Women have huge purchasing power and when women stop buying a bad product it tends to disappear from store shelves. This pattern might extend to the pap smear as more and more women are opting out of this questionable method of screening for cervical cancer. Some evidence suggests that women undergoing pap testing has declined by 48% in the past ten years. In other words, in comparison to ten years ago only about half as many women today are ‘buying’ pap tests. And the falling numbers may just be enough to drive change.
The FDA is reacting, and on March 12, 2014, will meet to decide on the implementation of HPV screening as the primary method to screen for cervical cancer. Years worth of research indicates that using HPV testing as the primary method to screen for cervical cancer has many advantages over pap testing:
- HPV testing is more accurate
- HPV testing allows those women who wish to screen to go for intervals of 5 years between tests
- Far fewer women would be subjected to over-diagnosis and over-treatment
- HPV testing is more humane as there are many options for self-testing, thus allowing women to keep their cloths on and their feet out of the stirrups
For input into the FDA’s decision the contact is:
Shanika Craig, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993, Shanika.Craig@fda.hhs.gov
FDA Advisory Committee meeting: http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/ucm381983.htm
Women are looking beyond the propaganda and are discovering the facts; cervical cancer is rare and the pap test is an inaccurate method of screening for it. More women are also aware they have the right to informed consent and this means they are “allowed” to say “no”. The pap test is simply a bad product, and as a poster on this blog has said “as we all know, when you’re looking for a needle in a haystack with a defective pitchfork, well, it’s all a bit futile, and we harm heaps, now we can identify the handful at actual risk, but choose not to, too much money is made harming the masses” (Elizabeth, Australia). More women are becoming informed and have stopped buying pap tests – and women’s choices are driving some very welcome and long overdue change.
For more information and references on this topic: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/08/20/references-and-education-pap-testing-and-other-womens-health-topics/