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)

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Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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1,919 Responses to Discussion Forum (Unnecessary Pap Smears: Part Two)

  1. adawells says:

    My husband has always fully supported my decision not to screen.

    A few years ago, he had to have a gall stone removed. He had been having this pain for a while, and went to see the quack who had assaulted me some years before. She sent him straight for a colonoscopy, which he said was absolutely awful and painful. He came home shaken and traumatised by it. I told him, “It’s all part of being a real man, you’ll get used to them, if you’d relaxed during the procedure you wouldn’t have caused your pain yourself and it might have saved your life”. He took my point, and has every intention of telling them where they can stick their invitation of routine recall when he turns 60 in 2 years time. He is absolutely fuming that when the colonoscopy found nothing, a subsequent ultrasound found the gall stone. He is angry the ultrasound wasn’t done first, as would have spared him the colonoscopy. He knows just how I feel about cancer screening.

    • Alex says:

      adawells: Why would you tell him that? Especially if he’s always supported your decision not to screen?

      I would have thought you’d have mentioned the ultrasound & alternatives, too.

      • adawells says:

        Sorry, I was pulling his leg, and making a joke about it, as that’s what they always tell women about cervical screening not being such a big deal. I should have made it clearer in my post that I was being sarcastic.

    • Moo says:

      Obviously this doctor cares more for his screening incentive payouts than for his patients. Isn’t a colonscopy a cancer “screening” test more than a disgnostic test. An ultrasound of the same areas can find a tumor or blockage without as much preparation as a colonscopy plus it is almost no risk vs risk of colonscopy. Really it is not joke. He should be outraged.

      • adawells says:

        He is indeed still angry about this as there is the risk of getting a perforated bowel from the procedure. This doctor is still at our local practice, but we have changed GP’s. She is obsessed with screening, and little else. Glad to be rid of her. I don’t think that my husband felt strongly about screening before this incident, but since this he feels the same way as I do about it, and will not be taking up the bowel screening or over-50’s health check summons when they come through the door.

      • bethczk says:

        There is also the risk of infection from this procedure, especially if the equipment has not been cleaned and sterilized properly. There was a scandal several years ago about a VA hospital who quite literally had not cleaned their instruments for *years*, followed by several private hospitals and clinics having been found to do the same thing.

        With the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, to the point that experts predict that what are now minor infections will prove fatal in a few years, the high percentage of these resistant bacteria found in hospitals, as opposed to the regular bacteria of the same species, we are quickly approaching a “post antibiotic era” – where all of these procedures will become as risky as they were in the 19th century.

      • Moo says:

        We really need an article about colonscopy and bowel cancer screening. The risks of the procedure do not add up.

        Even where I live they give out the Fecal Occult Blood Cards (FOBT) every year or two to everyone over 50. If they get a positive then they are asked to come for colonscopy. They have a registry just like cervical screening and mammography so the pressure is bad and there are doctor incentives. A negative colonscopy means that it is only repeated every ten years. The polyps have to take time to grow unless they cancer wheh they will grow faster and cause symptoms.

        What really bothers me is the risks involved in colonscopy. I know someone who received a letter about the scope not being cleaned properly and they could have be at risk of contracting hep B or C or HIV. HPV or paprasties was never mentioned.

        Another issue is that certain foods or bleeding gums can cause a flase postive on the FOBT test. People are not told this just to avoid taking vitamin C supplements before and during testing because it causes false negatives. The colonscopy only can see the right side of the colon and not any cancer in other parts of the digestive tract. Colon cacner is being overdiagnosed in Ontario due to the screening programme.

      • bethkz says:

        Vitamin C supplements aren’t the only thing that causes false positives on FOBT. So do iron supplements. Multivitamins have both of those. So does taking aspirin, or MOST NSAIDs within a couple of WEEKS of having the FOBT. Many people take low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks, and many people take multivitamins, and many use prescription or OTC NASAIDs for arthritis or other inflammation problems. STATINS ARE ALSO AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. Blood in the stools, ulcers, reduction of platelets are side effects (of Lipitor) So does eating beef, pork, or lamb within about a week. Other meat, including fish or chicken is less of a problem.

        Nevermind the risks from going under anesthesia for an elective test several times in one’s later middle-age if one follows the guidelines. The medication Propofol, a benzodiazapine they use to create the “waking anesthesia” itself has a troubling side effect profile, including memory problems for a long time afterward, as well as during the procedure, and increasing risks associated with it – including rupturing the spleen! http://www.jwatch.org/jg201303280000001/2013/03/28/routine-propofol-sedation-increases-risk-during

    • bethczk says:

      This fascination with colonscopies to diagnose *anything* reminds me of a joke:

      A man is standing in the street, frantically searching. A passerby sees his distress, and searches too. The passerby asked, “So, what are you looking for?” The man answers, “My wallet.” The passerby asked, “Where did you lose it?” The man answered, “Over there, in the alley.” Perplexed, the good samaritan asked, “So, why are you looking here for it, not in the alley where you lost it?” The man answered, “The light is so much better here!”

      That is illustrative of how or why the medical industry uses colonscopies. They have a lot of press, nearly everyone has heard of them. They’ve been widely marketed as a “good” way to avoid cancer. So, they get used when other tests are much more likely to find the problem, when the problem is not even (likely to be) in the large intestine, when it’s unlikely to find the problem, and there are other, less-risky, less-invasive, more effective tests.

      • kleigh us says:

        I went with my GMA to her colonoscopy conceltation. When my GMA expressed concern the doctor down played the risks of perferation. And said the worst part was the collon cleanse. It annoyed me but my GMA does what her doctor sees and thinks I read bs online.

      • kleigh us says:

        Her doctor throws around “pre cancer”. It acres my GMA. I tried to explain almost everyone over a sertain age has pollops they call them are cancer to get those to screen more frequently. Its a joke. They got a lot of ppl fooled.

      • bethkz says:

        “Pre-cancer” means that you do NOT have cancer! It’s about as useful of a term to call young girls “pre-pregnant”, or to call any of us “pre-dead”.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Ada. Just had to say this was very funny. I will remember this if my husband ever has to have this done. As you know my husband asked why I was going on about smears so much as my last one was five years ago and I won’t be having anymore. As if it was all no big deal and I should forget it.
      You and your husband have really suffered hell at the hands of the medical profession.
      If I were you from now on if either of you become ill I would start doing research on the internet to find out what is wrong. There are numerous sites now in America where you can buy prescription drugs and they will export to the UK. This is basically all doctors are doing anyway. Also is there any way you could get into natural health and find an alternative health practitioner? I think for some one like you a more natural life style would benefit you greatly. All it would take is a bit of research on the internet. All doctors have done have attended a few lectures, read a few books on some university reading list and sat a few exams. When you go all they do is guess at what could be wrong with you by a process of elimination. it can’t be that hard for any reasonably intelligent person to do themselves.

      Hi Elizabeth As you know I have been approaching a number of solicitors over the past few weeks. I’m sorry to have to report back that no one is interested in taking on my case. I’ve has comments such as they are only smears and are good for you to we can not take on the NHS. The only thing I can continue to do is to post on all the forums. No matter which forum I access tho’ I am always happy to see you have beaten me to it!!! I think if we all start accessing various forums and putting the word out there then even if we only save a few then that will be something.

      Hi Alex. I haven’t posted for a few weeks but i have been reading all the comments people put nearly everyday. Yours always make me laugh as you approach every argument from a very unusual angle. Its a nice community of like minded people to belong to.

      • adawells says:

        Hi Linda,
        For your kind comments. I’m glad you saw it was a joke on the BS women are told about smear test, which I was playing on my husband. It is good to see how angry many men are getting now that they are getting collared for health checks, colonoscopies, dementia, diabetes etc. Once they are over 50 and get asked to do all these tests, they are suddenly waking up to what we women have had to endure from our doctors for years.

        We rarely ever use our doctors, and I have no plans to return for anything soon. I read up on everything I can to do with health, and follow a number of people on twitter. Margaret McCartney and Iona Heath regularly post some very interesting articles, with free links to academic articles not otherwise in the public domain. Grassroots GP website is also a good read, by doctors opposed to the hysteria surrounding targets and screening. Believe me, there are a lot of medical professionals which are against all this, but what stops the common sense from getting through are the hysterical media campaigns for ever more screening for younger ages, and the scaremongering put about by charities. Elizabeth is right it is a business designed to keep the circus on the road and women on their backs with their legs in the air all their adult life.

      • bethkcz says:

        Aside from when someone is truly sick or injured, especially when they are not capable of understanding the problem or finding the solution to their problem, or giving the appropriate care, treatment, or surgery to themselves, all doctors have to sell is FEAR. Fear that someone has something horrible. Fear that they might eventually get something terrible. Fear that someone will die. Most of what physicians and the whole medical industry has to sell is reassurance from these fears.

        People maintain a false hope that all of this can be circumvented, disease can be eliminated, and everyone can live forever. The well-touted advancements in medical science maintain these false hopes, even in light of the fact that life expectancies overall are not increasing, and are, in fact, decreasing for women (for unknown reasons at this time).

        As long as people, especially those in the industrialized world maintain a denial of death, a denial that everyone’s time will come to an end sooner or later, the ridiculous amount of overtreatment for enormous prices will continue.

      • adawells says:

        Here we go again:
        Every year petitions are organised by the “smear test saved my life” campaigners, who are simply too thick to understand that the smear test would not have had any effect on these women’s deaths. The British government has a duty to spell out to these supporters that what they are requesting would harm women greatly. Further down the listings is someone requesting a reduced age for mammograms. When these petitions reach over 100,000 signatures they require a parliamentary discussion all at the taxpayers expense. I think the people we must target are the politicians who need to be told screening is not an automatic vote winner, and keep posting on websites that women have a choice, and they should be making an informed one.

      • Alex says:

        Thanks, Linda. Yeah- I’ve got a little bit of an X-factor thing going on, I suppose (ha ha!).

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Bethkcz. I have never seen it like that before but you are so right. Since joining this site and meeting all you great women I feel so liberated. I have often relied on doctors in the past when they didn’t know much more than me after all. Do you know Beth I once ended up having an internal exam when I went with headaches which in the end were nothing more than eye strain. I read on a post the other day that internals are not normally done in England or europe but they are done in Germany. The doctor was a German doctor standing in for my own doctor for a few months. I had never had one until then and thought it strange at the time. I never questioned why because she was the doctor. (I’ve only recently woken up from my life long sleep!!!!!!)
    My husband’s dad would never go to them he always called them ‘quacks’. It looks as if he was right. I used to help out in an old folks home and when the doctor used to call you could here them all saying things under their breath like ‘oh God quacks here.’ or ‘he’s here with his funny pills’ It might be the older generation knew something all along!!!

    • adawells says:

      Hi Linda, my parents, born in the 1920’s always referred to doctors as quacks, and never had the respect for them that you often see portrayed on TV. In those days, I think harm done by the doctor, was a lot less subtle than it is now. There were few rules and regulations in place, and I think a lot of people quite rightly suspected they were being experimented on, eg. the polio vaccine was tried out first on orphans as they wouldn’t have had the parents to sue. The radical surgery carried out on people was simply horrific. People didn’t have the information to find out otherwise.
      I had a similar experience to you when young. I turned up to a doctor’s surgery in the mid 1980’s for the pill, completely innocent of what it would involve. The doctor was a Chinese lady, who, although not unfriendly, briskly proceeded to give me the “American” style pap, pelvic and breast exam. I had absolutely no idea what was being done or why, as no explanation was given, and in those pre-internet days I had not even heard of such a thing as a pap or smear test. I came out incensed that this was what was done to women. When we moved house, I refused all of that, and that’s when I started having trouble with this other doctor, when I became pregnant many years later.

      • bethkz says:

        My grandfather, born in 1900, always referred to doctors as “quacks” and almost never went to one. My grandmother, slightly older, ran to them constantly.

        I remember one time my grandfather was in a bar, co-miserating about “quacks” with another man about his age, regarding their wives’ experience. Seems that the same quack was seeing both of their wives a couple of times a week for what has always been a very rare disorder. A third man joined them, with the same story. They reported this oddity. Seems that this good doctor was bilking medicare, and he went to prison for defrauding Medicare!

        His patients held a protest at his office, protesting taking away “the best doctor they ever had”.

        My mother, born in the 1930s, had an idea that they walked on water, and went along with whatever they said. BTW, she died 25 years younger than her mother, who rarely went to a doctor. This is while criticizing my grandmother, her MIL, for being duped by the fraudster.

        My aunts born in the 1910s-1920s went along with whatever they wanted to do too. That included keeping their husbands out of the labor/delivery room, episiotomies, drugged “twilight sleep” while in labor, radical mastectomies…

      • kleigh us says:

        My question is how did woman live before the “vital pap smear and well woman exam”. Were invented? It makes me laugh how so many woman act like they can’t live with out there gyn.

  3. Linda says:

    Hi Ada John says I have too much time on my hands these days but I truly believe its only when a women is older she actually begins to wonder what the hell has been going on all my life. I always believed older women just went along with everything but it must be true that with age comes wisdom. I was only sat here this morning with my coffee looking over yesterdays blogs and laughing thinking I can’t wait to find something wrong with me to go to the doctors again!!! or if that practice nurse rings again. Heaven help them. I’m not a rude person or resort to shouting and swearing but i will have the high ground. Having read absolutley everything on the internet that has ever been written I am so confident with my argument they will not be able to get anything past me. It will be brilliant. I wish you could all be there!!!!

    • adawells says:

      Can you imagine what it will be like to hit 60: you will have the cervical screening programme every 5 years, mammograms every 3 years, bowel screening every 2 years, and them offering you an NHS Health check on top of that. If you’ve opted out of cervical screening, the doc can declare you have dementia, to get the £55 bonus for this, and then declare that having dementia invalidates your requests to opt out of all screening, since you cannot be of sound mind to do so. All of this after a full days work as you cannot retire until the age of 67!

    • bethkcz says:

      Unfortunately, there appears to be no end to the amount of nonsensical invasive abuse they can come up with, try to sell you, and convince you that this is “life or death” unless you have this product or procedure RIGHT NOW, TODAY. Or, ways in which they can circumvent informed consent or even outright refusal.

      I keep learning more as time goes on. Best is to stay away from those folks.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Yes, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that consult room.
      You do feel empowered as an informed woman, almost every week I hear something directed at women and just shake my head.
      Some women tell me they go limp in the consult room and the doctor can basically do anything, they feel so intimidated, that suits this system of abuse, quiet and compliant bodies. I think that’s why doctors backpedal quickly when they’re faced with a firm and polite NO, not happening. Some doctors are taken aback when women say NO, but they have to start hearing that more, if we’re to change this system of abuse.

      The German doctor who did an opportunistic pelvic exam…shaking my head.
      This is what I mean, being there for a sore throat or sprained ankle should not mean our whole body is up for grabs…that unnecessary exams and tests can be forced onto us.
      Some women say the test wasn’t forced onto them, the GP just said that’s what would be happening and they didn’t feel they could challenge him/her. The “casual” reach ignores both consent and informed consent.
      When we don’t know what’s clinically required, it makes it even easier for them to take advantage, that’s why for decades many women believed breast and pelvic exams and pap tests were clinical requirements for the Pill…no, this was doctors taking advantage of women who simply wanted the Pill, a misuse of prescriptive power. (I view them as assaults) It still happens, the AMA constantly link the Pill with pap testing, it means we’ll have to shoot down that link, a link that should never have been there to start with…

      German women seem to be totally in the dark, I’ve never heard a German woman complain about these annual exams that usually start when a girl starts menstruating and go on every year for the rest of her life. As far as I know, German women still have annual pap testing, pelvic and breast exams, I assume they have huge over-treatment/excess biopsy rates as a result, they must have with this level of testing.
      So German women face the annual exam that most American women endured…thankfully, things are starting to change in the States, although I’m sure many American women still endure the harmful annual rummage-around, yet I haven’t heard a peep about Germany changing their practices.

  4. Linda says:

    Oh my God. I’ll never be away from the place. I won’t have time to trawl the internet to find out why I shouldn’t be having any of these!!!!
    Speaking of the internet … There is not a forum or chat room anywhere in existance that Elizabeth has not left stuff on. Its truly amazing. She mustn’t have slept or eaten for years!!!! I even found a very obscure Canadian one today and thought surely she hasn’t put anything on this but as I scrolled … yes you guessed it … She had.

  5. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    “AUSTRALIAN women are being falsely diagnosed with gonorrhoea on the basis of unnecessary tests, often performed without their consent or their GP’s request, research suggests.
    A study published online today by the MJA raises concern that pathology laboratories are now mostly using a dual nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for chlamydia and gonorrhoea rather than a single chlamydia detection test, even when GPs have only requested chlamydia testing.”

    The other point here: some GPs do STI testing while the woman is having a pap test, sometimes the woman asks for it, sometimes it’s suggested before or during the exam and sometimes there is no consent at all, the GP just goes ahead.
    Now this has to change, GPs have no right to do anything to us without informed consent and obviously with consent itself, but the disrespectful way women are viewed and treated is so deeply entrenched, it will take a lot of shifting. I call it the “casual reach”…”I’ll examine your breasts while you’re here”…etc.

    When my GP (uncharacteristically) “added” the CA125 blood test to another blood test, I firmly and calmly told her why that was unacceptable…and I did NOT want the results. A note has been made and it will never happen again, but I wonder how many women have things tacked on, whether it be an unnecessary exam or test, I suspect almost all (if not all) of us.
    These simple tests can cost us dearly, there is nothing “simple” about a pap test or unnecessary breast exam, if I’d been unaware of the unreliability of the CA125 blood test, got a high reading…what then?
    I have the fear and anxiety to deal with…I do my reading, okay, the test is unreliable, but I still have that “abnormal” result ticking away in the back of my mind. It means MOST women will move forward and that can even mean surgery. Those women who don’t know the test is poor, might sprint to the next level…ovarian cancer! Even an “all clear” may leave these women with anxiety about ovarian cancer, they might start testing every 12 months…gulp!
    The profession tends to dismiss anxiety, but the anxiety and fear associated with these “abnormal” results can be severe. (I’d say it’s usually severe) Of course, this also, means some women become totally compliant, fear drives them to the next level and some go around in circles for a very long time. I know there are some/many in the profession who view this as a good thing, (for them) they couldn’t care less about us.

  6. Linda says:

    Hi Bethkcz. I know what you mean about people protesting ‘they are taking the best doctor away’ Lets none of us forget when Harold Shipman was arrested there was a protest group for weeks outside of his practice. He is thought to have killed up to 300 of his patients. Its funny there was any one there to protest actually!!!

    Hi Elizabeth. Although I can’t wait until someone at the surgery mentions smear test again I will have to tone myself down. I am a bit drunk on knowledge and power at the moment.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Linda…we’re individuals and will react differently. I spoke to a woman recently who felt the need to write to all of the doctors who’d assaulted her over the years. Some doctors were hard to track down, but in the end she sent off 8 letters, all either coerced, pressured or misled her into pap testing. (she had a false positive and painful cone biopsy when she was 27)
      She then went doctor shopping to find someone prepared to work with her, not dictate, mislead, pressure etc.
      For her it was part of the healing process, she also, intends to write to the Medical Board, they won’t do anything, but if enough women complain, we might see doctors being more careful in future. Everyone knows what’s going on, they pretend to care about consent and informed consent when they’re challenged, but their actions speak volumes…IMO, there is no respect at all for our right to choose or to make informed decisions.
      She decided to write, she didn’t trust herself to speak to these doctors face to face, she’s carrying a lot of anger. The letters have helped her. I also, suggested she write to Papscreen and the Cancer Council, both protect this program, not women.

  7. Linda says:

    Hi Elizabeth.

    I am going to write to the British Medical Board too. I know I have been using humour on this site but my emotions are all over the place. I can not tell you how many flashbacks I have been having over the past month since that silly nurse started hassling me. Its like she let a genie out of the bottle. One minute I feel upset the next I feel angry. I’ve been thinking I was stupid or over the top somehow. You can understand I had a right to bodily privacy and my dream of my husband being the only one to ever touch me. I don’t think its romantic nonsense anymore it was actually my right!!! I think a lot of young women may be in danger of thinking that way once they are older.

    I’m a supply teacher and I go into schools where there are still a lot of innocent young teenage girls (they are not all little horrors like the media would have you believe) and it angers me they could one day be duped like me. I come across a lot of Aspergers and ADHD girls as that is my field of work. I can not begin to tell you how much they probably suffer. I think of all the ones I have taught over the years and although I have lost contact with them now I dread to think how upset they will have been when faced with smear tests. It will harm them. I wonder if any research has been done on the instance of these girls actually killing themselves because of stress over these ‘mandatory’ tests.

    I accessed a site yesterday called ‘beingirl’ to leave comments on it but the facility was disabled. I was horrified to see what was written there. As if it was all part of being female and that virgins were no exception. I was nearly sick with repulsion.

    I believe its only now I’m fifty I have taken full stock of my life. Its a time bomb. I am a sensitive person and there should be more pshycological profilling of patients before offering these tests.

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