These surfaces can ALL contain pathogens from other patients who have been in that office. Some of them can live weeks on such surfaces!

      Typically though, if a woman "mysteriously" comes up with having some infection or other which is only passed through penetrative sexual activity, and insists that both she and her partner are monogamous, the knee-jerk reaction is, "How can you be sure that he is being faithful?" often appended with, "You got this infection somehow." This plants seeds of distrust into the relationship, and denial (he probably is not cheating), and have led to breakups/divorces.

      This is another case of redefining the situation to be something than other than what it consists of. Yes, you had penetrative sex with someone outside your relationship – IN THAT MEDICAL SETTING. These infections are only spread through sexual activity, and microbes do not adhere to the medical exception.

      In these days of incurable viral infections, and drug-resistant strains of bacteria and fungus, the problem is only going to become more deadly.

      • Kate says:

        What the hell’s the point in testing for HPV if they intend to butcher every woman with *abnormal* cells anyway? What a scam!

      • IMustBeSurrounded says:

        BethKZ! SO many thanks for your time, thoughts and research. I found a couple of things striking. First of all, the idea that they would treat an abnormality (or investigate it) in a woman who is HPV – . My understanding is that here in the US – at least where I am – they will do a colposcopy when there have been two abnormal paps in a row. What came to mind today was a scenario where they call up an HPV – woman who has had an abnormal pap, tell her to come back in 6months for ANOTHER pap and they NEVER tell her her HPV status or what it means. So they are scaring the Hell out of this woman because her abnormal could have been caused by anything from sex to a tampon. Meanwhile, she gets to fret for 6 months.

        Also, now that I know my HPV status, when a doctor says to me “well you NEED to get a pap” I can now add “I am HPV negative” to my usual sentence, which is “I am in a confidently monogamous relationship and I’ve made an informed decision not to have those.” I found my HPV status by looking through old medical records (I saved myself 140 bucks, as I was thinking about ordering it online!)

        If the doctor comes back with the ol’ “well, your boyfriend could have cheated on you.” I will have to have a hearty laugh as we work together AND live together. I am with this man pretty much 24/7.

        MANY thanks BethKZ!

      • IMustBeSurrounded says:

        Kate! I was wondering the SAME THING! Correct me if I am wrong, but abnormal cells happen every day in your body…and your body works to correct that.

      • bethkz says:

        I’m not Kate, but I know that the body has abnormal cells in all of its systems every day. Or, they are cancerous or pre-cancerous cells, mutated by age, cosmic rays, sunlight, life’s exposures and so on. Normally, the body kills them and gets rid of them before there’s any issue at all. Cancer comes about when, somehow, this natural system has broken down somehow.

      • bethkz says:

        There appears to be no point in testing for HPV, really. They still do the paps, and still butcher every woman who has “abnormal” cells on 2 paps. Furthermore, the fastest CC – which is the one that kills the young women (in their 20s) is NOT related to HPV, is even rarer than ordinary HPV-related CC, is not usually caught with a “well-woman examination” with or without a pap. Sadly, when these young women die suddenly of CC, the cry is “If she’d only had her pap smears” or “They should be making sure this doesn’t happen to other young women.” or blaming her, “If she’d just gone to the doctor…”

      • moo says:

        The fast killing cervical cancer types are usually found in women who are also HIV infected and have developed AIDS. So when some doctor will lie to a woman and tell her that the HPV type 16 strain can develop into cancer within 6 months and she needs a LEEP they were LYING. I actually know a woman who had this happen to her. Her daughter was 6 months old when she had the LEEP done.
        Sorry previous I meant to write that the treatments are not accecptable to me and they are NOT harmless.

        The body does have marvelous repair mechanisms that repair tissues and even damaged DNA. However these enzymes systems need proper nutrients to function. So taking vitamins and eating good foods is really important. Chinese, Cuban and Indian scientists are also doing much work showing that green tea extract (ECGC), turmeric (curcumin) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are effective against cancer cells and HPV infected cells including squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. These scientists are publically finded and have little influence on them from drug companies.

        I have witnessed large companies buying up the research of some scientists and it is never published either to go towards patented processes or buried to prevent competition from further developments in the field. It is really important for people (voters) to lobby for unbiased and publically funded research grants particularly in cancer research. Most currently used antineoplastic agents (cancer drugs) are so toxic they cause liver damage and even other cancers.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Hi Beth
        The aggressive form of cc that usually affects young women is adenocarcinoma of the cervix, it’s even rarer than squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. (that affects more women, but is still rare) Both cancers are linked with hrHPV. So once again, no HPV = no cc
        There is some doubt with the SUPER rare forms of cervical cancer, (small cell carcinoma) they only affect about 200 women per annum in the whole of America, some don’t think there’s a link with HPV, while others say these cancers are also, linked to HPV.

        The point is: pap testing often misses these rarer forms for cc anyway, whether it be an adenocarcinoma or small cell carcinoma, screened women usually get a false negative and may be falsely reassured with their “normal” pap test result. These cancers are usually diagnosed after women become symptomatic.

        I’ve always considered it culpable to tell young women that pap testing will save them from cc, not true, the rare cases that occur, will still occur whether you screen or not, and screening means lots of young women being over-treated…young women produce the most false positives of any age range. You have only to look at our program to see the senseless carnage that’s caused to our young women. (some of our “doctors” even test teenagers under the age of 17, as one study showed)
        Of course, it suits many, testing, excess colposcopies, biopsies & over-treatment make a fortune for vested interests, and scare many young women into future screening compliance…the so-called “early scare”.
        No one here mentions the fact the Finns and Dutch have excluded women under 30 from their testing with much better results, if it was raised we’d be told, “things are different here in Australia, you can’t compare Finland to Australia”…absolute self-serving rubbish.

  17. moo says:

    If a woman has an HPV test and the result comes back HPV high risk negative that means there was no strains of high risk HPV detected. There are only certain strains of HPV tests with certain brands of HPV tests.

    If a woman does get any strain of HPV and the test comes back positive she will usually clear then infection in two years. If she gets another test a few years lately and it comes back positive again it is not always clear if she got that result from another different strain of HPV from a later infection or if she never cleared the infection. I do not believe that HPV strains can reactivate from latency or if a person can be reinfected by the same strain (no if the vaccine claims to work).

    Some of the newer HPV test marketed have a separate part for HPV strains 16 and 18 which cause most of the cancers. However they tend to lump together most of the strains for low or high risk other than 16 or 18.

    The problem with saying that cervical cancer is the ONLY preventable cancer is that the treatments for precancer, that is HPV infection, are not acceptable to me and not harmful. It does not make sense scrap up an area suspected of infection or cut into the tissue of an infected area to cure the infection. It spreads the infection around to more areas and deeper into the tissue. It is too primitve to me much the same as cutting of limbs to prevent gangrene from spreading. Would it make more sense to any infection with antimicrobial agents either topical or systemic (cream or pill)? Yet is seems little research is done to develop these methods because gyns are surgeons and giving anyone a pill to cure them would put them out of business. So they need to make money back on their fancy smoke venting cervix burning machines.

    If a woman decides she wants an HPV test then she should be able to get the results privately, not through a doctor (to avoid government registries) and preferably that test will have separate results for strains 16 and 18. If a woman does find herself HPV positive then she could try some herb and vitamin therapies or just do nothing but wait. Myself I would rather not go through the expense and hassle of trying to get a self test for HPV in Canada. Buying a few herbs and vitamins and using them is actually much cheaper.

    • IMustBeSurrounded says:

      I was feeling the same way. If you’d like to know your HPV status, there should be an easy way (and hopefully less expensive way) to order the test. I am aware that there are online stores now that sell them – but this is not widely known.

      Regarding where you mentioned that the gyns and surgeons need to make their money, I remember an interesting conversation I had YEARS ago with either a female doctor or NP, I can’t remember what she did. But, I went in for an appointment (I am not sure what it was for) and she straight up told me ” You do not need a Pap every year, they are for gynecologists to make money” Now, this was back in the 90’s when 1) I got them as a teenager 2) the guidelines said you had to get them yearly.

      MANY thanks for your response on this, Moo, I much appreciate it!.

  18. kleigh us says:

    Kate, that’s what I have been saying. I don’t go to gynos but I have herd when you reach 30 it is “standard” to screen for HPV. Well I’m 30 and like hell I want to know if I have HPV so they can have an excise to get paid for doing “treatments” on my healthy body. I wish so many woman wernt so gullible as to think they “need” these exams. The whole thing is just sickening to me. I don’t trust doctors.

    • Karen says:

      Same here. I need to know whether I have HPV like a hole in the head. I don’t fret about the co-factors of other rare cancers, why should this be different? Its about politics of course, not personal interests.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Exactly, good point Karen.
        I also, worry about the women having their ovaries out and breasts off after genetic testing, there is no cancer, perfectly healthy ovaries and breasts are removed “just in case”. If you choose to have genetic testing, you should go into it with your eyes open and “properly” informed: if you get a result that puts you in a higher risk category, what will you do? Will the result lead to a lifetime of worry? Would you choose to have immediate “preventative” surgery? I think we need to consider these Qs BEFORE we do any genetic testing. (or accept a screening test or exam)
        It’s also, important to understand the statistics, absolute and relative risk, so often we’re misled into believing the risk is much higher than it actually is…many/some doctors don’t understand statistics.

        To the forum:
        Thank you for your kind thoughts, my sister-in-law passed away last Sunday, her funeral was on Friday. It’s been a difficult 14 months since her diagnosis, especially for her, it’s heartbreaking to lose her, but a relief her fear and suffering is finally over. It’s all very low key with pancreatic cancer, there are VERY few survivors, they certainly can’t compete with the pink ribbon juggernaut or the masses of so-called “survivors” of cervical cancer.

      • adawells says:

        I am so sorry to hear of your SIL’s death, and my sympathies to you and your family. Just heard actor John Hurt also has pancreatic cancer. Perhaps this disease will start to get the attention it deserves.
        The pink ribbon brigade are an absolute insult to us all. It is great to have you back in the forum to continue our fight against this scourge.

      • Alice says:

        Very sad news, Elizabeth. I’m very sorry to hear it. I wish all your family the strength to cope with the loss.

        And you are so right, again. Pancreatic cancer has very little attention in the medical circles. The medical system by far prefers to check on women’s breasts and genitals.
        I have lost a friend to pancreatic cancer last year, and I was shocked how little was done to help, and how few treatment options were available.

      • bethkcz says:

        I too, have lost friends and neighbors to pancreatic cancer – which SEEMS to be getting more attention right now than other rare forms of cancer. I’ve got a friend with kidney and heart cancer (rare and unpublicized cancers) which have just spread to her lungs. It’s seemed that they can’t do much for her – although they’re willing to do more now with the lung cancer – a publicized cancer, which she has although she’s never smoked nor worked around especially hazardous chemicals. When I hear other people who know her who say, “If she’d just gone to the doctor more and had her annual pap tests…” I want to scream. Pap testing would not have gotten this, and focusing on her reproductive organs would have just delayed diagnosis even farther. Moreover, the other person I knew of who had heart and kidney cancer was MALE.

        I fear that this newfound publicizing pancreatic cancer will cause it to go the way of prostate cancer. A dozen years ago, it was seldom heard of or talked about. Now, it’s on every 4th billboard. I fear it will go from underdiagnosis to overdiagnosis and overtreatment overnight

        Over and out. :).

  19. Si says:

    Elizabeth, I am saddened to hear about your loss. You’ve given so many women support and assurance through your activism. Sending supportive thoughts your way.

    • Hexanchus (male - U.S.) says:

      Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family….Hex

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Thanks Hex, Si and Ada,
        Yes, I heard about John Hurt, it was apparently caught early, but even then the prognosis is poor, even if it’s operable (Whipple procedure) most people still die within 3 to 5 years.
        Yes, back to work, more women to find and inform.

      • Diane Spero says:

        prayers to you


  20. Emily says:

    my condolences to you and your family liz <3…and it's kinda off topic for this forum but I really need some advice and I trust everyone here than a great many people I've met face-to-face. I just hit the 5 year mark with my beloved Eric and I've noticed some changes in how people have been analyzing our lives. Everyone keeps asking "when are you going to have kids?" totally NOT interested.

    My mom has been the worst. She is beyond baby-crazy! as you all know I'm horribly doctor phobic and nowhere near responsible enough for a child. The idea of having one right now quite frankly terrifies me. and my mom will not stop bringing it up. She constantly calls and texts me with prospective baby names gives 'advice' like "well once you're pregnant you'll have to do (x,y,z)" and "you will do (x,y,z) when you have kids right? (silence) Right?" and every time I feel anything…if I'm sick, moody, depressed, tired or have a desire for certain foods. It's always the same line "Oh, are you pregnant? are you SURE you're not pregnant? you really should take a test." and then she'll go and say something to eric too and get him all worried. plus all 3 of us work together and she has no reservations about doing all of this in front of our co workers. omfg I wanna strangle her sometimes.

    I've tried talking to her and telling her it upsets me but she's not very easy to talk to. Not to say she is cold or uncaring in fact she is one of the most warm and loving people anyone could ever know. but she is entirely cerebral and has never been good with feelings. Trying to explain how I feel to my mom is a crapshoot and she always makes it out like I'm being silly. the way I explained it to eric was that talking to her is like like boiling noodles and scooping them out with one of those pronged spoons. She is the spoon and the noodles (facts, intellect) get caught but the water (emotions, feelings) just passes right through like nothing.

    Sorry for the long rant lol I'm so frustrated and I don't even want to be around her right now because I don't want to be harassed about having a baby. Help! How do I stop this madness??

    • Karen says:

      I think this post is not at all offtopic! Indeed, it is the same old, same old- women are treated like property when it comes to their reproductive capacities! I read somewhere that now the case is that women do not want children, and men want them (I actually have a very close friend in a similar situation to yours) because women of course fight tooth and nails to avoid the whole female gender role-free labour-sexual objectification straightjacket, and it is hard as it is, but with a child it would become almost impossible. Oh and we live on a dying, overpopulated planet with depleted resources.

      • Alex says:

        I think some people just have an issue with reality, doesn’t matter what it is- only THAT it is. I don’t figure women should have been walked-on as they have been numerous times in history, but that doesn’t mean anything that’s traditionally female (like being pregnant & giving birth) is wrong. It’s not like any congruency with “those times” is wrong- people still ate & drank. They inhaled & exhaled. What about all that? A sign of an unfair environment?

    • Alex says:

      Well, there’s the point that the drive to be so “academic” is an emotion. It’s an emotion to do such a thing. It’s a feeling to be “looking for the A grade.”

      Is she too old to have kids of her own? Might be worthwhile to bring that up, maybe trying to “pad the edge” if you want- but it seems a lot of the older women try to “recapture their glory.”

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Emily, thanks for your good wishes.
      I know what it’s like, I don’t have children, but thankfully, the pressure didn’t come from my mother or family, or my husband’s side either. (my mother had 5 kids)
      Surprising, but it came from total strangers or colleagues who felt they had a right to give me advice or satisfy their curiosity or debate the subject with me. Some just felt like being rude and overstepping the line, enjoying my discomfort.
      Why do people care so much? It was something that puzzled me, I did wonder about the people, especially women, who were almost offended at my childfree status, or angry.

      A few years ago I asked my mother why she had never pressured or q’ed me, she was surprised at the Q, “I’d never tell someone else what they should do with their life, it’s none of my business”…shame more don’t feel the same way. I think Mum had also, certainly noticed that all of my interests and skills lay elsewhere.

      I was actually chastised at school when I listed the things that I hoped were in my future, the teacher kept saying, “and what else”…it was clear she viewed motherhood as compulsory. It was acceptable to say, “I’m not sure”…but unacceptable to say, “I’m not keen, I don’t think I’ll have kids” or even more shocking, “I don’t want kids”…that just set up a debate about very personal matters.

      I found the best way was to say nothing or to walk away, not to react or engage with these people. I distanced myself from a couple of workmates who enjoyed putting me on the spot. It’s hard not to be sensitive, you want to fight back, but I found the best approach was to give them NOTHING.

      Later on…in my 40s and now in my 50s, I’m not sensitive about the subject, and can discuss the matter (if I so choose) without feeling uncomfortable, pressured, judged etc. It’s similar to questioning about pap testing, I’m happy now to say, “no, I don’t have pap tests” and “no, my husband and I were never sufficiently interested in having a child”.
      Age has its benefits. I have no regrets about either decision, it doesn’t make me unnatural, weird or anything else, just an individual woman going about her life.

      It’s a LOT harder with someone like your mother, I know a Greek girl who had to distance herself from her family because of the unrelenting pressure to have a baby. It’s sad when it comes to that, the pressure to have a baby damages the relationship they have with their own child.
      I firmly believe though…if you don’t react, refuse to discuss…give them nothing, eventually most will get the message. I also, answered flippantly and then moved away, that worked well at work and in social situations.
      Some women will ask you, “do you have kids?”…”No”…and then they’ll say something like, “oh, don’t leave it too late” this is to open the discussion and draw you out. I’d usually smile and change the subject, “are you still studying business?’…and often the subject was changed.
      I’ve had young women creep into my office after hours and eventually the talk turns to the CF life. Many people choose not to talk about the subject, so there is often no support for women who are apprehensive/unsure about having kids or who know they don’t want children. In most cases, I’m happy to discuss the matter with them, give them some support and guidance. It’s important for people to know/hear some women choose not to have pap tests and mammograms, and some choose not to have children.

      I do know something: NEVER have kids for someone else, I know too many women who did just that and were left to raise the kids alone or were unhappy/resentful. I’ve always believed: you only have kids if it’s something you want more than anything else, then it doesn’t matter if your marriage/relationship ends, the child is disabled etc., you did what YOU wanted to do: have a child. It’s still usually the case that the woman handles most of the childcare and that parenthood has a larger impact on her life. (that’s certainly my observation)

      My PA was pressured by her mother to have a child, she and her husband were indifferent, well, the child arrived, her mother met someone and prompted moved to the other side of the country. Then her marriage ended, her husband moved to the States….she raised her boy alone, although in many ways, he was the child of the office, we all helped out one way or another. (all contributing to buy him a bike or a computer etc. He’s now at University)
      Stay firm, make your own decisions…and yes, it’s similar to pap testing, we get heaps of pressure there too, many women give in to that pressure, but the best course, IMO, is to make your own life decisions.

    • Alice (Australia) says:

      Emily, I totally understand you. I am too a woman who has never wanted to have children.
      Plain and simple: I am not interested, not attracted to a single aspect of having a child.
      In addition, I dislike doctors and the whole Australian medical system to the point that I would be unable to like, love, or want anything that would force me into to just one extra doctor appointment, let alone force me to surrender my body into the hands of Australian doctors at the most vulnerable state! I have too many friends who went through a very traumatic time when they were pregnant: they were treated like breeding machines, not humans; they were ordered what to do and how they must feel; their wishes were dismissed; their choices were ignored; they were patronised like hysterical, mentally disabled creatures who are not allowed to make their own decisions. They only thing that kept these women sane was their immense desire to have children. They sacrificed their bodily autonomy, independence, freedom, health and dignity to the chance of having a baby. So if you are lacking that desire, it will be impossible to bear such treatment. There is no way I could ever elect to put myself through this hell to produce a child that I never was interested in.

      I have a partner who I love dearly, and we have been together for many years. He has no interest in children either. By the way, this is the only way to be happy together: to have the same outlook on the children matter. We have many other interests in life, and definitely plan to keep it at that. We are also lucky that my mother and both his parents have the most sensible attitude: “We had our kids when we chose so, now it’s your turn to make your choice”. Topic closed.

      However, I had some pressure time from my father, and many, many unpleasant questions from unrelated people like colleagues, neighbours, family acquaintances and even total strangers! It is very unnerving, and after a dozen of such encounters, the politeness is used up, and the first reaction becomes an urge to tell those people, in very non-dictionary words, to mind their business. But I found that the best approach is to give them nothing: they want an argument, they want you to be explaining, finding excuses and defending your position, but they are not going to accept your point no matter what you say. Their aim is not to understand you, but to make you to do as they see right. They will never accept that a different person may have different views. There are their views, and wrong once, no other options.

      So ignoring their questions, giving a short “no” answer and immediately changing the topic, quickly walking away, pretending you didn’t hear, pretending be suddenly distracted by something else, or giving a completely unrelated answer works best. And, if you do answer, hold that sweet, happy smile… Let them see that you are not going to ignite from their rude question, that you are happy with your choice. Make it look like you discovered a tasty treat and not going to tell them where to get it. :) Arguing and trying to defend your absolutely lawful, reasonable and logical position will only make them think that a child-free woman is grumpy and unhappy, all because she hasn’t wrecked her body and health by giving birth.

      From my experience, the people who pester women about children are of the following 3 types:
      1. Family members and related “well-wishers” who just like to handle babies, and they either past their own baby-making age, or prefer to play with babies occasionally, at leisure, leaving all the hard work of parenting to the victims.
      2. People who made a mistake of having a child. They are either tired, or don’t have enough money, or don’t enjoy rearing their child, or their partner left them, or the child is being difficult, or they wrecked their health/beauty, and they are bitter about discovering that the losses of their parenthood are greater than the benefits. They wish they knew that before making the mistake, but there is no “undo” with children. So they want the surrounding people to be in the same shitcreek, to keep them company and make them feel better.
      3. The paternalistic, patronising, misogynistic, religious or anti-women people who believe that having children is the main function of every woman.
      A person who is genuinely happy with their choice of having a child, who has a good and healthy child, who is interested and truly enjoys parenting, who respect other people’s decisions and who still has loving relationship with their partner, will never ask such rude, indecent questions.

      I know that deterring such questions from strangers is much easier than from your mother. But this approach did work with my father: all the abovementioned ignoring, changing topic, not answering, giving unrelated answers and pretending you didn’t hear. I took nearly 10 years. But now my father is actually happy to see us still in love, because he sees the families of the surrounding child-having “well-wishers” breaking up due to various reasons: changes in women after motherhood, changes in the family life after the child appeared, the split in the interests of the mothering woman and the working husband, because the child was difficult or unhealthy, etc, etc.

      I have to add that my partner didn’t have anywhere near as many children-related questions as me. For him, it was just an occasional “Do you have kids?” – “Nope” – “Ah, ok…”, next topic. I guess, because men’s choice is respected by the society. It also accepts that a man can have other priorities in life.
      But in my case, every other person had to ask when I’m going to have kids, why not already, and how could I possibly dare to say “I’m not interested at all”. Which they see as a silly, selfish, immature thing to say (as if bringing a child to an overpopulated, polluted world with finite resources is a mature, unselfish choice!). The society still thinks that every woman MUST have kids. That’s what women are for. They cannot be engineers, architects, scientists, successful business managers… noooo. They are here to pop children out. And that’s why the medicine is only interested in female breasts and genitals.

      I must say, I have never regretted my child-free choice for a single second. And I am eternally glad that I was strong and smart enough to be loyal to my choice, and not to let myself to be pressured or brainwashed to have a child just because SOMEONE ELSE wanted me to. A child is the biggest change in life a person can make, and if it is unwanted (for any reason), it will ruin the life forever.

      The planet is overpopulated. And to have no children is a very sensible decision. But, above all, the plain and simple “I don’t want children” is a very solid reason. We are not asking other people why they had children, so the others shouldn’t ask us why we don’t. It’s a personal choice, and there is no “must”, no right and no wrong.

      I wish all the happiness to you and Eric.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        That’s interesting Alice, that worked best for me too: give them nothing!
        I also, found people “blamed” me – “it must be her career” and yes, my husband got nowhere near the pressure or number of questions, but then my husband is a scientist by training and questions seem to bounce off him. Also, he honestly couldn’t care less what other people might think of our choice.
        One of his nosy colleagues asked if there were medical reasons why we don’t have children, I was appalled at the rudeness, he just said, “no, our choice, kids are optional”…and moved on. He’s a senior partner in a firm where most partners have 3 to 5 kids, so we were discussed a lot behind closed doors. A female partner (also, a friend) told them we didn’t want kids, they pondered this response and a father of five said, “I’ve never thought of that, I suppose you can choose not to have kids”…at 45 he’d only just worked that out! Most just accepted that kids follow marriage, the natural order of things.
        We do have kids in our family, we love them dearly, but are quite happy with the current arrangement, aunt and uncle suits us just fine….and we have grateful parents who appreciate our help and interest.
        It’s interesting too that the childfree are the majority on both sides of the family, so hardly surprising there was no pressure from immediate family.

      • Alice (Australia) says:

        Elizabeth, I too noticed this: some people just can’t comprehend that someone may NOT WANT children. They are totally unaware of the main difference between humans and the rest of the biological world: humans evolved to have the ability to analyse the consequences of their choices and conscientiously act on the result of that analysis.

        Just like one-celled organisms get born, multiply and die, those shallow-minded people are sure that everyone else should do exactly same, with no exceptions. A female child is born, grows up, becomes a “mature and responsible” woman via submitting to a medical rape, bears children, gets old and dies. That’s the only way in their minds. Any other chain of events devastates their world and in panic they don’t see the rudeness and inappropriatness of their own behaviour.

        It is funny that some people think they have the right to tell me that I must have kids and interrogate me on the reasons why I refuse to join their way of life. “Why don’t you have kids?”, “Kids are the most important thing in life!”, “You’ll be very sorry later!!”, etc, etc. And this comes frm a mother of 5 who started popping babies out straight after high school, has no further education, doesn’t look after her health, nor the health of her children, and has no happy, permanent relationship with any of the fathers of her children. Yeah… I’m sure she knows better.

        I wish the society saw the questions “Why don’t you want a good education?” or “Why don’t you look after your health?” just as “compulsory” to ask as those stupid questions about having kids.

        We too have kids in the family: our nieces and nephews are very sweet kids (and some are already adults), but it doesn’t affect our personal choice not to have children of our own.

      • bethkz says:

        You left out a few steps. > A female child is born, grows up, becomes a “mature and responsible” woman via submitting to a medical rape, bears children, gets old and dies. That’s the only way in their minds.<
        A mature and responsible woman who submits to medical rape, bears children, has a full hysterectomy, goes on HRT, hormones go nuts, she comes back in for more and more testing and more and more medications. She sees a psychiatrist, who gives her another basket of medications. She's become a cash-cow for the pharmaceutical industry, as well as a slave to her doctors who she depends on to prescribe such medications. She will do ANYTHING they want! Then, takes her teenaged daughter to the same gyn she went to for "her first 'grown-up' medical examination." She may get pressured into the pill, whether she's sexually active or not. Or, contrarily, if she begs the doctor for contraception, she won't get it, and becomes a teenaged pregnancy statistic, perhaps getting thrown out of the home on the way. She is still medically raped, and if she was not sexually active before, the doctor has had the pleasure of taking someone's virginity. Just like "droit de signeur" in the middle ages.

        She gets old, gets on HRT, has mood swings, possibly never-ending periods after she's 70 or so, gets medically assaulted over and over, has a heart attack or stroke, goes into a nursing home, where she and her finances are fair game. Sooner or later she'll die – probably on antipsychotics to deal wtth her "behaviors" exhibited because of "dementia". Note that people with dementia nor depression were violent according to 1950 psych textbooks, but they most certainly are NOW. They've got to be kept under control. And, ask her daughter when she's had her last pap test and whether she's on HRT. Gotta keep customers, you know.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Oh yes, and I lost count of the number of people saying, “you’ll change” with a knowing expression. Some women DO change, but not all. Just as the system assumes all women have pap testing, all women must want/have kids. Women are challenged when they act as individuals, have you noticed the demonization of women who choose to bottle feed their babies? Again, we “should” breast feed?

        There is an impatience with women who make individual decisions rather than doing as they’re told or doing what’s expected of us.

        I know some women worry about not having pap tests, it feels like they’re “avoiding” the test and everyone is chasing and judging them, some eventually give in to the pressure. I do wonder about the women who didn’t want children, who suddenly go through a final panic at 40 or 43 and have a late pregnancy or might even go through IVF.
        Are the years of pressure coming to a head? (a bit like pap testing)
        Is it the closing door, now or never, that causes them to suddenly move in that direction? I don’t want to live with regrets, I changed my mind etc.
        Is it a hormonal thing?

        I had a close friend, we lost touch a few years ago when she moved interstate, she disliked children and had no time for babies. She’d insist we move away from families in cafes etc. Well, she suddenly “fell pregnant” at about 43 and had the child. (she claimed loudly many times over the years, if I get pregnant, I’ll have an abortion)
        I know lots said to her, “knew you’d change your mind” with some satisfaction.
        I just remember feeling shocked and confused, what was it all about? (“let’s move away from the brats?” “can’t stand babies” etc.)
        I’ve met a few people over the years who were quite shocked I didn’t change. It seems impossible for some to believe some women don’t want kids of their own and won’t change at some point. (when they meet the right man, when the biological clock starts ticking etc.)
        Even if I say, “no kids, our choice” some probably still doubt that fact and assume infertility.

        Incredible that some still believe all women want kids, or should want kids, we might try and deny it, or avoid it, but we’re all the same…right?
        No, we’re not, we’re individuals.
        It seems many women have accepted the medical way of thinking, all women are the same and others know what’s best for us, we must or should do this or that…we really need to fight that thinking.

      • bethkz says:

        People are all different, and about 50% of “people” are or become women. Some want nothing more than to have children. Many adopt that because that’s what others expect of them. Still others adopt the role of “supermom” – (unsuccessfully) juggling a career (not JUST a job), several kids, a marriage, volunteer work, kids’ activities. She’s exhausted and all of those things suffer.

        At some point, one has to make the final decision whether (and with whom) to have children or not. For some of us, we never wanted to be, and biology was 150% behind us. I found that I could not and should not have children right as I made the final decision in my 20s to forgo children – and with that, had no trouble finding a doctor who would accept the “no kids” decision.

        It’s no longer imperative that everyone who can have children have them, and as many as possible. Not with 7.3 billion people. It’s a lot more imperative to be as useful as possible using as few resources as possible. Raise kids with those values, keeping in mind that every child you do not have is the same as an entire lifetime of 100% recycling. Educate the people we have – children and adults.

        Obstetricians are selling pregnancy care. They sell more in problem pregnancies. Is it no wonder that they view every women as pre-pregnant? Or, keep up the line of, “Someday, when you have children…” This gets a lot of women into expensive and useless procedures, many of which damage health.

        It’s really none of anyone’s business. In my 20s and 30s, I got asked, “So when are you going to have a little (Beth – Mr. Beth)?” That’s a horrible way to think. If I did have a child, he or she would NOT be a “little me”. That would be their own person. IMnsHO, a lot of what I see and hear of people not liking their (preschoolers, school children, teens, adult children) is simply because the baby developed their own personality, and became a different person. Or, the more prying, “Are you having fertility issues? So did I, and Dr. X is wonderful at…” The most absurd was when I had a boss who was demanding that I put in a lot more than my 40 hours as a full-time salaried position (more like 90 or so), and I hadn’t even SEEN my husband in 2 weeks, and was asking when we were going to have a baby! Oh yeah, and a lot of that extra time was working late because Mommy or Daddy had to (do child related activity), and you don’t have kids, so you can….

      • Alice says:

        Oh yes… This dreadful, repeating story of life of so many women.
        All “a normal part of being a woman”, as we are often told.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I might offer another point of view. My husband and I have always wanted children. I do get annoyed and upset about the unwanted questions people ask “when are you having a baby?” “Why don’t you try fertility treatments?” “Why don’t you adopt?”
    E’s option of changing the subject or walking away is the best.

    The treatment from medical doctors because I do not get paps is appalling. One doctor told me that is I refused pap that I would not get any prenatal care. I am sure that one of the few pap tests I had caused a miscarriage. The doctor tried to cover this up by using technical language and did not give me a copy of the report. Doctors will claim this never happens although I have chatted with many women online that all suspiciously had miscarriages within 72 hrs of a pap test. I also found out that the first test a doctor wants to do when a woman comes in with her home pregnancy urine test results is a pelvic test with a pap. Most doctors have never bothered to read the insert pamphlet that comes with the pap kit that warns that the endocervical brush should not be used after 8 weeks. The problem is that most doctors date a pregancy based on when a woman last started her last menstrual cycle. This is not accurate. I know that a woman can ovulate and not get a period and also bleed and maybe think that some bleeding is a period when she is in fact pregnant. In some cases women do not produce enough of the hormone for a urine test to be positive for pregnancy until they are months along and some not at all. If a woman feels she is pregnant but that urine test is negative then she considered crazy and refused ultrasounds to prove she is pregnant and offered other tests that could cause her to miscarry.

    My former pap pushing doctor told me that vitamins would just give me expensive urine and that I would get all the vitamins I needed from my food. When I told him that I had a miscarriage he suggested some procedures I refused but berated me on not taking prenatal vitamins if I had been trying to conceive. There was never any consistency in his ignorance or deception.

    Visiting a gynocologist for infertility is a route full of very intrusive and painful procedures. I was told by a student of naturopathy that these tests did not lead to curing infertility but rather to deciding which women would be successful with the IVF technology. Of course that would only be if the couple can afford it at over $10,000 per cycle. Most of these fertility doctors will never suggest a woman plot her basal body temperature and monitor cervical mucus patterns, use herbs, accupuncture or change her diet to get pregnant.

    I might also point out that in Canada doctors will refuse to use the sperm of any donor other than the woman’s regular sexual partner or spouse. So for lesbian couples, single women who are honest or couples with male infertillty they have to buy imported processed sperm from US. It is illegal to sell sperm or ova in Canada but somehow imported sperm with a prescription is allowed. A woman cannot bring in her live donor of choice unless in the intial interview she lies about who her male sexual partner is.

    Also women are told that if they are over 40 that their eggs are too old. This is not true. Their eggs might be too old for IVF to be successful or their natural hormone levels in premenopause might not be optimal for IVF. Some women have had natural pregnancies while in their fifties. But women are still offered birth control while in this stage of life. It is because they still can get pregnant. Pregnancy in older women is rare for several reasons because by that age many woman have had hysterectomies, some women have decided not to have any more children or just do not want to have children at that stage in their life. Older women are told that the rates of birth defects are higher as a woman ages. Not doubt these stats are old but also could be due to accumulated toxins from the environment or when everyone smoked everywhere. Also older women might be on medications for other health issues when they are over 45 that could affect pregnancy. All these reasons are going to produce a lower birth rate for older women not because they cannot get pregnant or have healthy babies. Fertility treatments other than taking herbs or accupuncture can cause cancer. Just look up some drugs such as clomid and whatever they give women to ripen hundreds of ova in a cycle.

    Adoption is also full of dilemmas noisy people do not know about. There are age, health and wealth restrictions on people applying for adoption. Even if a foreign adoption is preferred because a person would want a healthy baby and not some neglected child. Foreign adoption very expensive and some of the same critieria apply. Some critieria can be that the couple must prove they are infertile and IVF would not be successful. Not every person would feel they could be a suitable parent to a child with a disability. Pregnant women are offered the choice of abortion for their fetus is genetic or other abnormalities are found. While I would not choose abortion for myself, I do not understand why people expect that I should adopt a disabled child because it is “better” than being childless. I do not mean to degrade people with disabilities because I do not think their lives are worthless or they are less human or deserving of diginity or respect.

    Most comments to childless women are unwanted. However I wish I had better information about natural conception and herbs. When I asked about vitex at a medical clinic they glared at me as if I had asked for heroin.

    • Alice (Australia) says:

      This a very sad situation. Unfortunately, female health care system treats women appallingly no matter which direction they want to take regarding having children: whether it is a decision to have children when the body is having difficulties, or a decision not to have children when the body is easily able to conceive.

      Women are forced into painful, harmful and useless procedures no matter what they want in life. Just because they are women; which means their reproductive organs are the property of the state.

      • Emily says:

        you hit the nail on the head alice! I know that if I do have a child they will try to make me forfeit all rights to my body and become property of the medical system…I want my body to be mine dammit not some drs playground.

        Also even though I am young I don’t feel like I’m in good enough health right now. we work at a call center sitting on our asses all day and are very out of shape. To me it would feel like trying out for the Olympic triathalon team. If I were to go up to someone and say that they would probably fall over laughing yet everyone seems to think it’s perfectly fine to just jump into the hardest thing a womans body can go thru aka pregnancy. good lord I can see it now in L&D “you have pre-eclampsia you have to have a C-section” or “you’ve been in labor for too long. time for a c-section” I think I’ll pass on that thanks

        I also know how the glares that come from suggesting herbs. I study herblore and have made many effective teas and infusions to help with colds, bladder infections, arthritis, stomach troubles made salves to heal wounds quicker. No one believed it until a horrible flu bug went around at work and I made tea and herbal cough syrup to ease it for everyone on my team. Guess which team recovered first? When a co worker and his brother had a biking accident and got road rash I gave him a salve. he healed much faster. several colleagues troubled by UTIs have taken an herbal infusion of mine and kicked it without antibiotics. At first I got many dubious glances and “Are you sure about this?” I would just smile and say “Trust me. There’s a method to my madness.” now they call me ‘the mad herbalist’ lol.

      • kat rehman says:

        People poke their noses in whatever you do. We had just one child who has medical problems. To focus on her and because we didn’t feel we could cope with any more children, sick or well, we decided to stop at one. So of course we got oh when are you having another and it’s cruel to have just one, she’ll be lonely!!!

  22. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    This post has appeared on the Patient Forum:
    “Couldn’t help reading some of these comments with an open mouth. Attitudes to smear tests seem to be very negative these days. I’m nearly 50, I’ve never thought having to have a 5 minute procedure every few years particularly bothersome or inconvenient, certainly no more uncomfortable or humiliating than some of the procedures I’ve had with having children or being treated for CIN lesions. It has always given me a lot of reassurance to know, most of the time, everything has been normal. Not suggesting anyone here is wrong, I’m just very surprised.”

    I hope she’s surprised enough to take a closer look at this testing. Telling she mentions being treated for CIN lesions. It’s interesting that some women feel reassured knowing everything is normal, when before this testing started, few women gave cervical cancer a second thought, just as we don’t really worry or think about other rare cancers.

  23. Diane Spero says:

    Medical people are trained to follow a script. They learn to push procedures. Its just a factory
    where patients are numbers. They have no compassion, and some get of on bossing people around. I had blood work today. Dealt with a nasty woman at the front desk. i was closing my phone to come up to the desk. She kept telling me to come like i was a dog! I said please don’t talk to me like that. he snapped back saying what she wanted was important. what gives this bitch the right to treat me like that!
    They treated a poor elderly gentleman ( not feeling well) very nasty.
    Us medical system has so much paper work, you are no long a person, just a another on the factory line.
    I understand why people don’t go to Drs.

  24. ChasUK says:

    Hi All – I posted some time ago that I thought I had successfully opted out of cervical screening, well it just so happens I was NOT successful as this month I have received another “invite”. I had verbally requested that my GP remove me from the recall programme in November, got an “invite” in December so sent my request in writing to my GP stating that I wish to be removed, including all my screening history and samples, I also stated that I object to my records being used for any purpose whatsoever. Well during my weeks holiday the invite landed yet again. Why will they not take NO for an answer. I am so furious about it but will be writing again, or perhaps even email them as I have the practice managers email address which I used to opt out of sharing my records, it is looking more like you can’t opt out of anything!

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Chas, I get the impression they just throw these requests in the bin or too hard basket and hope you’ll just accept the situation. I’d be saying, “I have made my position clear, I find it unacceptable and disrespectful that my request has not been acted upon. I make one final request that I be removed from the register, (etc) any further “invitations” will be viewed as harassment and a breach of my legal rights and will be referred to my solicitor.”
      it’s concerning that women have to go to these lengths…if you want to keep using the same doctor/surgery, you could tone it down a bit, but I’d make clear you’ve had enough: stop!
      It doesn’t look good if more and more women are opting out, the program and its target are all-important. (and medical profits) So that’s why they make it as difficult as possible, hoping most women will just give-in or give up.

    • adawells says:


      Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 enables the NHS to bypass that part of the Data Protection Act, which says that they need to ask your consent before putting you on the cervical screening programme and expecting you to turn up as part of its recall process. But Section 251 will only be allowed to operate if patients requests to opt out are respected (see the link called What is section 251, it’s about 3 pages of A4). I’d print this out and show your surgery they are breaking the law by not activating your opt out request immediately.

  25. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Since my SIL’s death, I’ve been reading up on the effects of radiation and in particular, all the people who had Hodgkin’s Disease in their teens or 20s and were treated with radiation.
    I have no idea of numbers, but some get thyroid, liver or pancreatic cancers, some get stomach or gastric cancer, about 25 or so years later.
    My SIL had Hodgkin’s Disease in her early 30s and was treated with radiation, she didn’t regret it, it gave her another 30+ years of life, time she used to travel and generally, have a ball, and she always made time for close family and friends.
    It annoys me though the number of doctors and others who dismiss or play down over-diagnosis, cancer treatment to save your life is one thing, (even if you end up dying from something probably related to the treatment) but having unnecessary cancer treatment is another matter entirely.

    This is the risk people need to understand, there IS risk with cancer screening, especially prostate and breast cancer screening. Men get risk information, women don’t…we’re reading more about over-diagnosis but Breast Screen and other vested interests are quick to have the last word: the risks are outweighed by the benefits so keep screening!
    It’s culpable at this stage…they have NO right at all to tell us what to do…only ONE person can say the risks are worth it, the individual woman. So continuing to play down over-diagnosis is another display of arrogance, a complete lack of respect for women and a callous disregard for our health and lives.
    Shame on those who put screening and their interests ahead of our lives.

  26. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    This young women doesn’t ask: should I have a smear test? Her Q: what can I expect on the day?
    I just want to shout: do you know young women produce the most false positives of any age range? Do you know not one country has shown a benefit smear testing those under 30?
    I’ll bet these questions are not addressed in any brochure or “invitation”. Has she made an informed decision TO screen? I very much doubt it.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      I had to post, she’s 20 and has never been sexually active. (and Scottish)
      Scotland will change their program in 2017 (I think) the first “invitation” (read summons) will arrive when you’re 25.
      I sent her the link to the NHS (Scotland) site which discusses the changes being made and why they’re happening. Hope she’s careful, or she may end up losing some of her cervix at that tender age.
      I read an interesting comment by a Scottish doctor in the BMJ a couple of years ago, he thought it was disgusting the number of young Scottish women having unnecessary and avoidable biopsies and treatments as a result of their early screening program. We have the same problem down here…ignoring the evidence of harm for no benefit.

      • Victoria says:

        She says “a risk is still a risk…”

        Firstly, maybe she should apply that to screening then (as you point out in your first reply).

        Secondly, it shows how scared and manipulated people are by the cancer awareness campaigns, that they can’t distinguish between a 70% chance and a 0.5% chance. There ARE different levels of risk and, while the acceptable level is going to vary from person to person, it’s doing patients a disservice if they’re being told that any risk, whatever level, is totally unacceptable. By that logic we should remove any non-essential tissue because there is always some risk, however small. Stopping short of killing ourselves, which would be the guaranteed way to remove all risk of cancer ;)

        I read on some blogs written by doctors, that younger generations’ ideas of illness are very different from older people. We grew up with no measles, rubella, TB etc… The worst childhood illness most will experience is one bout of the flu and chicken pox. Maybe we think we have no right to get ill and therefore take a very defensive line against any threat, no matter how unlikely? Maybe we can’t distinguish between the severity of different illnesses because we’ve experienced almost nothing?

      • Alex says:

        Victoria: Great post. I think the concept of not having any frame of reference CAN be true, but there’s also a potential for narcissicm to play a role. Someone thinks that it’s like an elite club or something. At the very least, it seems to typically be presented in the negative if someone DOESN’T get these procedures done to them.

        The argument “It could save someone’s life” is usually used as a trump card in that kind of argument (because how is someone going to say “So what?” to that?- Well, I guess by doing it). It’s a reason to start chemo arbitrarily, too. You never see someone doing that.

        If other people are making the decisions, this person doesn’t “HAVE” their live, dynamically speaking. Of course, there’s no way to say anything so that someone else can’t argue, lie, or twist your words on their own. Technically, blocking the doctor off from doing whatever they want to do is something that can be considered an attack.

        As another thought: it could always COST a life (miscarriage from injuries, suicide from grief- possibly over the loss of the ability to have children, surgical complications, infections related to various procedures, antagonism or incompetence from the hospital staff- just to name a few that AREN’T dying in a crash on the way to or from whatever procedure). It’s odd that those never seem to get mentioned as a result of these procedures.

        Of course, it doesn’t matter if there are potential health-bolstering effects or not. Let’s say everything was 100% safe & 100% accurate, it’s still up to the person this would be directed at. It doesn’t have to “make grade.” I think women are a bit more susceptible to this tactic of “not good enough” than men, simply because men tend to have more of a “fuck you- whoever’s telling me I’m wrong” situation going on. Not without a double-edge, if that even winds up being the reason, but it’s got its uses.

  27. Chrissy (UK) says:

    I saw a news item this morning regarding prostate cancer detection. Apparently they are going to use trained dogs to sniff a man’s urine, as it may be possible for the dogs to detect prostate cancer this way. This is because they don’t want to put men through painful biopsies. How very kind and thoughtful of them. If you are a woman however, it is business as usual and somehow a biopsy is a just a minor, painless procedure. Nothing so simple as peeing in a cup for us. Why am I not surprised?

  28. kleigh us says:

    Didn’t know where to post this. Anyways what was bothering me is why so many want woman to be on the pill like doctors. I read just recently the CDC yet again telling doctors andcwoman what to do with are bobies. Now there saying they are concerned that woman of reproctive age are being prescribed to many pain killers. And that with all the unplanned pregnancy s in the us that it could be harming the could be baby’s. I know that pain killers can be addictive but there acting like woman should suffer in pain BC they are of reproductive age with. And even saying doctors should push birth control on woman who need to take pain killers. I don’t want to take bthe pill and I’m sick of these pole telling woman what to do and acting like we need care takers for are body’s.

    • kleigh us says:

      I’m sorry I ment bodies. Spell cheek.

    • Bethkcz says:

      It’s a bigger problem than just pain pills which may be needed when someone is in severe pain. I was reading the other day about how many people in the US are suffering from chronic pain that wakes them up at night, and go untreated due to the War on Drugs.

      That being said, the BIGGER problem is that all women/girls between the ages of about 10 and 55 are treated as “pre-pregnant” or with a possibly-undiagnosed pregnancy. MANY drugs and effective medical treatments have risks to a foetus, and should be avoided for anyone who IS pregnant. This gets all youngish women substandard medical care and treatment for any medical condition – most of which have nothing to do with sex or reproduction.

      • Alex says:

        Here’s how I saw it:

        If one woman is pregnant over here, she shouldn’t take these pills because it would cause birth defects. If this other woman over there isn’t pregnant, she could take them without issue (theoretically). But a third one somewhere else MIGHT be pregnant, and so might a fourth & fifth. Big question mark. Hard to make a “decision.” The thing is that it’s stupid to think this wouldn’t be a situational thing that would involve THAT PARTICULAR WOMAN. That doctor, however, thinks he or she is the “wellspring from which these people flow” & that they would have to plot & direct a course of action- since it couldn’t possibly come from anywhere else. They must figure someone won’t feed themselves without their prompting, too.

        They, I think, see themselves less as a Health Care Practitioner (HPC) & more as a Human Carcass Pilot (HPC). Of course- a contributing factor could be that they get a sense of pleasure from reasoning that they are smart & these other people are stupid, so that’s why they manage.

      • Bethkcz says:

        As far as the women who *might* become pregnant whose medical condition indicates that she/they be prescribed a drug that might/could/probably/will adversely affect pregnancy or a foetus, that is part of the JOB of the prescriber to talk to the woman – is she pregnant, could she be, is she planning to be pregnant? If so, counsel her about the risks of getting pregnant while she’s taking this particular drug or class of drugs. Talk to her about the alternatives – different medications, putting off, or deciding against getting pregnant or not taking the medication at all. If she chooses not to become pregnant, then talk to her further about contraception options – including interactions between the proposed treatment(s) and some methods of contraception, if any. That can include permanent sterilization, regardless of her age, marital status or number of children she has.

        Note that this sort of counseling is needed even in the case of prescribing certain antibiotics, as some can make hormonal birth control less effective.

        THIS is the reason that some drugs are by prescription only – that some people will have issues with the side effects of the drug, and to talk to people about alternatives and avoiding those side effects. This is the difference between actual medical care and drug dealing.

        What we have is a hodge-podge of medical providers who take the time and effort to do all of this explanation. In these days of managed care where someone has 6 cost-effective minutes to evaluate and prescribe for a patient, it doesn’t often happen at the doctor’s office – but sometimes. It can be given by a nurse. It can be given by the pharmacist, but that adds delays and further appointments in some cases. It can be gotten by reading the drug information given by law by the pharmacist, but many people do not or cannot read those. It can be gotten over the Internet on either reputable sites that give the scientific information, or it can be gotten in blogs where the information is as good as the (unknown) poster.

  29. linda says:

    I don’t know Kleigh. Its all about control of women. I always wanted the pill but towards the end they kept pushing this implant on me that went in my arm. Well it was terrible. I was on my period constantly. I felt so ill. They kept saying keep on with it but one day i went into the local well womens clinic and told them if they didn’t take it out i would cut it out myself. They took it out right away. My advice to you is if you want heslthcare – go on the internet diagnose your own problems then findvaway to buy what you need. The same with the pill. Try to avoid dotors.

  30. Moo says:

    I found a good resource about premenopause and menopause and what herbs can be useful. It is A. Vogel herbal products. There is a blog with many women writing in about their menopausal symptoms and questions about what is normal or not. What I can gather is that menopause can vary from woman to woman. There are also herbal remedies suggested for different symptoms.

    I almost always avoid doctors for the reason at age 50 they are pushing paps, mammograms and HRT, statins at me. I mostly use walk-in clinics for any extreme problems I have. One has to be careful about asking for pain pills there since they suspect anyone not signed up with a family doctor is a drug addict. I have never asked for pain killers but they act like that anyway.

    Most people hate their family doctor as they have to take off half a day from work to see them. Their schedules are booked with physicals for mostly healthy patients. Calling for an appointment when you are sick often means waiting at least several days. I think doctors should be seeing sick people mostly. I wonder how many sick people end up at ER after waiting too long because their family doctor is too busy doing pap tests and breast exams on heathy women? People who are chronically ill with multiple health issues complain that they cannot get signed onto a family doctor in Ontario because all the doctors are too busy making money with people who are not sick and getting bonuses for the patients who will do their pap test, mammogram, etc. The doctors are getting away with cherry picking their patients and refusing the most sick ones.

  31. kleigh us says:

    I’m sorry to hear that my Mon had the arm in plant back in the early 990 1990s. I was little and don’t know if it effected her. She passed away a few years . Latter from lung cancer with it still in her arm. I don’t believe in hormonal BC for myself but if others want it should not be keeled from them or used as a caret to force pap smears.

  32. Mary says:

    I don’t know if this has already been posted but this is an article about the disrespectful treatment of women by male doctors written by a doctor in their own journal the “Annals of Internal Medicine”.
    I always knew they were creeps. I never put them on a pedestal.

    • Diane Spero says:

      this link does not work. the dr ‘s should have to be put in stir ups have instruments shoved up them. be forced an dxm even after they said no!

      • Alex says:

        You know, I was thinking just that yesterday- well, the general theme. Tell some chick that “you don’t get this without that” with birth control- they get told that they’re not getting out of that office without some probing done on them. It’s odd to me that some people would potentially find that to be assualtive, since they seem perfectly fine with coercion going in the other direction. Maybe it’s the lack of subtlety?

        I don’t get something: Why do people have such an affirmative stance on them basically living their own lives however they choose? It’s like they champion these medical employees being able to “practice medicine” as it suits them. It reads as an iatrogenic attack if a surgeon carves their initials in a patient & the people are perfectly fine with limiting their freedoms by blocking them from doing that & retaliating to that if it does occur.

        Now, if someone were a cab driver & were to drive someone wherever they pleased instead of where they were bidden, that would surely read as a serious problem. Hell- if a barber cuts your HAIR they way they wanted instead of the way you wanted, even THAT’S noticed as a problem!

        If someone went to a restaurant & the server shoved a salad down someone’s throat- it would be an attack. Doesn’t matter if they’re the same gender or if the salad had potentially health-bolstering properties. Doesn’t matter if the assailant thinks better of their decisions than the ones of the person they attack, either.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Hi Mary
      I’ve never believed, “we view the vagina and ear in the same way”…so why the obsession with our reproductive organs and breasts? I think a lot of these practices started when very few women were in the profession, a bit like a boy’s club…the routine breast and pelvic exam was a perk for the boys.
      Also, “he looks at thousands of vaginas, no big deal, there is nothing special about you”…
      actually, there IS something special about me and every other woman, about time they recognized that. It IS a big deal and how HE feels misses the point completely, it’s how WE feel that should matter.
      Some argue it makes no difference to them, fine, but it matters to me. If I had to go through a pelvic exam, I’d see a female doctor. (who comes highly recommended)
      I’ve always suspected that some women who say they don’t care have been through so much that in the end they don’t feel entitled to bodily privacy or had to find a way to cope with it, to say, “it’s okay, all women go through it” or “I’m being silly” “it’s just medical stuff and necessary for my health” etc.
      The deeply entrenched thinking that our bodily privacy and dignity doesn’t matter needs to be challenged, it’s one of the reasons why pap testing was an acceptable test, we were TOLD it had to be, no one asked us how we felt about it.

      • Mary says:

        Hi Elizabeth,
        Finally doctors are starting to admit that their attitude to women is hugely disrespectful.
        The link seems to work and then it doesn’t seem to work. It’s very strange. Anyway if it doesn’t work google “Our Family Secrets” and Annals of Internal Medicine. It looks like a few sites have picked up on this article.

      • Hi Mary,
        The NYT has an article about the “Family Secrets” journal article. They are open for comments and there are some good ones :) : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/doctors-behaving-badly/?ref=health&_r=0

      • Alex says:

        Yeah, a lack of novelity doesn’t generate a lack of action. Someone could do something all the time or they could hardly ever do something- WHEN they do whatever it is, that action still takes place.

        I always wondered if someone would say that about other things. Like if someone were to be arguing against someone defending themselves & they were to say: “Well, that one has killed lots of people & does it all the time- so there’s nothing special about you.”

        I’d think a good reply would be: “Well, there doesn’t have to be anything special about the experience for them in order for it to happen to me.”

      • kleigh us says:

        Wow so many sickening stories hardly anyone Us woman can see they don’t need well woman check ups every year. I still know of know one who has been helped by these “vital” check ups. Did y’all read about the lady who took her baby to its doctor for a check up and the doctor asked to see the mothers breast . she told him no , he was not her doctor. What the heck. I’d have the dad take the baby for its exam I don’t want to be asked about my health.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        This is just horrifying: you would have to be a monster to treat someone in this shocking manner, part of a dysfunctional power-drunk system that can do as it pleases. When power goes unchecked, this is what happens.

        “molly San Diego August 22, 2015
        At 71 and having diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 7 weeks ago, I feel compelled, now to speak of the bestiality of the medical establishment toward me, as a young woman of 18.

        In New York, pregnant after an assault, I was told by my gynecologist (who was a mild-mannered man) that the only way I could possibly terminate the pregnancy was to try to kill myself.

        Which I promptly did.

        Wagner was mayor, and the Catholic Church had a tight grip on the City.
        I was hauled off to NY’s large public hospital, Bellevue, and put in a locked psych ward with patients who easily could have mauled me.
        I was repeatedly molested by the aides who, in effect, were our warders.

        I was finally granted a legal abortion– perhaps one of only five or six actually done–and med students were eager to see the procedure.

        I was wheeled–tied down–into a large operating theatre which had a tiered classroom above.

        The male surgeon –who had never actually done an abortion–looked up at the all male audience–easily 300 young men– who were keenly eying me…helpless before them legs splayed.

        “Look,” he said, how small she is. ” Her cervix is no larger than that of a rhesus monkey.”

        It could not have been much different from the female patients who submitted to agonizing humiliations at prisoner camps.

        I remember trying to see the faces of the students in the darkened side walls of the room…

        Any glimpse, any prayer of humanity.

        But there was nothing.”
        *from nytimes – comment following article entitled “Doctors behaving badly” (linked by Sue)

      • Elizabeth, thanks so much for posting this comment from the NYT. I remember doing a double take when I saw it but then forgot about it in the excitement of seeing all the approved comments. Many of the comments were helping expose the truth about women’s so called health care, and the NYT has some heavy traffic. I appreciate you posting this poignant comment here.

      • Alex says:

        Holy fuck! And they think that this promotes psychiatric health?! AND these are experts whose assessments of what works is trustible?

        That’s what taught the new generation & might very well be engaging in medicine today, just to make the point.

        Honestly, I have found a greater & greater respect (that I never thought I’d have) for guys that rape people like this in jail (although that doesn’t only happen to those that have it coming, unfortunately). The “people” in this story are fucked up, but I also presume they’re the types to think they can just cancel that out by discretion- like simply calling “not it.” That’s a pretty fucked-up trait on its own.

  33. kat rehman says:

    Elizabeth you just summed up exactly how I felt wlast smear all those years ago. Thanks. It’s like you said it’s Ok kat when I left

  34. kat rehman says:

    Left after my last smear. I’d put up a half hearted resistant and had been told that nurse sees vaginas every day! Didn’t make me feel better though..

  35. Karen says:

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/meet-the-gynepunks-pushing-the-boundaries-of-diy-gynecology Oh dear….DIY gynaecology… seems like they can’t see the forest from the trees!

    • Emily says:

      hmm well that’s very uh ….interesting? I like that it shows autonomy and a woman doesn’t need a dr invading her body but um theyre turning it into something edgy and rebellious- making it seem “scandalous” to garner attention. They’re really no better than all of those stupid mags that make anything gyno related fashionable and trendy -face palm- they are soooo missing the point

      • Karen says:

        yeah exactly they are like those stupid girly mags- turning the whole gyn bullshit into some edgy and creative past time, an opportunity to bond over…phew, makes me puke

  36. Alex says:

    It has some annoying twists to it. I wonder if anything ever gets measured/thought-out reasoning here? Ever notice how it’s always a trend or a fad? Whatever “it” is, it’s something that’s always got to have some “pop culture fashionability” to happen. There’s a real “Kelly/Ryan from The Office” tendencies in people around here.

    It’s good that they looked into the history or it & got pissed-off, though. Maybe there’s some questionability now? Ancel Keys would be another good one to look at (the “meat/fat/butter/milk/cheese will give you a heart attack” guy). Then again, there’s the whole “brain pills that’ll give guys tits” thing.

    I didn’t like the first (affirmative) sentence, which I notice is typical with ANY critical article. About anything. Is that just a reflex to people crying “discrimination” whenever someone says something? I’ve noticed that it’s almost like making a point that you don’t endorse slavery all the time. People look to “play lawyer” & get you “convicted.”

  37. Elizabeth (Aust) says:


    It’s amazing to me, my advice here is dismissed as horrible by a woman who provides zero support for her comments. It’s frustrating that some women simply dismiss anything that’s off message, real evidence is viewed as something like anti-vaccination claptrap.
    I hope my post prompts this young Scottish woman to take a closer look at screening.

    • kat rehman says:

      Elizabeth that woman’s comments dropped my jaw but she’s been brainwashed into the smears save lives and isn’t informed. Cat cuddles may have seen your and adas comments and done her research. I hope she has and made her decision…

    • Alex says:

      And here I thought Scottish women were so independant (non-wishy-washy).

      Maybe it’s unfair to just go by one person, but I’d have thought for sure that anything like that kind of shit they pull in Britain with hounding people on the phone & sending things in the mail & that extremely creepy poster with the little kid on it would be seen as scams & schemes. Probably English scams & schemes. Or American scams & schemes. You get the idea.

      I’ve got to ask: What’s the good in “saving a life” if someone loses custody of it? For crying out loud, these people don’t go for liver biopsies or brain scans every 6 months or 2 years or whatever the hell the “suggestion” is. I can safely say that I’ve never thought I was innately going to die of testicular cancer or prostate cancer, any more than I thought I was destined to get stabbed to death or get my head blown off. Don’t mean that as bragging, I just don’t get why women think this is a probable situation out of all things that are female-specific or that are more typically associated with women (hysterical pregnancy, rape, serial killers with mommy issues, etc…). There’s so many things that are more typical with women than men that they don’t worry about or don’t start doing any rituals or regimens to hedge against.

      • kat rehman says:

        Can’t answer that. I’ve never worried about cervical cancer. No one I know has had it and it’s not in our family. I guess it’s just individual women and the degree to which they believe the hype

      • kat rehman says:

        Can’t answer that. I’ve never worried about cervical cancer. No one I know has had it and it’s not in our family. I guess it’s just individual women and the degree to which they believe the hype. Maybe they hate the test but go because of peer pressure or because they are pressured by doctors or have pill withheld. It’s very hard to refuse a doctor and I. Think a lot of women give in to avoid the constant hassling invitations.
        You’re right it is a creepy scam but I think individuals feel powerless. That’s why sites like this is so great it’s turning the tide. Women are challenging the system.
        I’ve posted the hassle I’ve had even though I signed the disclaimer, this isn’t my year health wise in addition to the anemia I now started getting awful pain in my knees it’s waking me up, so yet again it’s off to the doctor.
        I’m sure I’ll be told I need a smear, so I’m taking a card with me literally saying “I’m here to discuss knee pain. I’ll answer all questions about that and also the anemia if it could be connected. I will not discuss smear testing or HRT. If smear comes up I’ll show the card!

      • Alex says:

        Kat: If they’re pulling shit like that in Britain, why not just go somewhere else in Europe? It seems like it’s not 100% that way. Actually, it seems to be more prevalent in “Anglo” & “Germanic” countries. Even thought there’s a lot going on with people going all over the place & you might not want to venture blindly into some places that used to be cool (ex: Milan, from what I hear), I’d think it would be something accessible. Maybe if you show up as a “refugee” everything would be free?

        I damn sure don’t trust much of anything that comes from American medicine & will probably do any dentistry (if I do any) in Europe. I notice American medicine is frequently a “revesed” situation (things work out exactly the opposite of how they’re advertised & there’s a concept of bolstering the issue to vitiate the issue (like pouring gas on flames to make them smaller- a constant theme in America, doesn’t matter what the subject is).

    • Elizabeth, there is a poster trashing our comments on the NYT’s site. Sad so sad this still happens, and frustrating. I have a couple comments waiting for moderation but I’m afraid one or both might not get approved :( They probably don’t approve comments from women calling a male ignorant and arrogant, although they approved ‘Ed’s’. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/doctors-behaving-badly/?ref=health

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Hi Sue
        Unfortunately I have limited Internet access at the moment, hopefully, they don’t close the article for comments before we can respond. I tried to respond, but my connection to that site is really slow.
        The first glaring point, a pathologist has a vested interest in pap testing, over-screening means more profit. Also, where are the references backing up his assertions, cervical cancer has always been rare in the developed world!
        He probably feels threatened by our comments, forget hard evidence, scaring women and causing confusion is his approach…that’s telling. Incredible he accuses me of ignorance when he hasn’t backed up anything he’s stated, aggression/rudeness and dismissal of critical comment are also, tactics used to silence anyone providing real information on this topic. Are the Dutch and Finns ignorant as well?

      • Hi Elizabeth,
        You make excellent points. He certainly has a vested interest, and I agree his tactics are of the Neanderthal variety. The article has since been replaced with newer articles and has dropped off the page. Still, some rebuttals were approved including the comment re “arrogance and ignorance”. The NYT appears to be more advanced than many. Alan Schwartz, a reporter from the NYT, is a keynote speaker at the 2015 Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference: http://www.preventingoverdiagnosis.net/?page_id=76

      • Moo says:

        Really, does pulling out the old “before the pap test women were dropping like flies” argument really justify anything? I just do not know where that “fact” comes from. Even statistics from third world countries do not report women all dying from cervical cancer which could not be reported as accurate because they do not have the resources to do autopsies if they do not even have resources to treat other illness.

        The other one that gets much use is ” half of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer did not have a pap test in the last 5 years”. Does that statistic include women who were getting colposcopies every 6 months or women who had AIDS or their immune systems supressed? But then what about the other half? They could have had paps every year and still got cancer. But still these numbers are few in the total population because we all know the rates of cervical cancer of drug addicted prostitutes in third world countries is less than 1%.

        “Pap tests prevent cancer”. No, they do not. The pap test is a cancer screening test. However it gives the results of not just cancer yes or no but of HPV infection which could rarely develop into cancer but make some doctors rich unneccessarily trying to treat it. If components of green tea extract and turmeric root kill HPV infected cells then why hasn’t there been a pill or cream to treat CIN developed? This has been known for many years.

        I am just so tired of repeating the same mantra. We get accused of being ignorant of the facts or recent studies or medical agendas when there are bunch of ladies on this forum who have nothing better to do than surf the net and read medical journal articles half the day. Reading articles like the NY times ones just reminds me that I trust my car mechanic but not a doctor. I remember why.

  38. Hexanchus (male U,S,) says:

    On Dr. Bernstein’s blog there has been quite a bit of discussion on the “hidden curriculum” – how what medical students are taught in classes about respect for their patients is subverted by what they learn from the attending physicians in clinicals.

    On Aug 21st Mary posted a link to the Annals of Medicine article about the dark side of medicine. The following is a link to a follow-up blog article – warning, it is pretty graphic and blunt – and made me sick to read it:

    Unfortunately, I think that there is no way we can rely on the medical system to initiate the changes that need to be made. I respect the many instructors for 1st & 2nd year medical students that take great effort to instill in them a principle of respect for the patients they encounter – unfortunately all to often those efforts are subverted by the paternalistic attitudes of the attending physicians they are assigned to work with.

    The screening programs are a good example – their official propaganda acknowledges the patient;s autonomy and right to refuse, while at the provider level they carry on with intimidation and coercive tactics – business as usual.

    Sadly, I believe that nothing is going to significantly change until enough patients get fed up and decide they’re not going to take it anymore, and stand up and advocate for themselves.


  39. Diane Spero says:

    yes i feel all screens should be by applied consent. Women have the right to make an informed decision on procedures performed on them.
    even colon scocopy should be the patient decision.
    i feel that all these procedures cause more harm than good.

    its like they want to find something. Hey more $$$ for them.

    i am tired of being treated like i’m some part on an assembly line.
    i agree with who side they trust their car mechanic more than their dr.

  40. kleigh us says:

    This is a little off topic but I wanted to share. Today I went to a dentist to get a filling because my tooth broke In half. I had been there two weeks ago for a tooth extraction. Today as the dental hygienist walked me back to my room and I sat down. She looked three my records and said “when was your last cleaning and cheek up with exrays. I said when I was 13. She said “I know you haven’t had one done hear”. I remeberd back when I was little the cleanings whould hurt so bad and leave my gums bleeding. Also I do not have insurance and can’t afford to pay out any more money. I told her no I’m not going to get that. She said ” So your just going to come in when you have pain?”. I decided to not answer or feed into it. I could tell she didn’t respect my refusel . I wasn’t rude when I told her no. She went on about getting oral cancer screenings I told her ” I do not believe in it. She said ” we have to recommend it. She thin said the dentists well be in to see you. I told her thank you. She didn’t say your welcome just stormed out. I was trying to stay firm with out yell even tho I felt the comment about only coming back when I had pain was her being sarcastic/ rude. She should have just accepted no and moved on I understand that they are told to talk about “prevention” . I also do not want an exray on my head every year. I don’t want extra exposer to radiation. I know this isnt gym related but its like the way woman get treated a
    With pap smears when they go to a doctor for unrelated problems. I got into a argument with my my grandma about his and she said that lady was right I do need cleaning. She said her gums get sore too when there cleaned it was normal. I got so upset I blew a fuse.

    • Moo says:

      I do not like to compare dentists to doctors in too many ways. The screening for oral cancer is using a special blue light in the mouth. I would not say it is really too bad except they tend to pull your mouth too much.

      It was a dental hygenist who first told me about this website. She also had commented about a few women in our social circle who she thought had been given unneccessary LEEP procedures. She told me that most HPV infections resolve in a few years and that doctors really got away with so much that most dental practices would not. This I might understand to be the levels of office hygeine and the sterility of equipment. She is also very aware of how other staff treats her patients in terms of giving preventative advice and just polite customer service.

      There are a few websites that give good adivce to preventative oral care that you can do at home yourself. Chewing xylitol gum can reduce bad mouth bacteria. Flossing and removing plaque from your teeth at home can be done. I do not like to floss because it hurts but my husband bought me a water flosser and the dentist gave me a type of floss that does not cut my gums. I am also happy to say that some dental practices do realize some adult survivors of childhood abuse do have issues around being in the chair with people over them etc. I do believe it is as wrong for a dental professional to blame the patient for disease just like it is wrong for a doctor to blame a woman for disease because they “had sex” or “didn’t have regular pap tests”.

  41. Emily says:

    Don’t you just hate it when someone acts like they know what’s best for you better then you do? That attitude is precisely why I avoid drs. I don’t care how many years you went to medical school you can’t say after 15 minutes you know more about my body than I do after living with it for 25 years! Also now that I have reached the “target age” (way to make me feel like there’s a bullseye on my back , or rather between my legs!) I have firmly decided I will not be getting paps or any std tests…how can 2 virgins get any stds? and yet I’m sure they’ll find some excuse to try and rope me into it…anything to make a buck, right?

    • Hexanchus (male U,S,) says:


      They’ll undoubtedly hit you with something along the lines of “how can you be sure your husband is faithful, after all everyone knows men have the morals of an alley cat.”

      Of course being male, I’ve never had them try something like that on me…….i can think of several really good potential responses though……

      I’ve come to the point where I politely but firmly tell them I have made an informed decision that I am comfortable with, whether they approve or disapprove of my decision is irrelevant and I consider the subject closed, let’s move on.


  42. Emily says:

    Lol yeah I just love the “How can you be sure?” line. Umm because we’ve been together for 5 yrs and never spent a day apart! It’s true…we moved in together after 4 mos and haven’t slept in separate beds since :) On a somewhat related note my beloved and baby crazy darling is now baiting me to marry him and have a baby by promising me I could quit our awful job and just stay at home. Curse him and his devilish charms lol. We work in a call center servicing credit cards for Barclays bank…pretty miserable job but the pay/bens are about the best you can get in the US. He even researched it and found out our company’s insurance will cover a midwife instead of an OB! I felt like a wealthy investor listeing to a presentation where someone is making a pitch for me to invest in their business lmfao. Oh how I love that man. Stay strong Kleigh…u r beautiful

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