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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1,614 Responses to Discussion Forum (Unnecessary Pap Smears: Part Two)

  1. adawells says:

    Oh no! This freely available article suggests that inaccuracies in HPV testing should be backed up with a pap to find those elusive HPV “negative” cervical cancers.


  2. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Interesting, so pathologists think it’s best to have a pap AND HPV test.
    No mention of course, that this is happening in the States and what’s happening…it leads to the MOST over-investigation. It also, causes confusion and has women going around in circles, there are charts on some US sites –
    I’m HPV- but my pap test is abnormal – go to colposcopy/biopsy
    I’m HPV+ but my pap is normal etc.

    They conveniently focus on the super rare cases that “might” not be HPV related, but my reading suggests these very rare cancers are usually missed by pap testing anyway. (false negatives are a concern as well, they can falsely reassure)
    Vested interests will always look for an angle to keep a population of women coming in for more and more testing, having excess biopsies and being over-treated, it’s been a goldmine for them and they see an opportunity for even more profit.
    Some are madly working on the pap test as a screening test for uterine and ovarian cancer, they’re desperate to keep the cash cow in place.

    • bethkz says:

      Many or most women (men too) have been misled about what, precisely, a pap test can or cannot detect. MANY people believe that it will detect ovarian cancer and uterine cancer as well as infections.

      While a pelvic exam can collect a sample to diagnose a vaginal infection, the PAP test will not.

      I know a woman in her 70s who has been diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. She was very much against seeing doctors, and her (now deceased) husband forbid her to see doctors even when it would have been helpful. Now, with the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, people are blaming her as well as her late husband for “not going to the doctor to get proper checkups, or well-woman exams”. Nonsense. These would not have helped her, and in fact, might have hurt if she’d have waited longer after she became symptomatic because she’d just gotten an “all clear” on a pap test.

      I tell them no, pap testing does not have the ability to check for ovarian cancers, nor does the bimanual exam. Most do not believe me. The few that I’ve convinced I’ve sent to actual medical sites with the description of the pap test and what it does.

      Nonetheless, doctors seem quite happy to have a misled population, who will keep coming in or encouraging others to go in to check to be sure that they do not have ovarian or uterine cancer.

      Testing normal, healthy organs over and over for the possible development of a rare disease or condition is in any other context viewed as abnormal and pathological. For instance, someone who wanted to go in annually and be tested for spleen cancer or kidney cancer (both rare, but more prevalent than cervical cancer) would be or should be referred for psychological evaluation. In the case of a cervix, one who does not have her normal, healthy, asymptomatic cervix checked annually is considered “irresponsible”. What’s the difference?

      You said it right. It’s a huge cash-cow, combined with the opportunity for sexual access to a woman.

    • adawells says:

      Checking through all the risk factors for uterine cancer, I tick only 1 box on that list, and that is that I started my periods at an early age at age 10. So what are they going to do about this? Go around telling 10 year olds they are going to get cancer when they hit middle age? Hysterectomise these women as soon as they have decided they have finished their families? Force them to live for years on the pill or have a coil inserted, when they may want to have children? I tried the pill twice, and quickly developed debilitating allergy type symptoms, when I started the progesterone part of this triphasic pill. I remain convinced that this “intolerance” to progesterone was also a factor in me getting uterine cancer, although the consultant denied it. Would I have liked to be told in my 20’s I was heading for cancer at 52?
      I would like to see better treatments, better diagnoses and better information for patients. Spreading the idea that all cancer can be prevented and is down to naughty, deserving patients not attending screening is deeply upsetting, and keeps the vested interests piled up with cash.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        I can’t imagine having periods at the tender age of 10.
        I agree the focus is irrational, I couldn’t believe the publicity about ovarian cancer and nuns, the reasoning, “nuns don’t take the Pill or get pregnant so they should take the Pill to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer”. What?
        I’d fall into that category, should I have been taking the Pill for decades too? Of course, getting the Pill was a MAJOR hurdle when I was in my 20s, you had to agree to an assault to get the Pill. That might be a harsh word, but that’s how it would have felt to me, I knew these invasive exams and screening test had nothing to do with the Pill and were not clinical requirements for the Pill.
        I still cannot see how that differs from asking a man to have his testicles examined and a colonoscopy before he can have Viagra.
        Also, some nuns have been married and have children.
        Here we go again, lumping all women together, making assumptions, focusing on the rare/uncommon cancer rather than the vast majority of women and the individual.

        Also, being on the Pill for decades might not be a walk in the park for some women, some suffer from side effects. Also, ovarian cancer is a nasty cancer, but it’s on the rare/uncommon side.

        Your comments are spot-on, Margaret McCartney wrote an interesting article, “Are we educating women to be afraid?”…Answer IMO, YES.


        People also, fail to see that screening carries risk and that’s why it should be an informed decision and yes, it’s reasonable to decline screening. No, that doesn’t mean we’re at fault if we later get cancer.
        My SIL will often say, “if only Mum had had a colonoscopy, she’d be alive today”….we can’t be sure about that, colonoscopies carry risk, serious risk (perforation of the bowel) and often miss cancers in the ascending colon. You can’t say that screening “would” have saved her life.
        Screening is so often viewed as a no-brainer because that’s the way it’s been presented to us for decades, when the reality is…very few can benefit from cervical screening and the risks of breast screening exceed any benefit. Bowel cancer screening does not reduce all cause mortality. Yet if you read the screening stories you’d be left with a completely different impression.
        Making women feel guilty for not screening has always been part of their strategy, yet when we hear about a screened woman getting cancer….nothing. The dishonesty is breathtaking and disgraceful.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Thank you Elizabeth. The tug of war going between my gyn & us highlights this. We considered writing him a long letter using his own words, but instead we came up with a list of all readily available alternatives for him to choose from. As you know, I need a knee replacement. This is a great reason to enforce my refusal to pap, as last time it locked, and if it did again I’d end up in the ER waiting for emergency surgery. Not good. Here’s what we found.

      The “UDO Test” out of South Africa. $140US. http://www.udotest.com/test/udo-hpv-test or info@udotest.com Free shipping to US, anybody can order, no Rx necessary! They can test for HPV or STD. They have not explained how the test works or what it’s based on. You insert a provided Q-Tip type swab into your vagina as you would a tampon, twirling around and against the sides to gather cells & mucus. You insert the now mucus soaked swab end into a small, narrow specimen bottle, snap the neck off, seal the bottle, and send in a prepaid mailer. This test is tried, true, and far more accurate than pap. The company can test 140 women every 3 hours. Every woman using it has been very pleased.

      We all know about the Delphi Screener. The company has not returned my inquiry. I’ll try again.

      Trovagene. http://www.trovagene.com or info@trovagene.com $149US; billing code 87621, with Rx they’ll bill insurance directly. I didn’t ask if they can process kits directly from cash paying patients w/o an Rx. If HPV+ Trovagene specifies which virus. Since 1999; 95% accuracy vs 53% for pap (sooo, WHY haven’t we been told?). 888-952-7570, 11055 Flintkote Ave, San Diego CA 92121 Trovagene will (if you request like I did) send your doc patient-ready “kits.” Patient p/u kit from doctor’s office. Next morning, the first urination is self-collected. A portion of this is poured into smaller specimen container with a preservative. Patient seals it, places into the provided FedEx pack. Results come within two weeks.

      I advised the doctor’s staff to watch for the kits, saving one for me. Since then I’ve called 2x more wanting to send my husband for p/u. I’ve been placed on hold over 10 min each time. I’ll let you all know what happens when this is resolved next week. I’m looking forward to seeing how this “alternative” that my doctor denied existed works. For once, I feel empowered re my vagina.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Good for you C&M, I think the medical profession struggles with informed and assertive women, I think they just expect us to fall in line, or most of us anyway. No doubt we’re labelled troublemakers or difficult patients.
        I think their greatest fear is the spread of information and trust in self-testing and more women finding out they can’t benefit from pap testing and that routine pelvic and breast exams, TVU, CA125 etc. are not backed by evidence and carry risk.
        Keeping women in the dark, misled and compliant (or under control) is vitally important to their business model.
        I’ll be very interested to hear their response, if the fob off doesn’t work…perhaps, they’ll try the scare-the-woman approach, “self testing is not as reliable”…but then, they’ve probably worked out you’re an informed woman, and that puts them in a quandary.
        Incredible that pap testing could come up when you’re looking at a knee replacement, but then, I shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve heard it all over the years.
        Earache or sprained ankle, you “need” a pap test etc.
        Thanks for the additional info on self-testing options too.
        How did you damage your knee? Is it wear and tear, arthritis or did it start with an injury? Hope it all goes well, a locked knee sounds very painful.

  3. Ro says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve commented, but I saw something interesting (to say the least) the other day. I turned the tv on as I was going to watch a film. The tv ended up being on one of the news channels and the news anchor along with a medical specialist were talking about vaccines. So of course I decided to listen before starting the film. They were talking about an outbreak of mumps in Canada. The medical specialist said that it was due to people not being vaccinated because vaccines only work when everyone is vaccinated, and people who have had vaccinations for specific diseases/infections can still get those when exposed to them. So basically, vaccines don’t protect us from diseases. If that’s true, then everyone being vaccinated wouldn’t necessarily stop the spread of diseases/infections either. Either way, what she said seemed like a load of hog wash and was very confusing. If anyone could better explain what she was getting at, I would appreciate it.

    Second thing, I’ve heard people cracking jokes about women’s health recently. You’d never hear people crack jokes at migraines or sinus infections, so why is women’s health any different? It’s disgusting and I can’t believe that so-called feminists go as far as to participate in cracking jokes about women’s health. Health is not something to joke about and it’s truly sad.

    Anyway, those were just a few things I wanted to briefly comment about. I hope that all of you have been doing well lately and happy holidays!

    • Alex says:

      If the vaccines aren’t protecting people that do get them, then a group of individuals getting them won’t be protected either. What’s any number times zero?

      There was a documentary called “The Silent Epidemic” (at least that’s what it was called on Youtube) that was interesting. It’s long, but suprisingly wasn’t tedious.

    • Ro, I too find the vaccination related news confusing. There’s an interesting article in the NY Times about Whooping Cough vaccine: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/health/study-finds-vaccinated-baboons-can-still-carry-whooping-cough.html?emc=eta1&_r=1&
      Also, in Canada a hockey team had an outbreak of mumps, yet most of them had been vaccinated.

      Happy holidays to you too Ro :)

      • Ro says:

        Sue – The hockey story was the one being referenced in the segment I saw! I’m curious to know more about the actual effectiveness of vaccines. I know that some seem to have actually helped, such as the vaccine for polio, but other than that I can’t think of any that have been proven to be very effective. Perhaps the tetanus, in some instances, but I definitely plan on doing some more research.

      • bethkz says:

        I seem to have a minority opinion here.

        Many vaccines are effective on most – or nearly all of the people who receive them. The people in the society they are in who cannot take the vaccines (too young, allergy to ingredients, sick with other things) end up being (mostly) protected too if a large portion of the population has been vaccinated.

        The smallpox vaccine has been THE MOST successful vaccine. Smallpox is now extinct in the wild, but is being saved in some labs – or so it is believed. Polio vaccinations have all but eradicated polio, but note that it is in the wild and spreading in areas such as west Africa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan where people believe that polio vaccines are a western plot to sterilize their women, according to Muslim clerics. Doctors in India claim that “Enterovirus-68″ that went around on the west coast, primarily, last year really was polio. Maybe. Maybe not. If not, it should probably be included in polio vaccines.

        Some vaccines seem rather silly – vaccinating people unlikely to be exposed to the virus (HPV vaccines for 10 year olds), where the vaccine poses a significant risk in test subjects or in the population for a very rare or not-usually-serious condition. It’s a simple risk/benefit analysis. Tetanus is a rare condition at this point. Some look silly in retrospect. For instance, when I was a child, we were given a “lifetime” chicken pox vaccine. It was very good at keeping it out of the school. However, it was not “lifetime”. Many women, including myself, got it in our 20s or 30s. Women that age are more likely to be pregnant than children are, or older women, and thus many got chicken pox as adults – which is generally more serious than in children, and is devastating if one is pregnant. We should have been offered boosters, but the thinking for a long time was that it was “lifetime”.

        Mumps went around my community 2 years ago. My MMR vaccine from years ago evidently saved me. My husband already having had the mumps got them again (it’s possible). Trust me: Mumps is unpleasant for an adult male.

        For myself, I intend to look into getting booster shots for most of these “common childhood diseases” which I never got (other than chicken pox when I was 29). Many children are not vaccinated, and can spread these diseases. Through me, indirectly, such a disease could come into contact with a frail, elderly person who is susceptible, and could kill them. Risk/benefit analysis fits in here too: I’ve had bad reactions to Rubella, or “3-day measles”. The ongoing reactions from them are far worse than the disease sounds, although before the vaccine was developed, 11,000 people per year died of it in the US. Since 1992, very few have. It is known to cause birth defects especially if the woman gets rubella during her first trimester.

        Notions that vaccines cause autism have been debunked. Dr. Wakefield was working for a law firm planning to file suit, and looking for “expert testimony”. He was published in “The Lancet” – a UK medical journal. The Lancet rescinded the article, in their only instance ever – in their more than 100 years of publication. It was proven to be fraudulent – not just wrong, but outright FRAUD. Thimerisol was removed from most vaccines many years ago. The few that have it contain less mercury than a tuna salad sandwich.

  4. Moo says:

    The chicken pox I suspect were different strains. I never got a vaccine in childhood but I did get chicken pox at age 6. When I was 23 I got chicken pox again. Not shingles, chicken pox.

    I would never 100% believe in a vaccine being effective because I am reading about all the really shoddy research that is out there. Also the research results vary with who provides the funding.

    The immune response for a natural infection should be much better than an immune response from a vaccine. Sorry I cannot quote any study. I have done enough reading to believe it though. Having a healthy immune system is better than any drug out there even for cancer.

  5. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Just wanted to wish everyone a happy Christmas.
    We’ve achieved a lot in 2014, let’s keep up the good work in 2015 and reach many more women.
    See you back here in the New Year.

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