Sensitive Examinations and Your Right to Say “No Thank You”

You might not be aware of your right to refuse any part of any physical examination, especially in regards to pelvic examinations.  The following excerpt is from the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Professional Standards and Guidelines regarding all physical examinations:

Physical Examinations
1. The scope of the examination and the reasons for examination should be explained to the patient.
2. If a patient refuses a part or the whole examination, it should not be done. The refusal should be noted in the chart. It may be possible to reschedule an essential examination to be done in the presence of a chaperone of the patient’s choice.
3. A physician must provide complete privacy for a patient to dress and undress.
4. A patient must be provided with an adequate gown or drape.
5. The physician should not assist with removing or replacing the patient’s clothing, unless the patient is having difficulty and consents to proffered help. Sensitive-Examinations.pdf (application/pdf Object).

In the case of the right to refuse pelvic examinations to screen for cervical cancer, I have had a family physician threaten to withdraw health care when I said “no thank you” to a pelvic exam.  Withholding health care when a patient declines a pelvic examination is unethical, paternalistic and coercive.  All cancer screening is optional and governed by the individuals’ choice.  Cervical cancer is a rare cancer and a pelvic examination is extremely invasive.  As well, the rate of false positives from a pap test is high, thus rendering the pap test a very unreliable screening method.  Yet I feel I am on shaky ground when I decline this invasive examination, as my experience with having health care withheld illustrates.

The excessive pressure placed on women to screen for cervical cancer is concerning.  Women are pressured to the point where they feel they no longer have the right to decline an invasive examination. In fact, cervical cancer is the only type of cancer women are pressured to screen for.  Given other health concerns that are far more likely to cause death (heart and other cardiovascular diseases for example), as well as far more prevalent types of cancer (lung, colon, skin, prostate, thyroid, kidney, etc.), perhaps the time and energy expended by physicians to pressure and coerce women into pelvic exams would be much better spent on more significant health issues.  And yes, women do have the right to say “no thank you” to a pelvic examination.

References:

ehealthmd.com/content/how-accurate-are-pap-smear-results

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012001/article/11616/tbl/tbla-eng.htm

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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169 Responses to Sensitive Examinations and Your Right to Say “No Thank You”

  1. Sue, if only more women (and medical staff!) were aware of the facts, the figures, and regardless of what your risk profile is, it’s your RIGHT to decline any sort of screening, including the pap smear. It frustrates the hell out of me when doctors focus on our vaginas and breasts to the detriment of any other symptoms, screening or issues that myself and other women present for. If I am at the doctors because I am worried about my heart/ear infection/broken bone etc, I do not want my time wasted on my vagina. If I feel the need to get my vagina examined, guess what? I’m an adult, can make my own decisions, and will ask the doctor to check out my vagina. Otherwise, f**k off and deal with what I am here for. I don’t feel like risking a stroke/heart attack/other complications from a totally unrelated illness simply because some bean counter has decided I am simply a pair of breasts and vagina connected in some vague way to the rest of me.

  2. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    I was looking for a good place to post this excellent article on breast screening.
    So many great articles coming out by Dr Gilbert Welch and his team at Dartmouth Medical School and by women who’ve worked out they were over-screened or over-treated or both…these articles are rare here.
    We’re now seeing some very worrying trends, including the fact more women opt for unnecessary mastectomy. No wonder, scared to death by the “over-awareness” driven by the pink ribbon juggernaut and screening programs…women basically removing their breasts because of “pre-cancer”…for things that are nothing more than a risk factor. This is a serious problem in the States with many women having breast screening annually and from mid 30s or 40. It would be like doing heart surgery on those with high cholesterol. (an example used in the article) Also, note how much the Susan G. Komen Foundation spend on research and how much is spent on education/awareness and screening. Shouldn’t we be spending a lot more on research? Speaking generally, what is the real motivation behind some of these awareness groups, power and commercial interest or women’s health?

    I also, read an interesting article recently by Dr Malcolm Kendrick, who produced evidence to show high cholesterol is NOT linked to more deaths from heart disease. What?
    Low cholesterol may be linked to more cancer…so why is every second person over a certain age taking a statin every day?
    He’s written a book called, “The Great Cholesterol Con”…I just bought it. The graph he put together shows the lowest cholesterol levels in the world are found in aborigines, yet they have the highest number of deaths from heart disease. Also, the Swiss have the highest cholesterol levels in the world, but the lowest number of deaths from heart disease.

    So it seems most of the preventative checks we have may be unnecessary and some expose us to risk. We’re not left with much, are we?
    Blood pressure checks for those on the Pill and others over the age of say, 40.
    Most GPs here order routine blood tests for people over about 40, checking all sorts of things, including cholesterol, iron, protein, glucose, Vitamin D etc. Assuming they’re all helpful/necessary, we probably don’t need to test every year if we’ve always produced normal-range results. Some say every 2, 3 or 5 years should be enough.
    The comprehensive American annual for everyone is not evidence based and not recommended in most countries.

    BUT, “routine” visual checks of the genitals, rectal, recto-vaginal, bi-manual pelvic and breast exams are not evidence based, they’re unnecessary/unhelpful. Mammograms are optional (I’ve said NO) and pap tests IMO, should only by offered to the roughly 5% who are HPV+ and aged 30 or older. (If HPV primary testing is unavailable and women wish to test, adopting the Finnish program greatly reduces the risk of false positives/over-treatment/excess biopsy, that’s 7 pap tests in total, 5 yearly from 30 to 60)
    There is no screening test for ovarian or uterine cancer, so routine TVU and the CA-125 blood test should be out as well. I even read an American woman was offered a routine endometrial biopsy to check for uterine cancer…what? That’s terrifying…honestly, some American doctors scare the life out of me…I see the grim reaper.
    Most of these checks are not only unnecessary, they waste scarce public health resources or cost us or our insurance companies money (the latter driving up the cost of insurance) AND, they carry risk to our health and well-being. All of this invasive stuff IMO, also negatively affects our quality of life.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    • Elizabeth thank you for linking this article. The author states: “The chances of a 20-year-old woman getting breast cancer in the next 10 years is about .06 percent, roughly the same as for a man in his 70s. And no one is telling him to “check your boobies.” I worry there will be more and more pressure placed on very young women, it is so sad the way young women are targeted while at the same time they are least likely to have cancer but are the ones who stand to lose the most. I remember your comment after coming back from the conference in Oxford: “The highlight for me was Peter Gotzsche from Nordic Cochrane Institute, he is the speaker I’ve been waiting decades to hear, someone with the guts to say it with absolute conviction, “breast screening is harmful and should be stopped”. His presentation and graphs were impressive. Naturally, we had the questions from the audience desperately looking for middle ground, “should it be reserved for high risk women?”
      The response was clear, “NO, it’s harmful, why would you do something harmful to anyone?”…and another question, “So what is the alternative?”
      Response: “Do you know that song, “Don’t worry, be happy”…no one gets near my prostate, so why shouldn’t women have the same right”. Thank you Dr Gotzsche, why is that statement so difficult for most doctors?
      Fiona Godlee, Editor of the BMJ, said she has refused her first mammogram and another doctor in the audience has also, refused screening. At the break I spoke to several other doctors who’ve all refused breast screening.” I wanted to re-post this comment as it is very revealing regarding the harm that comes from unnecessary breast screening.

      I like your comment about American doctors scaring the life out of you, and seeing the grim reaper – I feel the same way. Maybe women need to start a black ribbon campaign that reminds them to be wary of unnecessary screening and the risks involved. I worry that soon every woman over the age of 60 will be walking around without breasts and a uterus.

    • Al says:

      Elizabeth, thank you for the link to the article! It’s just brilliant:

      “The thing is, there was no evidence that the size of a tumor necessarily predicted whether it had spread. According to Robert Aronowitz, a professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society,” physicians endorsed the idea anyway, partly out of wishful thinking, desperate to “do something” to stop a scourge against which they felt helpless. So in 1913, a group of them banded together, forming an organization (which eventually became the American Cancer Society) and alerting women, in a precursor of today’s mammography campaigns, that surviving cancer was within their power. By the late 1930s, they had mobilized a successful “Women’s Field Army” of more than 100,000 volunteers, dressed in khaki, who went door to door raising money for “the cause” and educating neighbors to seek immediate medical attention for “suspicious symptoms,” like lumps or irregular bleeding.

      The campaign worked — sort of. More people did subsequently go to their doctors. More cancers were detected, more operations were performed and more patients survived their initial treatments. But the rates of women dying of breast cancer hardly budged. All those increased diagnoses were not translating into “saved lives.” That should have been a sign that some aspect of the early-detection theory was amiss. Instead, surgeons believed they just needed to find the disease even sooner.”

    • Some more great quotes from the article:

      “…Huge jump in D.C.I.S. diagnoses potentially transforms some 50,000 healthy people a year into “cancer survivors ” and contributes to the larger sense that breast cancer is “everywhere,” happening to “everyone.” That, in turn, stokes women’s anxiety about their personal vulnerability, increasing demand for screening — which, inevitably, results in even more diagnoses of D.C.I.S. Meanwhile, D.C.I.S. patients themselves are subject to the pain, mutilation, side effects and psychological trauma of anyone with cancer and may never think of themselves as fully healthy again.

      Yet who among them would dare do things differently? Which of them would have skipped that fateful mammogram? As Robert Aronowitz, the medical historian, told me: “When you’ve oversold both the fear of cancer and the effectiveness of our prevention and treatment, even people harmed by the system will uphold it, saying, ‘It’s the only ritual we have, the only thing we can do to prevent ourselves from getting cancer.’ ”

      “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’ve called it breast-cancer overawareness. It’s everywhere. There are pink garbage trucks. Women are petrified.”

    • F.L. says:

      Wow! Thanks Elizabeth for another informative comment, and for sharing this. You deserve a medal for your continuing work in advancing knowledge on this topic and for countering the myths and propaganda designed to scare and coerce women. When I search the internet on this topic, I keep finding news items and blog posts that have “Elizabeth (Australia)” as a commenter. You keep showing up with intelligent rebuttals to the stupid propaganda that is out there. Others who are following this topic likely know this already, but I was amazed by your obvious dedication and commitment. Just wanted you to know that your efforts are noticed and very much appreciated!

      • Al says:

        Elizabeth is a wonderful example of how one person can literally change the world. I can only imagine how many women she saved from fear, harm, pain, agony and depression by opening their eyes on overdiagnosis, overtreatment, medical misinformation and vested interests! Her diligence and determination have no limits for admiration!

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Thanks for your kind words, FL and Al. It makes a nice change.
        I was silenced for decades, so now I can’t stop posting and talking. For a very long time my posts were unwelcome, deleted, edited and I often got a warning from a moderator, that my post might put women off testing and cost lives. Giving women real information was viewed as a huge threat and an irresponsible thing to do.
        I was banned from a few sites. Women/doctors could post any old nonsense, yet if I posted the evidence, complete with medical journal references, I was challenged.

        I find it grossly unfair, unethical and IMO, possibly illegal for the medical profession to mislead, pressure and coerce women into “elective” testing. Informed consent is a legal and ethical requirement, or is that just for men?
        My anger and frustration became a calm resolve after my younger sister was seriously over-treated, she did not provide informed consent for the testing or the “treatment”. She was told all women must have pap tests and given no real information. Pap testing is rarely presented as a choice. Yet these same doctors have no concern about the huge number over-treated, sadly, few women take legal action after being over-treated. It’s therefore IMO, viewed as “safe” to accept the high risk of over-treatment on behalf of your patient. Catching or preventing that rare cancer is the ONLY concern. (and/or collecting your target payment)

        A cone biopsy was the result of this “simple life-saving test” that all women “should” have…my sister’s false positive pap test and colposcopy were probably caused by a new brand of tampons. (inflammation)
        Many things can produce an “abnormal” pap test – infections, (most transient and harmless) inflammation, (tampons, condoms) hormonal changes, (during and post menopause, pregnancy) trauma (childbirth) and even completely normal changes in the maturing cervix of women under 30 and normal changes in older women.

        So while the law and proper ethical standards are ignored, while non-evidence based testing persists…I’ll continue to post. I care about that huge group of women, they matter as well. It’s wonderful that so many women are now speaking out…it makes my day to find an article and see that someone has beaten me to it.

      • Alice says:

        Elizabeth, you are right. You are always right. I’ve said thins in the BlogCritics, but it would fit here too:

        While there are plenty of faux comments around the Internet about certain doctors, medications or with unrealistic stories, there are still many women who truly believe that they had a life-threatening disease and that their lives were really saved by the screening and subsequent treatments. And they do believe that they are doing the good and right thing by urging the others to “take care of themselves” and “go get checked”. Those mislead women are also sure that the people like us here, who do their own research, question medical recommendations and voice the revealing facts, are malicious and trying to detract the others from the “vital” medical surveillance and intervention. It’s too difficult for them to accept that they allowed to be deceived, voluntarily handed their body to the system, which used them for profits and statistics and harmed them for no benefit.

        They behave in the same way the majority behaved centuries ago, when some strange man started saying that the Earth is round. The majority were sure it was flat, and truly believed that the strange man was either mad, or malicious for trying to detract them from their “vital” faith. Hence the excommunications and burnings at stake.

        Fortunately, the aggressive pro-screeners can’t burn us at stake and the medical system can’t “excommunicate” us, but the comments they direct at us are pretty nasty. They are missing the main point: the medical system does benefit from deception, over-screening and over-treatment, while people like us don’t make any money on saving someone from unnecessary harm. Who is more likely to tell the truth then? If anything, we spend our free time on writing about true facts, reading through researches and presenting the evidence. We are not doing it for profits, we are saying it because it’s the truth, just like the man who was insisting that the Earth is round wasn’t profiting from that.

        The truth is hard to see and accept at times, especially if the deception is based on fear and supported by the profession that is supposed to be trusted, be knowledgeable and act in our best interests.

    • And a bit more:

      Screening “…finds many cancers that never need treating and that are, by definition, survivable. Meanwhile, some women with lethal disease may seem to live longer because their cancer was found earlier, but in truth, it’s only their awareness of themselves as ill that has been extended. “Imagine a group of 100 women who received diagnoses of breast cancer because they felt a breast lump at age 67, all of whom die at age 70,” Woloshin said. “Five-year survival for this group is 0 percent. Now imagine the same women were screened, given their diagnosis three years earlier, at age 64, but treatment doesn’t work and they still die at age 70. Five-year survival is now 100 percent, even though no one lived a second longer.””

      “It has been four decades since the former first lady Betty Ford went public with her breast-cancer diagnosis, shattering the stigma of the disease. It has been three decades since the founding of Komen. Two decades since the introduction of the pink ribbon. Yet all that well-meaning awareness has ultimately made women less conscious of the facts: obscuring the limits of screening, conflating risk with disease, compromising our decisions about health care, celebrating “cancer survivors” who may have never required treating. And ultimately, it has come at the expense of those whose lives are most at risk.”

  3. ADM (Canada) says:

    Elizabeth I heard about the link (or lack of) between cholesterol and heart disease a while ago. Dr Mercola, a medical Dr who became a natural medicine expert, has been talking about that for some time. From what I understand the original connection between cholesterol, namely LDL aka the lousy cholesterol, and heart disease was made in the 1960’s and was bad science from the beginning and follow-up studies could not reproduce that connection. Unfortunately medical science ran with the original results and has not kept up with the newer research or has dismissed it. As they do with many things. Dr Mercola has discussed a few times that our bodies need LDL because it is involved with vit D metabolism which has been shown in several studies to be a key factor in the prevention of several diseases. I refuse to have my cholesterol tested and when my Dr put it on my requisition I didn’t fast. Medical science has so to speak demonized so many things that are normal and healthy such as LDL cholesterol, red meat and saturated fat which your brain needs, the sun which has been shown to not be the source of skin cancer but a prevention because of vit D. In fact some research has shown the wearing of sunscreen is bad because it blocks the skin from the rays needed for vit D and all those moles people are having removed and being told are “precancerous” are not and are simply normal. Then of course there is the perception of the healthy female body of a disease waiting to happen.

    • ADM I have heard the same about moles being removed unnecessarily as most will never progress to cancer. Many people are terrified of the sun, and of every mole they see. It is paralyzing the amount of conflicting information. I cut my losses a long time ago and stopped going to doctors. And in my opinion my skin, breasts, uterus, cervix, ovaries and peace of mind are all intact and healthy as a result.

  4. Si says:

    I don’t get my skin checked by doctors, I do it myself and I’ve successfully removed two BCC’s over the last few years without any visible scaring. Black Salve or Cancema is not registered by the TGA though you can use it on your animals. Unfortunately no clinical trails done on it yet, though not for lack of trying to have it included. I work in alternative medicine and many practitioners use Black Salve on themselves, just not on their patients for liability reasons. Though I do know there is a handful of GP’s who quietly ‘suggest’ it to their patients.

    The problem is it works, and without any adverse reactions from what I can gather, it’s a drawing agent that works on specific cell structures such as cancer. The ingredients are easy to obtain and make at home, so there’s no real profit for Big Pharma.

    I made the mistake of telling people what I was doing the first time I used Black Salve on my face, some people were curious, though they wouldn’t do it themselves and some people were angry at me for putting my health at risk, I was lectured about the dangers of untested products. And it’s not surprising that there is misleading information about Black Salve on the Internet, Quackwatch for example, warned against a corrosive ingredient that’s not even used in the recipe. People really don’t like going against mainstream health authorities, even when accepted treatments can be completely unnecessary and disfiguring.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      I asked my dermatologist about routine skin checks and she said not to bother, I only have a few moles on my body. She’s a practical woman…she said to see her if something changes or something new appears. (that’s bothering me)
      As we age we get more bumps, sunspots etc, my mother has had a few things removed over the last ten years.
      Anyway, my doctor got major brownie points there, many/most doctors would just push the routine check.
      I think some people have been surprised at the thoroughness of these exams. Some doctors ask you to undress down to your underwear, others ask you to remove your bra as well, and some doctors (I suspect mainly American) check everything and I mean, everything.
      We had a dermatologist checking everything, inside and out (internal exams for some young women, I don’t think many of the men or older women got such “thorough” checks) and taking photos, and he’s now sitting in prison. So this seems to be another area of potential abuse, take care.

  5. alexxa says:

    These comments and article links are extremely informative and interesting. I’m glad I stumbled upon this website early on. It’s really scary how this system is working. But what’s even more interesting is seeing the conflicting statements and opinions through the web, I read another article (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2012/03/14/is-a-pap-test-necessary-every-year.aspx) also saying that over testing is discouraged and when I read the comments, I found that most of these women were angry that these doctors were “neglecting their right to get themselves test and be safe!” I was really irked because honestly, no one can prevent you from getting them annually if you really wanted to. Other comments blamed these new guidelines of obamacare and other government stuff (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2012/03/14/is-a-pap-test-necessary-every-year.aspx). In the end, their fear and anger is explained in this article, women are scared out of their wits of what may grow inside their bodies. (although I am still for getting myself tested when necessary of course). Another point I wanted to bring up, not really a point, more like an inquiry, 1. is over testing really that dangerous? its true that it causes more paranoia and there are more healthy people believing they are “cancer survivors” and 2. would women really be this defensive about overtesting if it wasn’t about their sex organs on the line? if the doctor’s morality wasn’t put into question? Maybe its because it IS about pressure for women to get tested in these areas than other more risk-prone parts that women find it so disconcerting. I was just amazed to find women complaining on both sides of the arguement claiming to be “oppressed” and “neglected” being a woman myself its hard to really see which side is true.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read the article you posted, and it is very interesting indeed. I think it’s more of a cultural thing. Women in other cultures opt out of these exams without batting an eyelash, while there are even a few countries who do not offer screening at all in women who don’t have symptoms. I think modernized culture has just taught us that screening saves lives (and it has saved some, I do not want to take away credit from those who have actually been saved through screening programs). Preventative healthcare does have its place, but there are a select group who would benefit from participating in screening, while others have no benefit. The fact that it is being marketed to everyone is where the issues of confusion lie. The truth is that it DOES help some people and it has saved some lives, but not everyone is at risk or even high risk. In fact, CC is a fairly rare cancer. I think that doctors need to provide HPV testing (which is known to lead to CC) for both women and men and set better guidelines letting women know that not everyone will benefit from screening, so they can help those who would benefit while those who won’t wouldn’t need to undergo any unnecessary invasive screenings or procedures. Furthermore, there is a non-invasive far more accurate method of screening called the CSA blood test, as well as self-screeners. If they were set on screening all women as a precaution, why not use those methods? They generate far less false positives and false negatives. While I certainly believe all women should have a choice regardless, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that if self-screening and the CSA test were provided in countries where pap screening is the norm, more women would probably be more likely to screen (using those methods) with far less issue or hesitation. A few things I’m wondering about, though, is it true that the mortality rate dropped by 70% due to screening? Are there any facts to back up that screening was in fact the cause for this? Secondly, it says, “In fact, in the United States, most women who get cervical cancer have not been screened in at least 5 years. About half of them have never been screened in their lifetime.” Can someone please confirm or deny this for me? It seems to be very evasive of actual statistics. Also, the second part creates more confusion. It sort of seems like they’re saying that half of the cases of CC show up in unscreened women. If half of the women not being screened get CC, then that means the other half are women who undergo screening so it’s not more common in either group. I suppose even if it’s saying that half who haven’t screened in the past 5 years and half who have never screened end up with CC, it’s not anymore common in either group. Which leads to more confusion. That whole article was a bit confusing, in my opinion. If someone could clarify that for me I’d appreciate it 🙂

      P.S; While I’m asking questions (I’ve asked a lot recently, I apologize for my ignorance), I once heard someone say that CC is more common in virgins because of their reluctance to participate in screening. Is this true? I’m likely to think it’s false considering the statistics I’ve read, but if someone with the facts could let me know for sure I would greatly appreciate it 🙂

      • Anonymous I like the way you have pinpointed flaws in some of the more common arguments in favor of screening, especially in relation to “half of them have never been screened in their lifetime” 🙂 Also, screening does not decrease or increase the prevalence of any disease. Screening for disease only detects the presence of disease. And given the poor specificity of the pap it does a terrible job of detection. You probably already know the information in this post: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/11/13/what-doctors-dont-want-you-to-know-about-pap-tests-and-pelvic-exams/ but if you haven’t read the comments underneath the post there is a great debate between a gyno and the women of Blogcritics, complete with links and stats. As for cervical cancer in virgins it is virtually nonexistent. If you google cervical cancer in nuns you will see the rate is zero, or close to zero. Here is what one study stated: “Another study done in 1952 of 13,000 nuns found no cases of cervical cancer”http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/cancer-questions/cervical-cancer-in-virgins? HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. HPV is a precursor to cervical cancer. Women who are virgins cannot have HPV, and so their risk is very very low. Also, cervical cancer is rare in young women. It is rare for all women, but slightly higher in older women.

      • Ro says:

        This is Anonymous again. I just changed my name over to my nickname (Ro). Originally, I had intended on only commenting once or twice, but there’s so much information out there and so much confusion that I figure I’ll end up getting into even more discussions about these issues. Anyways, for some reason, the general idea seems to be that screening does cut back on the amount of people who get CC and that screening does decrease your risk. I’m not sure how that ideology came about, but that’s an argument I’ve heard used many times against women who did not want to screen. A few months ago, the flaws in these articles about screening are what scared me but now I realize how little is actually based around actual facts or statistics and that which is, is the same for either group (the whole about half who’ve never been screened end up with CC thing). It’s getting easier to dissect the material and get to the truth behind it.

        I did not know all of the information in that post. It was very informative, so thank you for sharing all of that! I might print those articles off the next time I have to go see my GP as well as the table you posted the other day. That way I have some solid facts backing me up in my argument, as I’m sure there will be one. I’m going to start reading through some of the comments, as there’s quite a bit there. I’m sure they’re full of great information! 🙂

        I googled nuns and cervical cancer and in every study to date, it’s always been 0% who have had CC, so I think that’s a pretty good indicator. Apparently, the UK system goes by that study so that’s why virgins are not screened there. They had information about it on their site.

        Obviously, some of the articles on their site were pro-screening, but they were far more honest than the sites in the US when it comes to facts and risks. It was stated that women under 25 have high risk for false positives/negatives and unnecessary treatment and absolutely no benefit from the screening program, which is interesting because women here believe that you have to start being screened as you as you get your period. No wonder so many women are confused and frustrated. There seems to be a very different system in nearly every country.

        I am so glad to have found this blog! I had absolutely no one I could discuss any of this with. Every time I tried to talk to someone, they’d dismiss what I was saying and say that I just needed to grow up and get it over with or they’d dismiss the facts and say that CC is a lot more common than people think. It’s so nice to have a place like this where people can openly discuss the facts and their thoughts. 🙂

      • Alex says:

        I’ve got to ask: Why are people so paranoid about dying? You’re eventually going to hit that end curve of life, anyway. It doesn’t mean that it’s unimportant, but I think quality of life is more important than extending it (otherwise, you just have a long & bad life). I would think if someone values life, they’d sorry about what gets inflicted on it. I think a lot of it has to do with the idea of a “wrong answer.” Like if you were to put your decisions down as an answer to a question on a test, you’d get a failing grade. I guess women have more of a self-worth thing than men (men tend to think they look bad, a woman tends to think she IS bad), and that gets cashed-in on (literally & figuratively).

        Also: why do people still trust doctors so much? After everything they’ve done, why would they have any good reputation at all? It doesn’t have to be this subject (but the way this one goes might tell you something about them), they cause problems constantly. I’ve noticed that people seem to think that a statment HAS to be rooted in fact. Like it’s a causal relationship & one is generated by the other. As if lying isn’t possible! Maybe they feel that they’re going to reverse-engineer the situation & if they trust them, that act will MAKE whoever it is trustable? Is somebody supposed to rely on the luck of the draw & only go with what they were told earliest? Does this ring true with anybody?

  6. Ro says:

    Alex: I tried to reply, but there was no reply button. I honestly don’t know why, now that I take the time to think of it. I’m not sure what your beliefs are and I’m certainly not trying to start a debate about the meaning of life or existence or anything of the sort, but for me personally, I do believe in God. Because of that, I’ve always sort of believed along the lines that everything is set in stone. When you’re meant to be born, when you’re meant to die and nothing can get in the way of that. Sure, doctors are sometimes a part of the process of healing and I believe that God can use people and their knowledge to help others when it’s needed. I believe that when it’s your time to go, it’s your time. That’s all there is to it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to live a healthy life, but you can’t do anything to change your destiny. Regardless of my own personal beliefs in the matter, there never used to be so much paranoia about death or illnesses. When I think about my great grandparents, who I was fortunate enough to have in my life for a big part of my childhood and teenage years, they never worried about anything. In the span of time that they were a part of my life, I only knew of my great grandfather seeing a doctor for a hearing aid. Otherwise, they never went. They both lived to be nearly 100 and perhaps there’s something to be said for that. I agree about the quality of life. What good is a long life if you’re sacrificing the quality of it in the meantime? It makes me think of the movie In Time. The premise is that you pay for everything with time and that determines your life-span. At the beginning of the movie, one of the characters gave up all of his time because the world was so corrupt and he didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, but I digress.

    I think the reason why women struggle so much with self-worth is because that’s what we’re taught and exposed to from such an early age. “Make sure you’re as thin as you can be. Make sure you wax every part of your body. Make sure you have no health issues. Make sure everything looks and is flawless.” I’d like to blame the media for that, but I think for the most part, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We’re the ones who accept that message and don’t fight against it. Thankfully, some people are starting to speak out but in general, people still buy into it.

    I think the reason why so many people put trust in doctors is because of the fact that they have saved some lives. Or, have helped anyways. I think it comes down to the fact that nobody is willing to take a chance on something being wrong with them, even if that means they end up undergoing more harm than good in the end. Furthermore, I think in a lot of cases it has to do with how others perceive us. For women (and even for some men, depending on their social group) admitting to not having yearly physicals or undergoing screenings or having routine bloodwork done, etc., is considered to be childish, reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible. I’ve had friends and women older than me say those things to me and I know some men who’ve had similar situations. So it isn’t just women being affected by the way society is (although it’s probably fair to say that it’s more common for women to get flack for not following the system). Then, if someone does end up with a presumably preventable illness, they’re told they should’ve done something different which leads to guilt and encouraging other people to do differently. In some cases, that might make a difference and in others it might not. A lot of it probably has to do with not wanting face judgment and feeling like if you don’t do what you’re told, you’re only causing yourself harm. Also, I think there’s something to be said for the fact that society is so interested in living forever. There are so many books and movies and stories about immortals or people being able to live forever. I think that maybe society as a whole has just moved so far away from what’s important in life. Maybe we’ve become far more self-centered and vain and perhaps that’s where the issues lie. I don’t know. These are all thoughts.

    I wish I had a better response for your post, but I just feel like I don’t even have all of the answers myself. I remember when I was a child and I’d get sick, I’d just pray and ask God to make me feel better, stop worrying about it, and then I would end up feeling 100% better. Perhaps my faith in God and my faith in the fact that He created my body to function properly and not to fail has dissipated through the years. I’m really glad for your post, though. It’s given me a lot to think about. Not just when it comes to health issues or trusting professionals in different industries or obsession with immortality or paranoia, but my spiritual beliefs (or perhaps lack thereof as I’ve gotten older) as well. Once again, my intentions were not to start a debate about spiritual beliefs or to press my own beliefs onto anybody else. I was just explaining my thought process and how it is supported by aforementioned beliefs. I did not intend any offense in any way shape or form.

    • Alex says:

      I’m glad my post was helpful for you! Maybe this one will have similar benefits for you (it’s a long orbit, but it does actually factor into this subject in a few ways- particularly the last two paragraphs, but the rest might be useful too). I do believe in God in the overall sense (and very much in the presence of good AND evil- sometimes quality differentiation is, ironically, a lost point in religion). Fixing God’s/Nature’s flaws seems to be tied to all kinds of philosophical nonsense from the 1700s or so. Sometimes there was a religious fixation like that, too (even when it contradicts the idea in the religion, in the first place). Some of these philosphical points were made in contradiction to the church at the time, but The argument gets made against religion “what about witch burnings?” When people make points about right & wrong (not even specific religious beliefs) this is the kind of thing that comes up. I figure that would be an example of evil, not proof it doesn’t exist. Just to give a feel for how I size things up on an ethical level.

      There’s been a bunch of nonsense along those lines over the years- Descartes & Bacon seem to have spawned a lot of it. I don’t know that much about it, but it seems that they started a lot of that mechanistic philosophy. If I’m not mistaken: it was Francis Bacon that came up with the idea that everything had to be a tangible, physical substance (material-focused ). Not only does that portray people in the light of being just meat with nerves & bones, but it omits context (all “nouns” and no “verbs,” basically). Two people would be there & whatever they’re doing isn’t “certified” as real (which hinges on the concept that reality is actually formed by their recognition- inaccurate & a very severe God-complex).

      Descartes seemed to think that all drives, urges, feelings, emotions, etc… were outside influences (right there: something that someone with voices in their head might say). I don’t mean to say someone wouldn’t have a manipulated urge (scared into something, you’re bad if you don’t do this, etc…), but the overall point of being “pushed around” by your feelings is a pretty screwy one. Off the bat: it IS a desire to want to rid yourself of desire. That counterintuitive way of being is something that comes up (a woman has an issue with something, but “counters” that situation- maybe thinking it’s immature to do otherwise, in a specific situation or in general). As a side-note: it seems he didn’t think animals can feel pain (or he SAID that he thought that). Not a good sign. That tends to be the kind of thing that people that light cats on fire say to try to act innocent. Of course animals feel pain (what else would attract them about the situation?), they pretend that they don’t know they’re doing anything wrong & that’s supposed to make someone with a conscience feel like they’re attacking an innocent (and doing something bad). Sound like a familiar strategy? Maybe someone says they were only trying to help? Altruism doesn’t produce ownership, anyway- but that point doesn’t always get made. Their actions don’t consist of help (which is a point on it’s own), so it’s pretty doubtful that that was their intention, isn’t it?

      The situation of arrogance (sometimes delusional arrogance) is a recurring theme. It can apply at numerous different angles (sometimes in combination with each other), but a lot has to do with “If all this is true, then I’m better.” It’s trying to angle for superiority (and sometimes it’s merely a self-approved superiority- like someone declaring themselves the winner or giving themselves a good grade). It can be tied to the idea of “being defeated.” Some people see agreement as defeat (convincing someone of something would be “MAKING” them believe something). Some people see change of any kind that way (holding something in a different esteem than originally, deviating from a plan, adjusting course of actions). I’m pretty sure Machiavelli held ALL change to be traumatic (even the removal of a burden?). I think, maybe, just maybe, Machiavelli was a control-freak. Anyway, the cultural sources of some things can be useful to know (you can argue the baseline philosophies anyway, it just makes it easier).

      • Ro says:

        First of all, I sincerely hope that you’re involved in a field of law or philosophy because I had to read over all of that quite a few times to comprehend most of it, but it was a great post. The idea that people are only physical substance seems a bit ridiculous. We are far more than that (quite obviously i.e; we are capable of goals, dreams, opinions, beliefs, etc.).

        Furthermore, the concept of animals not being able to feel pain is ridiculous (even though that really isn’t what your post was about). Surely, had he spent time around animals he would’ve known. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on a cat’s tail, or tripped over a dog sleeping in the middle of the floor, it will become very apparent that animals can feel pain. This all does sound very familiar and certainly does tie into what everyone is talking about here. Choosing not to acknowledge someone else’s discomfort, does not mean it does not exist.

        I know a little bit about philosophy, but not near as much as you’ve shared. It was very informative and also helpful, giving insight into the way society tends to determine specific issues.

      • Alex says:

        Thank you so much! I’m glad it’s been useful to you. Actually, I’m not involved in law or philosophy- but I appreciate the compliment. This was information that I tripped over & that I deduced (I guess that would be the word for it) over the years. I figure the baseline stuff is a bit of an issue because it’s the “groundwork” for all kinds of stuff. I’ve learned a lot of tricks by having people try to use them- sometimes that’s an idea (looking at what someone’s using & thinking about why that’s supposed to work/what the mechanics are supposed to be).

        Here’s some more, if you like (don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as the other post- which WAS a bit of a mind-bender): Sometimes when you hear ridiculous arguments it’s a ploy, not a mistake. Something that just doesn’t make sense (maybe something’s said as an argument that doesn’t really tie into the situation or it’s just not accurate) tends to be a deliberate attempt to block off an argument.

        A real similar theme: If you’ve ever seen the movie Payback- the blond guy distracts Porter (Mel Gibson’s character) after the first heist by saying something that didn’t make any sense. This was in order for his mind to be occupied trying to figure out what he was talking about & not notice the woman pulling a gun on him. Sometimes people go on & on to eat up time (getting into an angry rant, winding story, millions of details, etc…)- maybe that keeps them from getting to or away from something. There’s other reasons for long stories, of course- but that’s one you even see on T.V. (someone keeps someone occupied at the door, while someone else goes around back & steals something or whatever).

  7. Kleigh says:

    I notice peopleshame woman for not screening and tell them they are selfish. They play on the role of mother and protecting fertility. Alot of doctors try to guilt woman and say that they could leave there children motherless and damage there ability to have children in the futcher. I think they know alot of docotrs play on the bond and protective nature woman have with there kids to push screening. Even tho the same could be said about a man not being around for his kids. it seems sexist.

    • Alex says:

      That does show up as a common tactic. I guess sometimes women just presume thy’re likely to get something specific to women, simply because they ARE women. It’s also acting under different assumptions than the present situation (there’s less than a 1% chance of getting that kind of cancer, which isn’t safely or accurately diagnosed by this measure, and the idea of cancer=dead isn’t necessarily true). Not something all women are familiar with. There’s plenty of other points (not including something in your life that you don’t want to add into it), but doctors lie about all kinds of things- why trust them in this, specifically? These are some things a mother might tell her children, just in case she’s not around at some point.

      A man not being around for his kids is a more certain probelm, actually (he DEFINITELY isn’t there- not to be protective of his wife or children, not to teach his son to take an interest in his family, or his daughter to have self-governance/protect herself, not to make sure they teach that to their own children, nothing). Mom wouldn’t be around if she died, but that’s true of things with a massively higher risk factor- which is not fixated on. Nobody looks at drving as a death-defying stunt. Lung, liver, and thyroid cancer are all more common. More people die of overeating than they do of cervical cancer. What about surgical complications? What about surgical results (hysterecotmies cause loss of fertility)?

      Not trying to dispute your point, just the information that gets used against people. I notice that outright malice is usually omitted as a reason for imposing situations of this nature. Apparently, a lot of serial killers are attracted to the medical professions because of a perceived control of life and death. Something to think about. It would have been nice to know all this when I was in health class- would have been a good argument to bring up (would’ve been even better for there not to be anything to bring up, though).

    • Ro says:

      Unfortunately, they do. It seems like everyone pressures women into screening. Doctors, friends, family. You just have to know what you want and where you stand and don’t give into peer pressure (which is always easier in theory). It is an incredibly sexist idea. Women are not the only parent with the ability to care for their children, men can as well. I think it’s sick, though, that women’s emotions are being played on to coerce them into something they don’t want, and in plenty of cases, don’t even need. As I mentioned in another post on here (no matter how much I’d like to think men and women are completely equal at least when it comes to the mind and thought process, there are basic biological differences), I think the reason that screening is so emotionally driven is because in general, women tend to be emotional thinkers. Meaning we feel empathy as a more instant reaction rather than a secondary one and our first reactions tend to be based off our emotions. Whereas men tend to be logical thinkers, so they think things through first. So if they were to try such scare tactics on men, from a general biological viewpoint, there’d be far less success of coercion.

      • Si says:

        There is not enough hard biological evidence to support the essentialist argument that women think more emotionally than men. However there is a lot of evidence suggesting that gender is culturally constructed. The concept that women as a group are less logical than men affect women’s opportunities in life: in the work place, educational opportunities and how we are treated as thinking individuals.
        I personally get fed up with people thinking that I can naturally multitask, or have an inbuilt ability to caretake humanity. I also get fed up with the men in charge telling me what to do with the reproductive parts of my body, because my perplexing lady brain is in need of kindly but firm guidance.
        I think these gender stereotypes are the reason women are treated with less respect than men as health consumers.

      • Ro says:

        In my comment, I did not intend to suggest that women are more emotional than men. Quite the contrary, I believe that women and men are both emotional and both logical. I was only suggesting that women tend to think with emotion first and logic second whereas with men it seems to be the reverse, from the studies I’ve heard about. However, I hope you’re right. In which case, even if the studies suggested that, because women were told to be more emotional and men were told to be more logical in their thinking by society/culture, the results would have shown up as such in the study. So you make a good point. Whether the results were more heavily influenced by culture or biology (or maybe only culturally, and not biologically) we may never know for certain unless society changes and I apologize for making it sound as though biology is indefinitely the responsible factor. I was wrong.

        I, too, get fed up with gender stereotypes. I’ve gotten into plenty of arguments about it. It’s just that in my experience, women do seem to be more emotional and men more stoic, but once again that is also influenced by culture and I was basing my statement off of what I’d witnessed. Which once again, I would like to apologize for because it was wrong. I think you’re right. Perhaps these stereotypes are in fact how we’ve found ourselves being treated with less respect. What will be difficult is figuring out how, as an entire group of people, we can gain the respect we deserve.

      • Alex says:

        You want to know why that is? Men tend to be very fixated on “who’s the better fighter?” (and anything to do with overcoming adversity, really). It’s pretty much the same concept as “What’s the best martial art?” or “What’s the best knife for the woods?” It’s seen as something of a weakspot (an “effectiveness-reducer”) to be emotional. The strategy winds up being something along the lines of being able to hunt anything that moves, but not being able to cook & eat it- starving to death for different reasons. It’s a little like a tiger with his claws snagged halfway out. Counteracting an attack would include subtle variations, as well. So would sizing people up (not getting scammed easily tends to rank pretty high on the “Male Prowess Totem Pole”). Good radar, basically.

        You might make that comparison to a tiger getting his claws stuck if talking/arguing with a man (making the complaint/constructive criticism of how guys notice everything else, but THAT slips past them). You would think that that protectiveness wouldn’t have any medical or legal exemptions (there are quite a few law enforcement situations that can run along parallel lines to this subject, even if it doesn’t go to the same extent as things go with doctors- and it very well may, convicted or not). There’s a bit that could be discussed there, both separately & in combination with each other, but I’ll sign off for now. Just thought I’d add those things in while trying to keep it short.

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      The ironic thing is that through just focusing on CC and pap smears Dr’s could be overlooking real threats to the woman’s quality of life and her life such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health issues, and other cancers such as skin or lung cancer which are more prevalent. I remember the story one poster told of going to the Dr with chest pain and the Dr wouldn’t stop focusing on a pap smear so she left possibly with a serious life threatening medical issue untreated. They use guilt to push screening for a rare cancer which the woman is likely not at risk of which could be risking her life. It just does not make sense.

      • Ro says:

        I’ve heard several people complaining about this. I think that most doctors think that by saying “okay, you either submit to screening or we refuse to give you care”, the patient will submit to screening because they are concerned about the issue at hand. However, that is an incredibly dangerous practice as there are plenty of women who will not submit. That is not legal and I’d love to see a doctor try to coerce a lawyer in that manner, particularly a lawyer who has experience in dealing with the medical field. Does anybody actually know why so much focus is placed on screening rather than the health issues people face? Aside from screenings drawing a large profit, I cannot see any logical reason for this. I don’t understand why more people haven’t asked why. I’d love to ask a doctor why they neglect actual health concerns for a screening program which only detects, is highly inaccurate, and does not cure.

      • Alex says:

        Ro, no offense meant, but you seem to be neglecting that antagonistic possiblities with this. I really don’t want to come off nasty, but sometimes malice (or pervyness, mommy-issues, various OCD/control freak behaviors, etc…) IS the reason. It seems like sometimes a bad situation as an answer is something that gets treated with denial. I don’t want to come off as disapproving of you or anything, but just like petty reasons for firing people or outright greed for business decisions, there can be all kinds of ulterior motives (which actually means “an object or aim beyond that which is avowed”- had to look up the spelling & the definition suprised me a little).

        If you look up things about allopathic vs empiric medicine you’ll find a lot of “overturning reality” themes with the allopaths. It has a real flavor of “reality is what I say it is.” There was bleeding people, giving them massive amounts of toxic substances (like mercury- which is actually one of the reasons Ivan the Terrible was so nuts, they gave him mercury for his back pain), and surgery (remember Dances with Wolves or The Patriot?). It was, basically, torturing people under a different designation (which, in itself, has a bit of a contradictive style to it- it’s not that way because of the heading & being against the person, of course). There’s also the point that it was ineffective, but approved of anyway (as if it has a different effect). Over the years, they started doing the competing business thing (disparaging statements about the empirics being “quacks,” getting all kinds of legislation, corporate funding, etc…) and things got worse & worse. They’d ignore the actual details/properties/characteristics of a situation so it would fit into their categories (dellusion that they’d call “scientific”). They’d maintain a standpoint in spite of the extant circumstance (all very contradictive).

        Did you know they basically ran the midwives out of town in the early 1900s? Medicalization of childbirth was a pretty rare before the 1950s or so. There’s something I just found (mybirthandwellness.com is the site). It has a bunch of stuff, but under Time to Act it talks a little bit about this subject.

      • Ro says:

        No offense taken.You don’t come off as disapproving either, so no worries. I only recently started doing my research on all of this, so I would consider myself to be very naive when it comes to motives behind practices in the medical field and nowhere near as educated as others on this site are on the topic. However, that being said, before considering the fact that malice could be the reason, a gain of profit did seem like the main reason, given the facts.

        I never knew any of that, about Ivan the Terrible, or allopathic vs. empiric medicine. It’s just so confusing and also troubling to think that the people who are supposed to have our best interest in mind, don’t necessarily. That’s probably why the idea of malice never necessarily crossed my mind as I was commenting. I’ll be sure to check out that site. Also, in the first part of my comment, it might seem as though I was disregarding what you said. I am not, in fact I believe everything you said is part of the reasoning behind coercion. I was just explaining my thought process and how I arrived to the conclusion that the reason must be because of a gain of profit.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        The focus on screening especially with the female reproductive organs does continue to puzzle me. The hyperbole and blatant lies surrounding it make do not make logical sense. All I can conclude is that it is the product of still underlying misogynistic attitudes within the medical profession. Dr’s do not receive correct education about screening especially with regards to paps and the rarity of CC and the rate of false positives. I really do think that medical personal think that CC is common and that paps have lowered the rates of death and that all the false positives they see are cases that would have gone on to be CC and the woman would have died. I also think that Dr’s do not know that the well woman exam is not linked to the safe use of the pill. They have been told it is and have never questioned it.

      • Alex says:

        Either they’re knowledgeable on the subject & trick people or they don’t know what they’re talking about & give people the impression that they do. Either one is a scam. Inadequate information would have to come from somewhere, anyway.

        They’re still imposing this situation on someone (which is serious, in itself). They can’t very well take strides to counteract someone without being aware of the confrontational nature of their actions. They’re figuring out how to do something in spite of the person’s actions (being coersive with birth control, being deceptive with medical information, guilt trips, definitive word usage, etc…). I guess my point is that they’re wrong either way on numerous levels. Not to say you were arguing for them or anything, don’t know how that came off.

      • Ro says:

        That is a possibility as well. I wonder if medical schools do teach about false positives and how they can be normal abnormalities and changes, not necessarily anything that could go on to lead to cancer. I’ve read a few articles in which medical students admitted to being instructed to coerce women into screening programs. I wonder if they are given real statistics and told to ignore them? I do know of one person I’ve spoken with in the medical profession who had no idea that pre-cancerous (abnormal smears) did not necessarily lead to actual CC. So I think it’s safe to say that not everyone studying is being told the truth. It would be interesting to find out just how many professors share evidence and statistics.

        Furthermore, other countries publicly release information about the inaccuracy these programs. An article was released in Germany and womenagainststirrups posted it on their site, translated to English. According to the article, there’s a correlation between more screening and more cases of CC, which is interesting. ( http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=gynmyths&action=display&thread=139&page=1 ) I wonder if the doctors here ever research the statics that other countries have uncovered?

        I agree though, the underlying attitude is definitely misogynistic. However, I think that even if the majority of the medical field wanted to change things at this point in time (as much as I’d like to believe it’s so, I don’t think it’s true as doctors would be more likely to offer alternatives first if that were the case), it might be difficult. So many women have been taught to fear their bodies and I’m sure there are a handful in the medical profession who just have malice against women, or people in general as Alex pointed out. Like with anything, they’re only human and they’re not perfect. So I have a feeling that it’s going to be very tough to try to get the medical industry to change. I apologize that my reply ended up being so lengthy, it’s just sometimes I start talking about subjects like this and I can’t stop because the lack of respect for people in the world just irritates me.

  8. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Ro,
    It changes with us, individual women standing up for their right to decline screening, or to seek alternatives, basically taking back control of our body and lives, or refusing to play their game in the first place. All of this works because many women have accepted the status quo, as more women refuse, IMO, we’ll see change.
    There is no coercion when I see my doctor, no rudeness, patronizing lectures or fear tactics. My doctor has accepted my decision to decline screening, she knows I’ve made informed decisions.

    While these programs are in place with govt-set targets, target payments, with no respect for informed consent/consent, with unethical practices like opportunistic screening and scare campaigns, and dishonesty is the norm…many doctors will consider it safer for them to push screening. Not many doctors get sued for over-treatment, many of these women think they’re survivors…so the focus is on the rare case of cancer. If a doctor follows the program and you get cancer anyway or work out you were over-screened, increasing the risk of over-treatment…the doctor can simply hide behind the program.
    I’ve found some doctors have a poor knowledge of screening…we had a female doctor post at Blogcritics, she had been over-treated, but clearly didn’t recognize that fact. So female doctors are also, found in the huge “survivor” group. Other doctors make statements that show they’re ignorant of the facts or perhaps, they’re sticking to the medical party line…things like, “you wouldn’t say that if you knew how many young women produce abnormal pap tests”…umm, I’m not surprised at all, they’re called false positives and that’s why we shouldn’t be screening young women.
    It has amazed me how the evidence has been ignored for so long in favor of the story and how few view screening as a choice for women.
    The only reason IMO, our program is finally under review…not enough women are screening and the old herding practices are not working, more women are walking away. These programs will become irrelevant, expensive dinosaurs…as more women decline testing or seek out HPV self-testing. I know a few women who’ve used the Delphi Screener, they’ll inform others…the tide is finally turning. There is a good reason critics have been run out of town with pitchforks, these programs are terrified of close scrutiny, they have too much to hide.

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      What I always come back to is how did these programs get into place. What was the mentality behind setting up screening programs and incentive payments that ignore informed consent for a rare cancer. These programs and incentive payments don’t exist for lung or skin or testicular cancer but only for the female cancers or invasive screening (in Ontario incentive payments are for breast, cervical, and colorectal). Why did the focus become on CC when it was always rare to the point it was lumped in with uterine cancer in statistics. As I said above my conclusion is misogynistic attitudes and wanting to control the female body and reproduction. I remember reading an article with a very astute point about how the focus on women being thin was a means to control women and have their focus on something other than their fighting to have power. In other words keeping them down. It could be argued that along with the obsession to be thin keeping women’s focus on their health and fighting cancer and undergoing the invasive well woman exam is another means to keep women’s minds occupied and off having power.

      • Ro says:

        I wonder as well how these programs came into place. It almost certainly seems like it did come from a misogynistic and coercive place. Certainly, most women would not agree to such an invasive exam on their own terms. Then again, it’s also a possibility that before all of the facts were known, the direct intentions behind the exam were good and meant to help women. However, some doctors abused it, not enough research was done and here we are today. I read an article not too long ago (I believe it was on Yahoo) (I googled the study and found this article: http://news.uk.msn.com/world/vinegar-cancer-test-saves-lives . It wasn’t the one I was referencing, but it still lists some of what was stated in the original article I read.) about screening in India. Apparently CC is more common there, the actual reasoning I’m not sure but regardless it is (unless those facts were inaccurate). The medical system there tried to start a screening program which is similar to those elsewhere, but they were complaining about not enough women complying because women there are “much more conservative”. Excuse me, but I’m quite sure that women everywhere find these exams to be invasive (and also painful, for quite a few). Anyways, in the above article, you can see how patronizing it was and the scare tactics were still being used. I’m assuming that within 10 years most Indian women will probably be screening using this method. Coercion and misogyny is everywhere. That, along with a padded salary, are the reasons that I believe this screening method continues to be used. I’ll admit that the screening program in India is probably nearly pain-free and possibly more accurate, but it’s still an issue of invasiveness. Especially in a country where religion is far more conservative, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It should be respected.

      • Ro says:

        So I checked and it is, in fact, more common there. However, in that case, they should be offering HPV blood testing/The Delphi screeners/CSA blood tests. In conclusion of my previous and this post though, I think this just gives some insight as to how these screening programs are started. Perhaps someone with good intentions does want to help save lives, but then they get ahold of an invasive and misogynistic screening program and that is viewed as the only way.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        I remember reading about that study and use of vinegar to screen for CC. What’s interesting though is CC is the top cancer killer of women it is not the top cause of death. According to the WHO heart disease is the number one killer of people world wide. And I would think that women living in the slums of India have greater worries than CC. Food and clean water and adequate shelter are likely of greater concern. Once again the focus seems to be off. Why not put resources into proper nutrition and clean water for good hygiene. That would also lower the rates of cancer. There is also again reference to the Pap lowering rates of death in the US and UK without any reference or statistics to back up that statement. CC is rare and always has been.

      • ADM if you look at how the stats are collected in India (and I think in Africa as well) it casts doubt on the cause of death regarding CC. Some comments on the old Blogcritics provided insight into the fact that biopsies are not done prior to “confirming” cause of death. The decisions as to how the person died is “estimated”. Given it is done by a group of male physicians I have no faith in the process, or in its accuracy. As far as I know, many people die of AIDs, infection, malnutrition – but how on earth would they know if a woman died from cervical cancer if no biopsy is done? Hospital care is virtually nonexistent, and given women don’t screen for CC and no biopsies are done . . . it doesn’t add up.

    • Alex says:

      Elizabeth, I’ve got a question about Australia: I remember hearing about them practicing exams (internal ones included) on people that came into the hospital unconscious. This was men, women, one girl was about 17 (the student in the article said he just walked away when they were pulling her pants down). They’d basically take the opportunity to do anything the person would typically object to (breast exams, probing, whatever). The study on this subject included Britain, apparently (and I did read a different article about that going on in Canada, too). Is this true/still going on?

      I remember hearing the Australians were furious about flouride being added to their water, I’d imagine that would piss people off pretty severely, too. If someone were going on vacation, I don’t think it would occur to someone to research how doctors are in that country, but the medical “culture” is a bit of a factor (I remember some posts by European women that were visiting America and they were horrified by how the doctors tried to impose things on them when they’d try & get birth control or whatever).

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Alex,
        Medical schools here use paid models/instructors, these women (and men) are paid to allow medical students to do breast, pelvic, prostate and genital exams on them. It must have been a problem here though, (and perhaps, it still happens) I know the University of Sydney provides medical students with a leaflet on consent and what to do if a doctor/teacher requires them to do something unethical, like an unauthorized pelvic exam on an unconscious patient.
        So the students are being asked to police the teachers…challenge and report them.
        Of course, what happens in practice is anyone’s guess, we know consent and informed consent are just words in women’s healthcare.

        Someone asked…
        Why the obsession with cc?
        When you screen for a rare cancer with an unreliable test you MUST screen about 80% of women to make any difference to the death rate. (you also, know most women won’t benefit and lots will get false positives and be over-treated)
        Women’s groups pushed and lobbied for a cervical screening program even though there were no randomized controlled trials and the testing did not meet the criteria for a population screening test. Lobby groups, political pressure, vested interests see an opportunity, politicians see a vote winner, high emotion…and the pap test becomes a feminist icon.
        Every woman should have access to regular pap tests was the cry….but it became very clear, very quickly, that an offer would never work, to get to 80% they’d have to strong-arm women into testing, so the offer turned into what we see today…a systematic campaign to force, mislead or scare women into testing. The UK moved to a call and recall system because insufficient numbers were screening, they were spending millions and achieving little, (and harming lots) a call and recall system gave them more control over women and got them closer to the target, add incentive payments and GPs were really motivated to get women screened.

        I agree with Archie Cochrane, the eminent epidemiologist, who warned at the very beginning, this program was based on opinion, not evidence.

        So IMO, this program could not have worked with informed consent, (and in many cases there is no consent at all) given the facts or/and a choice, insufficient numbers of women would screen and the programs would be an expensive and harmful exercise….using coercion and unethical measures they could claim to save a few lives. (and could cover up or dismiss the horrible harm and distress these programs have caused to the female population)

        So this is why everyone is obsessed with cc….after decades of misinformation, scare campaigns, unethical tactics, coercion, with huge numbers of “survivors” and a program that MUST get about 80% screened every 3 or 5 years to justify it’s existence….now add the billions made by vested interests who do the screening and treating.
        Over the decades I’ve watched the screening authorities…everything is carefully planned, from the way they speak down to women, to their campaigns, the mind games, devising screening traps, the misinformation….and the censorship.

        We were supposed to accept pap tests without question, like brushing our teeth, just part of being a responsible woman. Real information was never provided because they knew the program couldn’t work with informed consent and they couldn’t really give women a choice, that’s why we always hear “should” or “must” screen…it’s also, easier to manipulate ignorant people. Women also, found it hard to fight back, the doctor had all the answers…all of that falls apart with informed women. It’s a shame more women didn’t take legal action after being over-treated, things might have changed faster….but keeping women ignorant protected the program, most women never worked out they were over-screened, screened inappropriately or over-treated…they either considered themselves survivors or thought they were lucky not to have cancer.
        That’s why these websites are so dangerous to these programs, they only worked
        because they were beyond scrutiny….they had the power and resources, these sites
        help to finally correct the imbalance.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        We should also, remember these programs started when the profession was very paternalistic, dominated by men, with few female voices/doctors.
        Doctors were viewed as Gods and their conduct was protected by Medical Boards. Women had little power and were vulnerable…complaints were usually disregarded or dismissed. The medical profession had no problem ignoring informed consent and even consent itself when it came to women. They had the power and the protection to do as they pleased…this is what happens when a group has unchecked power….medical abuse.
        I’d hoped female doctors would make a difference…but they were trained well…and sadly, many have adopted the same paternalistic and unethical attitudes and practices.

    • Ro says:

      That’s very true. Change always starts with one person, and thankfully there are plenty of people out there who are against coerced screening. The only issue is that their voices are never given a public platform, so people only find the truth when they take the time to search for it themselves.

      You have a wonderful doctor and I can only hope that I’m lucky enough to find one someday who will respect my informed decisions.

      I read one comment online somewhere saying that doctors often send their patients elsewhere if they decline CC screening because it’s a liability issue. If that patient were to end up with CC, then the doctor would be held responsible. That makes no sense to me. Doctors are not in control of what happens to anyone’s body at any given point. It’s not a liability issue if someone gets another form of cancer that hasn’t been screened for, it’s not a liability issue if someone gets high blood pressure after having a normal/good bp reading…so what’s the difference? It’s always treated as a requirement and not an option, when that’s what it should be. An option.

      I’m glad that your program is finally under review. At least things seem to be moving in the right direction. Here in the US, they recently changed the age from 18 to 21 and from every year to every 3 years. Based off of the facts, that’s still too young (and quite possibly too often) to be screening but at least it’s some progress. It means that someone somewhere was questioning the guidelines for this screening, and we can only hope with the right motives. I cannot wait until the day that these programs are old news, with all of the facts and statistics being published in a public setting, and women being offered more accurate and far less invasive alternatives, if they so wish.

      • Alex says:

        Something I’ve been thinking about: When there’s the prospect of liver cancer, nobody gets this fixated on it. “Well, you’ve got to die of something,” doesn’t seem to be the thought-process with this particluar subject. I noticed in the article about India that the phrasing made it sound like it was a causal relationship (living in the slums & getting cervical cancer- like the idea of getting sick from eating off the dirty floor). I guess it’s a status-symbol, too? I’ve got to wonder something else: Why don’t women get hostile toward people that act this way? It seems that especially with other women, they don’t want to “attack” them (yet women would, at least duck, if someone tried to punch them in the head). I don’t get why women don’t argue (perhaps insultingly) with their mothers (and teachers, and relatives, and whoever else) about this subject. It’s similar to the tactics they used with her, only she’s right for doing it.

        It’s pretty crass, but if a girl said to her mother when she was trying to push her into this situation: “Hey, Ma- You want to do the honors yourself?” I know that’s VERY vulgar, but perhaps it would be shocking enough to get her attention (and it IS accurate, as she is getting this to be the situation- their can be a bunch of people involved, but she’s definitely on the list). It occurs to me that this is similar to the situation of arranged/forced marriage (except in that case, it was the father as the source of things). I’m willing to bet all the details of the situation would be strikingly clear if it were the father backing his daughter into things of this nature.

        Maybe a part of why men don’t run into these problems as frequently is because they act like this. They’re very okay with the enemy’s pain & the “vampire bunny” thing doesn’t tend matter to them. “Crocodile tears” shouldn’t pull on your heart strings. Ascribed guilt is a little like ascribed debt (someone says you owe them $50, but you don’t- you never borrowed or cost them anything). I guess you’d call it “hollow blame?”

      • Ro says:

        I’m still questioning the focus on CC. I don’t understand it either, considering the facts. I think it’s a cultural thing and I also think it’s because most people believe that CC is 100% preventable with screening. That’s what is being sold to everyone. No other screening program advertises in that way, not screening for colon cancer or breast cancer. If you look at most campaigns for this particular screening, it’s being said that CC is either A) completely preventable or B) completely curable when caught by pap smears. Perhaps it is a status symbol. I’ve even heard some women talk about it as though having your first screening is what makes you a real woman, and prior to that you’re only a little girl. It’s viewed as a symbol of maturity and perhaps class as well? I think it’s because women don’t want to face the repercussions. As soon as a woman starts to get hostile, she is reprimanded and told to grow up and deal with it. I’ve heard so many horror stories about women forcing their daughters into this. Thankfully, my own mother has never pressured me into screening and is very casual about it, only viewing it as an option. Many women in her family have never gone for screening and that’s what she grew up around, so I’ve never really had that sort of maternal pressure. However I do know that when my mother tells me that I should do something or that it’s necessary, I’m likely to believe her or go along with it. It’s that maternal connection and general trust between mother and child I think that, even if the child is questioning this program, that makes it difficult for so many women and girls to argue with their mothers over the subject. I have had pressure from others though, and it can be incredibly tough to argue your point when someone is practically in hysterics about you being at risk and possibly dying from a “100% preventable” disease. I do believe that sometimes it is preventable and also curable, but if it were 100% then that means there’s a cure and nobody would even have to think twice about it any more. Which brings us back to your original inquiry, people are so fixated on this and there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason as to why. Although part of it could be the large number of over-treated women thinking that they were cured as well as the small percentage of women who actually were, leading it to seem as though millions of women are saved by screening.

        I think that more women do need to get a bit hostile and definitely more blunt and more defensive/offensive (whichever is necessary according to situation). There was a quote earlier I read in regards to bodily autonomy, and it was speaking of how bodily autonomy is a natural human right and every human has the right to control what others do to their body and how to present their body, etc. My first thought was “too bad that doesn’t apply to women”. I’m sure others thought the same, just goes to show how messed up society is.

        I think you’re very right about men not allowing themselves to be pushed around so easily by the system. Culture has taught them to always defend themselves and to control what happens to them. Women have always been told what to do and to do as they’re told, and I think that’s where the difference lies.

      • Alex says:

        I think we read the same thing (the bodily autonomy thing was on this site?). I definitely remember Jola saying a few things (I think it was in the Boycotting thread). I remember her references to situations in Eastern Europe (Romania, Poland, and Lithuania) and I was massively shocked. I would’ve figured after all the things that have happened in that part of the world, that redesignating antagonistic circumstances (“painting over bullsh#!”) wouldn’t be favored. For instance: In Ukraine there was a huge famine (government implemented as genocide)- someone didn’t starve to death any less because of what it was labeled or how legal it was.

        It seems designation is a huge point. People say: “It’s not like that” with doctors. Not like what? Reality? The situation is what it consists of. I don’t know how many times I’ve said: “If a doctor poisoned someone with a needle, it’s still murder.” Someone brings up an issue, someone else says: “But, that’s a doctor.” So what? Acting like something’s not an issue because it’s done by someone of the same gender is the same theme. If a woman ran another woman over with her car, it’d still be murder & it wouldn’t make any difference if it turned her on (some “people” get aroused by causing people problems). There’s nothing to say the woman isn’t a lesbian or bi, anyway (whatever that situation, it doesn’t matter- maybe it just adds an against orientation aspect).

        A lot of women thinking they were cured probably plays a big role. A response to a problem that wasn’t there isn’t really being cured of anything, though. I guess that open-ended, “you never know one way or the other” type of thing adds to stuff. People acting like you’re wishing dead all those people that were, supposedly, saved is another point. The point that they could have still had this situation detected by other methods never enters into the conversation. Apparently, there’s some kind of CSA blood test that works 90-something percent of the time. Nobody ever mentions that.

  9. Jola says:

    Hi Alex
    The problem is that the idiots who want to impose such horrible examinations on women in the name of care and cure (under the cover of huge amounts of money) manipulate large numbers of women who believe them and believe in ”positive aspects” of such humiliating exams. The women I mention do not read too much on the subject, especially they do not read the latest news about it and so on (and believe me they are not only not educated women).

    Of course, the medical idiots lost (in 2009) as women in Poland wrote their own opinions full of annoyance and criticism about the stupid plans. One woman – Agnieszka Jagodzinska wrote a very wise petition (in Polish) to the silly government – precisely to the former minister of health (a blockhead – a woman herself who wanted to ”help” other women for money – just money). Many of us wrote anywhere possible – even to the heads of the EU, men and women wrote comments about those medical idiots, especially about the former minister of health (and about the disgusting gynaecological lobby) using really bad language – people were so frustrated. The government was ”beaten on the head” by the protesters. Thanks to the info we sent abroad, a journalist Mair Masuda wrote a great article about the horrible plans, titled: ”Poland’s government should hang their heads with shame” where she severely criticsied not only the abominable idea of the examination itself but also the so wrote a lot about the ”father of gynaecology – Simms – the American guy whose monument should be pulled down – it is my view. Anyway, the government had no choice but stop and forget. The most horrible thing in all that was that so many women – especially young ones were against our protests – we were called names for our activity (the word ”bitches” used against us was the mildest one). That was something I could not, we could not, believe but it was real. They did not understand that such an examination as a law was against the Polish Constitution. The idea of intimacy, of intimate inviolability did not and does not (I think) exist for many women. In fact, according to the law in Poland, people have the right to be treated with respect for their intimacy and are not to be, under any circumstances, forced to undergo any medical practices, any medical examinations without their consent. But, millions of people do not know their rights, their basic human rights. They do not know that tey can decline or refuse any medical treatment, they do not know that when the doctor asks them to undress (when a given exam does not involve this part of the body), they have the right to say just ”NO” in a firm way, they do not know that they can tell the doctor off, they do not know that they can refuse on the basis of their religion or faith / their life philosophy, they do not know that they can sue such a pervert. Unawareness, a total unawareness of their basic rights. The last thing I want to add is that Polish people were the first to protest againt the ACTA as it was oing to encroach on the freedom of the Internet and so on… – great numbers of people protested in lots of Polish cities and towns – fantastic, but why didn’t they protest so much (why didn’t women protest, in particular) when the humilating, sexist idea was proposed?! It is frustrating – at least to me.

    We MUST protest, we MUST say: ”NO” – but this “NO” MUST be very firm.

    Cheers

    • Alex says:

      Very, very cool, Jola! I was invigorated hearing that (partially because I’m looking to mve to Europe soon, so it’s good to hear other places are like that). I didn’t know how all that went (I’m sorry if it came off like the Polish didn’t have any spirit or anything). I would like to know more (if you have the time). Did a lot of men think it was a bad thing? I would think if someone were to snatch up their wife, kid, girlfriend, relative, whoever for some aggressive role-playing, that would definitely be a problem (a less ostentatious version should be the same thing, yes?). It was a lot of younger women that were against your protests? That’s very suprising (it’d have thought it would have been the other way around- I’ve noticed a lot of older people are very trusting & deferential with doctors). What did they say? If they have a problem with someone having their own bodily autonomy, then maybe they’re the bitches? I’d imagine throwing that point in their face might shut them up pretty fast.

      I know the education is a big part of it (and how they’re raised, in the broad sense), but I wonder if it’s also a “holding sway” type of thing. Like they think these older women were all kinds of down-trodden & just did what they were told (which doesn’t make any sense, since that’s exactly what this situation is). This is them not having someone “restrict” them. It’s just the general “vibe” I got. It doesn’t make sense, but I guess they think that the idea was to not let someone else touch their husband’s “holdings”- instead of being self-governed in their selectivity.

      It makes sense to them that it’s an attack for the husband to punch her in the face (it doesn’t matter that it’s from her husband, that’s what the situation is). They understand that him dragging her up the stairs is also an attack (and a different type, due to what the situation consists of). For whatever reason, the more subtle approaches don’t register the same way. Maybe after a few false positives & miscarriages they’d think more poorly of it. Possibly after a hysterecomy for nothing? Maybe someone starts taking things in a painful direction & doesn’t stop when they tell them to? Maybe a more “datelike” direction in the middle of things?

      • Jola says:

        Alex, as for men – many of them were very indifferent to the issue and they didn’t butt in it. There were men, however, who opposed the stupid idea – but it was just a handful of them. As for women – they were, I would guess, between 20 and 35, 40, but most of them about 25. Older women are more restrained, modest, reserved. Many young women, girls in Poland believe that they have to visit a doctor (gynaecologist) to have a contraception pill prescribed. Just a handful of them buy contraceptives on the Internet. Great numbers of women in Poland believe that pregnancy must be looked after by a gynaecologist, not by a midwife (who is many a time much better at caring about pregnancy and understanding than a doctor). Older women, at the age of 50, 60 think in different ways. They don’t go to gynaecologists to ”see if they are healthy down there”. Huge numbers of Polish women are convinced that pap crap is necessary and they don’t know what false positives or false negatives are – these things are obliterated before them and they are unaware of negative consequences of the pap crap. I have the impression that it is young women who are deferential. You (if you knew the Polish language) and I could try to talk young women out of their ”gynaecological” way of thinking for 24 by 24 hours but they would still say that we are idiots. Fortunately, there are also such women as we and they have a lot to do to change other women’s attitudes.

      • Jola says:

        Yes, Alex, plenty of young women were against our protests and called us very vulgarly on the Internet – not older ones.

      • Alex says:

        I’m not familiar with the Polish language (actully, America doesn’t tend to teach much in that regard- I took about five years of Spanish & still can’t hold a conversation in it). It doesn’t make sense just to believe things in a “luck of the draw” kind of way. The thing someone heard earliest may not be true. Why gamble? Looking at the situation, there’s plenty of things to be suspicious of.

        I figure I should tell you (and I haven’t been hiding it, but it hadn’t come up & I didn’t want to look like I was trying to show off for credit- but I don’t want to leave you with false impressions, either) I am, actually, a man. To answer some questions in advance: I had a few friends with bad lives (and not everything that happened was officially considered an issue, but it still caused problems like one). In one case it was, actually, the woman I loved . That’s a very rough story, but suffice to say that it got me to reassess a lot of things. I picked up a lot of things in direct conversation, but also in posts like these. It wasn’t always about doctors, but there was a running theme expressed. Nobody had told them anything like this & I always wished someone had.

        I always tended toward insight instead of collateral damage, anyway (for instance: I would try to learn combative things before a problem happened that I would be getting these skills to prevent in the first place). It doesn’t strike me that you should try to have a problem to justify not having a second one (and if someone considers it wrong to do so because there’s no “cool story” behind it, they’re just trying to drag you down- like someone that holds your arms so some else can hit you). This is a point with supporting someone else or on your own (whatever the specific subject). I figure any variation (iatrogenically or otherwise) of someone trying to attack your wife & kids (or whoever) is something to be treated with “disfavor.”

        I worry very much about the environment my family would be in. That’s a large part of why I want to move to Europe (it seems there’s more self-determination & quality information there). When one of my cousins was little, she fell & cut her face at the store. When she went to the hospital for stitches, they made her take all her clothes off (they said they wanted to check for other bruises that she might have gotten from being hit at home). I don’t want that to happen if one of my kids get hurt. Any time something goes missing in school or there’s a rumor that someone has something on them, they start getting strange with kids. The TSA does all kinds of stuff, too (I don’t know what you’ve heard about the airport in America- but traveling by bus or train isn’t necessarily safe, either). I’d love to meet a woman that would teach our daughter to have self-determination, to value her alignment on a situation (not to think being counterintuitive is a mature or womanly trait), and basically to be accurate (teaching her that a situation is what it consists of). I don’t know how common that is in America (maybe it is, but they bottle it up?).

        I’ve very much liked being able to share the information I’ve accumulated over the years. I hope it doesn’t come off like I was trying to keep my gender a secret, I was thinking of mentioning it when you complimented that married guy (the one that posted in the Boycotting thread, I think)- but I figured it would come off like I was just telling women things they’d approve of in the hopes that they’d applaud me. I figure since you presumed I was a woman, it’d be lying by omission to not tell you that I’m a man. I’ll answer any questions anybody has if I didn’t already, but I figure that explains the background of why it’s a topic that hits such a nerve with me (on top of it being a horrendous thing, anyway).

  10. Kleigh says:

    There is a medical student on Aganst gyn exams. She talked about being taught to demand pap smear dates from woman and not being taught not to demand mens screening dates. it was very telling. When she challenged the obgyn dean on why he was telling students to refuse woman the pill untill they have a pap smear. He got angry and yelled at her.

    • Ro says:

      That should be a “red flag”, if you will, to people right there. If someone responds with anger rather than a logical explanation, then it’s fairly apparent that they’re A) hiding something, B) trying to hide something, or C) defensive to protect their own personal interests in the matter. In response to your next comment, I hate the way women are questioned as well. I feel like it’s very demeaning and just an all-around bad experience for many women. I haven’t been overly-questioned or coerced myself yet (but I have seen it with others and read stories on here, all of which are terrible and should never have happened) as I wasn’t yet 21 the last time I saw a doctor, and I will have to switch over from my previous doctor whenever I need to go in next. I know it is very likely that I will then be questioned and coercion will begin to take place. As for my previous doctor, I was fortunate enough to have one doctor who was very relaxed about everything. I had mentioned at my first visit with her that I did not want any intimate exams, and she respected it. It wasn’t questioned any further. She gave me birth control for my acne without requiring anything more than checking my blood pressure, saying that nothing else was necessary as long as I had no chance of being pregnant. I stopped needing it when I found a topical product that worked, thankfully, so I haven’t had to face THAT issue yet. At the time, I was unaware that the norm was that doctors “required” paps, pelvic, and breast exams for BC. Long story short, she ended up getting fired within the first year of working at the practice. After reading all of this info, I wonder if she was fired for providing informed consent or respecting peoples’ choices. I think it’s likely that she was someone who was either self-informed or taught about the actual statistics, risks, and facts and took heed to them. Perhaps she wasn’t coercive enough and was costing the practice money? It’s a shame because I don’t know if I’ll ever be fortunate enough to find another doctor like her again.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Interesting comment by your ex-doctor, actually the only clinical requirement for the Pill is your medical history and a blood pressure test. Pap tests have nothing to do with the Pill, it would be like making a colonoscopy a requirement for the Pill or a testicular exam to get condoms.
        It’s all about forcing and misleading women into testing…and reaching that target. (and collecting a target payment or performance payment)
        It’s disgusting, I certainly would not be prepared to accept much risk at all with a screening test for a rare cancer….every woman has the right to make up her own mind about screening.

      • Ro says:

        Well, when my previous mentioned that my doctor said that’s all I would need unless there was a chance of pregnancy, she was referring to a pregnancy test done either through blood or urine sample. The only reason that is required is because if you are already pregnant, then taking birth control could cause issues and severe complications. I would’ve had no problem with that, had it been necessary. I agree though, it is all about forcing women into testing. When my mother found out that the doctor had given me birth control without requiring an exam, she was very hesitant about it and said that it could mask issues of the female organs and that’s why pelvic exams should be done for women on the pill. As I stated in a previous comment, my mother has always been very relaxed and never tried to force me into an exam so she didn’t pressure me either way, only stating her views. However that’s what women are told when they want to obtain the pill and ask why a pelvic exam/pap smear is necessary. I’ve seen several comments on here and a few other sites saying that pelvic exams are not recommended for diagnosis in asymptomatic women and that even for symptomatic women, ultrasounds or CT scans are far more accurate and telling. Which leads back to your point about doctors wanting to reach their target and make their money. If it truly was about the health of women, then the most effective, accurate, and least invasive methods would be in use.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Oh, I see, she sounds like a decent doctor, might be worth hunting her down…if a google search doesn’t locate her, you might be able to search the records of the relevant medical association. Great your Mum doesn’t pressure you, on some forums American women (mainly) talk about taking their daughter to the doctor for her first gyn exam…when you brainwash women, it’s often these women who get the next generation on board for these exams. It’s hard to change the thinking and habits of generations of women.
        I couldn’t agree more with your last statement, there are far better ways to protect women, here we maximize risk and medical profits. It means some women die who might have been saved (from HPV primary testing or HPV self-testing) and huge numbers end up worse off.

      • Kleigh says:

        When I was 24 a nurse got mad and talked down to me when she found out that I had never had a pap smear at the age of 24. “when was your last pap smear” she asked. never I said. You should have seen the look on her face . it was like she was in shock. I have a hard time beliving that she had never incounterd a woman that didnt have paps. She told me that ” it was not good. That are womans bodies are so complex so many things could happen because we have menstural cycles was her explantion when i questioned her. I now know she knew absolutly nothing about paps just that all woman 21 or over had to have them.

      • Ro says:

        That’s terrible! I’m so sorry that you were talked down to like that. This is a bit vulgar, but you should have said something along the lines of “well men use the same body part for urinating (I originally typed another word, but remembered that another comment had been edited for swearing and I want to respect the context of this site, but you can figure out what it was) and reproductive purposes, so that is complex as well but you don’t see them being examined regularly”. I actually hadn’t thought of saying that until I read your comment, so I may use that in the future. The mentality of the entire establishment bothers me. NO MEANS NO. If it were any other situation, the party trying to coerce the second party could and likely would be sued/fined/threatened with some form of punishment or repercussions for (sexual) harassment. So why should it be any different for this? The answer: it shouldn’t be.

    • Archie B says:

      Kleigh,
      I know this is an old post, but can you provide a link to the post you referenced about the medical student on Aganst gyn exams who talked about being taught to demand pap smears?

      • Alex says:

        Demand? I’d think teaching that is inciting violence- given that unconventional attack IS still an attack. Might work out legally if they got killed for it. “Well, they were trying to get people to impose penetrative actions on people in such a way as to promote a reproductive risk.”

      • kleigh us says:

        It was on a private Facebook group I was in. It is no longer open.

  11. Kleigh says:

    i hate the way pap smears are demanded of woman and that pap date question allways got my blood boilling.

  12. Ro says:

    Alex:

    The quote I read was on a site that was talking about some current affairs involving a Texas state representative, but it was a fairly popular quote that the representative quoted so it may have been the same thing. Either way, I’m assuming it’s the same message.

    That’s always been a major point for me. I don’t understand why people treat doctors as though they aren’t humans. While I do believe some are knowledgeable, and honest, and want to help save lives, and do their best to control their thoughts about any sort of invasive procedures/exams, and love their job and being able to help others, I don’t necessarily believe that is the case for all. Furthermore, even those with good intentions are only human at the end of the day. They have normal human desires and faults and they can’t turn them off any more easily than anyone else in another field can. I’ve read comments on other sites where women say “They’re doctors, they see/do this sort of thing all of the time. You need to stop making a big deal out of it and thinking of it in a perverted way.” I love your quote: “It’s not like that with doctors. Not like what? Reality? The situation is what it consists of.” I may use that in future arguments.

    There is a CSA test which is in the 90 percentile (or upwards) accuracy range and as soon as I heard of it, I questioned everything as well. There are definitely more accurate and less invasive methods, but everyone assumes this is the only way. In my comment about the program being started in India where I was explaining my thoughts as to how these programs get started and why they keep functioning, I said something along the lines of the medical industry wanting to keep the most invasive, misogynistic and profitable methods. In my opinion, after reading over comments from people on this site and doing research on other sites like women against stirrups, that’s really what it comes down to. Power, money, and as you said before, in some cases, malice.

  13. Ro says:

    Back to the subject of pelvic exams, I just got done having an argument with a friend in the medical field about them. My friend said that the doctor she works with has told everyone working there that he has detected tumors on ovaries through pelvic exams in asymptomatic women many times. My friend then told me that since I’m low risk for CC (she knows the statistics and risks for the screening itself) I could turn down the smear, but I should still consider the pelvic exams because they might be able to catch problems they otherwise couldn’t through feeling my ovaries (sounds lovely, doesn’t it?). I had to stop arguing with her, because she seemed very upset but if anyone could let me know if pelvic exams can in fact specifically detect ovarian tumors that are/would lead to being cancerous? Is there anything wrong with a benign tumor or must it be removed in all cases? How common are ovarian tumors? Are they really very common? If you could answer these questions, I’d appreciate it. I know exams aren’t recommended in asymptomatic women and that they don’t detect the ovarian cancer itself, but I just want to know if there is any truth to what my friend told me about detection. Thanks.

    • Alex says:

      Various EXTERNAL scans (there was a post somewhere on this site about them ambushing women with internal ones) seem like they’d work. Abdominal MRI’s and CT scans are actually the standard of care if someone has internal bleeding, spinal damage, broken bones, etc… (remember that guy in New York that they forced a rectal exam on? They said that’s a means of checking for spinal injuries- but he had walked in there for a cut on his head, so no reason to presume any spinal injury or the ability to diagnose one that way- you hear that a lot with car crashes & falls, just so you know), so it stands to reason that it would work for that. Just like ordering food cooked a particular way or with dressing on the side- you should be able to customize your treatment (sometimes they act like you’re being a pain in the ass or that it’s some kind of extravagant luxury to have non-antagonistic & functional treatment- like it’s not important enough to “warrant” such things.). I remember hearing about self-testing with sort of thing (for what it actually IS useful for, anyway). You’d have no reason to sabotage yourself, but a doctor (well…).

      It becomes a tactic of “related themes.” It’s [whatever subject]-ish. Just like if hormone problems cause chronic headaches/migraines- the dots start getting connected to “PMS/hormonal behavior” areas. A similar theme occurs with anatomy. It’s a pretty faulty belief that any problem a woman has is related to a woman-specific area (or that she’ll likely get something that only women can get). I’ll admit I know more about the psychology than the biology. The psychology of the people in the legal situation can be a point that’s also overlooked (the case with that guy in New York got thrown out, for instance). Sometimes they don’t want to believe that they got scammed & figure if they declare someone a liar, that provides for that situation. Of course, that hinges on the belief that coming to a conclusion actually forms the situation a particular way.

      I remember an Austalian guy made a joke way back (it was on the subject of if they try to add in a pelvic exam as a requistite with a college physical- which is something, in itself, he’d never heard of): Well, that’s America for you: “Oh, what are you studying? English? Well, okay- just jump up on the table here, I just want to check your ovaries.” I guess maybe America has a reputation like that (they definitely have one as a control-freak & a bully). Makes me worry what I’ll look like if (hopefully, when) I move to Europe.

      • Ro says:

        I believe you should be able to customize your medical treatment as well, however there are many doctors who will not agree to that. They will demand that you do things their way and in urgent situations, you’re not likely to sit there arguing over how to solve the issue or how to make sure the issue is what one perceives it to be. I am curious though, for men who have any sort of pelvic or abdominal pain/issues, how do they diagnose? I’m assuming through some sort of ultrasound or perhaps even blood samples. In regards to women who are symptomatic, if they can do that for men, then the same should indefinitely be offered to women.

        That certainly is a faulty belief that all health issues involving women are related their reproductive organs, but that seems to have been the belief for a fairly long time now.

        The sad thing about that joke is that it’s actually true. Most girls are told that a pelvic exam is necessary prior to entering college in the US. Obviously, you can opt out if you are aware that you can make that decision, but most women are not made aware or don’t research the subject so they just go along with what they’ve been told. Worded like that, you can see how ridiculous it is that this exam ever be a prerequisite for anything or ever more than option for those who want it.

        In general, I think that people who move from the US to other countries do have that reputation. I’ve been fortunate enough to talk with people from other countries, and they all seem to feel that most Americans deem themselves superior (there’s a prime example of such in my reply to Elizabeth). In general, we look pretty ignorant and vain to other countries. However, that’s not to say that you will be perceived that way as an individual.

  14. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Ro, I think US and Canadian doctors are frantic and clutching at straws, with fewer women having annual pap tests, the annual routine pelvic and breast exam still gets women through the door and secures their income.
    The fact is the routine pelvic exam is NOT a screening test for ovarian cancer, study after study shows it’s useless, BUT it leads to false positive exams and that can mean invasive investigations, and even unnecessary surgery. Dr Carolyn Westhoff has written a few articles on the futility of the routine pelvic exam and the risk it poses to healthy women.
    She believes it’s partly why American women have more than twice the number of hysterectomies and many more healthy ovaries removed than UK and Australian women. (where this exam is not recommended)
    This doctor is either protecting his business or he “thinks” he’s catching something….ovarian cysts are fairly common and only require attention if they produce troublesome symptoms. Hunting for them is a very bad idea.

    If this doctor is right, why do doctors and medical associations in the UK, Australia, much of Europe, Scandinavia and NZ disagree with him? If you google the subject, you’ll find more Canadian and American doctors and their medical groups are also, questioning the value of this exam. Even ACOG admit there is no evidence supporting this exam.
    For all of this examining…do US women have less ovarian cancer? No

    I’m 55 and have never had a routine pelvic exam in my life, and never will…I think more pressure will be placed on US and other doctors to stop doing this unhelpful exam that simply risks your health. Steps are already being taken to educate both doctors and women on this subject. One US doctor put it well, we should stop pretending we’re saving women lives by over-treating benign conditions.
    So I’d strongly disagree with your friend…this exam has been sold so aggressively and dishonestly to US and Canadian women for decades that it’s now a belief for some women, they just “believe” the exam must be necessary and helpful…but the evidence shows very clearly that’s not the case.
    I’ll post a few links for you. You might not be able to help your friend, some women are unreachable, but you can do your reading and base your decision on the evidence…a much safer approach than acting on myth, fear etc.
    I cannot imagine how some women must feel when they hear these exams are unhelpful and risk their health, climbing into the stirrups year after year would not be easy…it must cause confusion, disbelief and anger.

      • Ro says:

        Thank you for all of the information! Unfortunately, during the argument, I brought up the point that I’d heard other countries such as the UK and Australia don’t even perform routine pelvic exams and my friend said that’s because they aren’t as medically advanced as the US, which didn’t make much sense to me. Certainly, both countries are developed and are capable of providing good health care. Also, wouldn’t being medically advanced imply new technology or better resources than other countries? It does not imply more or less screening. It makes me wonder what exactly everyone who goes into the medical profession is being told. That other developed countries have less than adequate health care? That they’re incapable of taking care of their citizens? If I remember correctly, the UK, England specifically, hosts one of the top-rated hospitals in the world. I just don’t understand why the US medical system thinks it’s so far superior to everywhere else. Maybe there is more government funding for resources (I’m unsure of how all of that works), but it doesn’t mean they’re any further advanced or use better methods. Anyways, those links were beneficial to me so thank you for sharing! It’s interesting to know that like the pap test, the pelvic exams can also lead to over-treatment and misdiagnosis.

        I think that perhaps that’s part of the reason why so many women get defensive about these exams. I do believe that in part it’s because they believe that everyone treated had a life-threatening condition, but I also believe that it’s because when they realize that perhaps all of the years of screening and painful/invasive exams were unnecessary, it’s difficult to deal with so it’s just easier to agree with the system than to face the truth. I know that if i had undergone many exams and screenings of such nature, I’d have to justify them somehow. I don’t think I’d be able to psychologically deal with the fact that most were probably unnecessary and perhaps even harmful. Even as someone who has never had this exam myself, I still get upset and angry about the fact that there are so many lies and so much being covered up. My freshman year of high school, we learned about these exams in health class. Nobody ever mentioned the risks. They just said that we’d have to start having them every year once we turned 18, regardless of sexual activity or if we were asymptomatic. That’s misinformation and it should be illegal. (1. You don’t HAVE to have these exams. 2. There’s hasn’t been shown much benefit before the age of 30, and none before 25. 3. In studies done involving nuns, 0% of them had abnormalities. 4. The risks were not explained, some which can end up being incredibly harmful, even more so when unnecessary) Especially when talking to a group of impressionable already vulnerable and unsure teenagers.

  15. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    It sounds like grooming to me, so high school students accept these exams will be part of their healthcare, get them young. I know some American doctors believe early exams get women “used” to them…make the exams easier to accept, they become a habit. I also, hate the expression “must” have these exams, I think it’s a psychological tactic, if we hear over and over that women must have pelvic exams, some will just accept that fact or worry, feel guilty or afraid that they’re not having them…some of these women will eventually agree to have the exams.
    It’s amazing, but some women will say things like, “I didn’t know I could refuse these exams”.
    Of course, many women are also, coerced into the exams, year after year.

    I think some Americans consider their healthcare more thorough, so therefore, better, when in fact, excess and non-evidence based screening is not a good idea. Risk for no benefit. Profits are a big factor in the States, the well-woman exam makes billions for the profession.
    It’s interesting when the annual physical exam was introduced in the States, the UK did a study over ten years and found these exams did not reduce mortality, but they led to lots of unnecessary and potentially harmful investigations. So the UK did not introduce the exams, at this stage they were already established in the States. (with the profession enjoying the profits)

    • Ro says:

      Yes, it starts even younger for some girls here. I’m not sure where the idea came about, but there’s this idea that as soon as you get your first period, you must start being examined. Quite a few women around my age and younger girls believe that. I have no idea how the two go together, but obviously someone somewhere said it and now many women in the US refuse to go against that ideology. That may be why a lot of women force their daughters into going at a young age. More than anything, I’m likely to think that it’s for the reason of getting women to accept these exams as normal, as you said (and also to make more money, considering you mentioned that it IS a billion dollar a year business). How could a 12 or 13 year old girl benefit from these exams? Most of the female organs aren’t even fully developed until the age of 18 (at the youngest, there’s still debate about this and obviously it varies for each individual woman). I read on one US medical site that it wasn’t likely for 21 year old women or those under 25 to benefit from screening (they actually admitted it!), it was just important to start earlier to get used to it. Nobody should have to get used to it. For those who have followed guidelines rather than being coerced into screening earlier, they’re still being told that earlier exams are necessary to “get used to it”. So grooming, as you called it, is certainly a big business here and even with the change of guidelines, they’re still promoting it. I do believe that being told we must have these exams is definitely a psychological tactic. Being told that since I was 14 has had a definite effect on me, mentally. I still feel guilty over not having an exam yet (even though I’m far too young for any real benefit, according to evidence based statistics) and I feel even guiltier for never wanting to have one unless it is absolutely necessary like an emergency situation, or perhaps I’ll self-screen for HPV when I’m 30 and follow the Finnish program. I’ll see where I’m at, at that point in my life and if I feel I would benefit. Either way, screening for the sake of screening is not something I would like or choose to participate in, especially not in the near future. Sometimes, when I see advertisements for the HPV shot I even feel scared that I will end up with HPV, but that’s all propaganda. Even though I’m aware of the statistics now, I still have times where I feel guilty or scared. I find myself worrying from time to time that anything and everything could go wrong with my female organs, yet I have no worries about any other part of my body. It’s a psychological game. I feel like I know enough at this point and I’m firm enough in my decision to stand my ground, but sometimes I still do feel guilt and fear over it. That’s why I started commenting here. I had lots of questions and I felt very confused and guilty over my decision.

      That is a good way of looking at why people perceive the US medical industry to be so advanced, and you’re probably right. Most people believe that the more thorough, the better. Based off of evidence and statics, that is not true but it’s difficult explaining that to someone who believes differently. I knew that other countries had sorts of incentives, such as the UK when they get 80% or more women per practice to screen, but I was unaware that the business made so much in the US. Screening is certainly very profitable then, no wonder it’s been kept around for so long and they’re so hesitant to change the guidelines.

      • Alex says:

        Supposedly, it’s very dangerous for women under THIRTY-FIVE. It’s more inaccurate & risky for people under that age (women that are young enough to be having kids, basically). Nothing for you to feel guilty about, you don’t need any other reason to not do that but personal alignment (a lack of inclination has the same effect as a reason against). Women wouldn’t outlive men if they were biologically faulty. The female mortality rate goes up in some circumstances (like if they’re in conditions that are likely to shorten a person’s lifespan) and if they’re having 10 or 12 kids on top of it, that will amplify things. No one mentions the medically generated issues women get (ex: hysterectomies are supposedly linked to heart disease). Whatever kind of distress, injuries, pregnancy complications (both from previous situations & caused on the spot), and surgical detriments (including fatal ones) are all things to consider. It’s a point to factor in if considering the medical “landscape,” as well.

        You might not be anything like that, but that doesn’t mean that’s a trait common to everyone you’re dealing with. I think having a problem identifying with someone like that makes it hard to find it plausible that they actually are like that. You won’t have a “sense” of it in that way. You’re not approving of the situation by grasping it’s existence, either. It’s not that you’re okay with it, you’re just aware that it exists- some people seem to think it’s “being at peace” with it or something. Denial doesn’t really make sense- since, obviously, they do have an awareness of the situation to apply that denial to (and it makes you more vunerable to the situation, anyway). Someone may not believe something for other reasons, but fictional denial is like that.

      • Ro says:

        I had no idea that it was dangerous for women under 35. However that makes sense, considering that women who are young enough to be having kids have far more hormonal changes and different things that could easily cause false positives or negatives. I know that there’s not really anything to feel guilty about, but once you’ve been told something for so long it becomes difficult to go against the idea, regardless of the reality of the situation. I think part of the reason why I feel guilty as well is because lots of other women undergo screening that is unnecessary for them and could potentially end up harming them severely or decreasing the quality of their life, and I’ve been informed and made the decision not to. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but it’s similar to the mindset of, for example: You have found the best food in the world which would be accessible to everyone if they found it. However, most don’t find it or search for it so they only get the food that is handed out to them, and that food is no good at all. Even though you knew you were doing what was best for yourself, knowing that others believed they did not have that option you would feel guilty. (That comparison was probably not the best, but it’s the first that came to mind so hopefully it explains what I was trying to say sufficiently).

        The reason why medical injuries are never mentioned is because they aren’t really considered to be injuries. They are considered to be mistakes or to have been necessary in some way. Nobody ever considers that they are injuries, just as real as anything else. Interesting that hysterectomies are linked to heart disease and women are more likely to have heart problems. I wonder if that is why more women are being diagnosed with heart disease? If I remember reading an article correctly, back in the 1940s/50s, it used to be more prevalent in men so obviously there has been a factor of change somewhere.

        I think you make a good point of “some people seem to think it’s ‘being at peace’ with it or something.” I think I’ve been trying so terribly to do that, but the truth is I probably won’t ever be at peace with it because I know how many people have been harmed. It’s impossible to be at peace with something you know is wrong, and as you said, you can’t really have a sense of denial either. I’m not sure if that was the context of your statements, but that’s how I applied them.

      • Alex says:

        What you’re talking about is exactly like survivor’s guilt. When a bunch of other people die in a war, for instance, people that didn’t sometimes feel bad (particularly if they’re glad that their situation turned out differently- it’s like they’re mocking or applauding the situation someone else is in). You’ve taken nothing from them, but you would’ve liked for things to have turned out differently for them. Sometimes you know something now that you would’ve said to someone at an earlier time, and you feel like you’ve left them to burn (you’re picturing a previous situation with a current level of ability).

        I notice some people consider (or confuse) possible USE with NECESSITY. It’s like they find it inconceivable to have that loss (greed, to a self-destructive degree). Ever seen that hoarding show? It’s like that, but being paranoid that they’re discarding something that might just be useful someday. We’ve touched on the tactic of word usage to try creating the impression of a fixed situation (that there exists no capacity for reality to “unfurl” any other way). Not to split hairs with you, but the terms used can be an important detail.

        What I meant is that someone won’t act like something they don’t like is true (like their coming to the conclusion of something’s existence is an approval, in itself). That “yeah” part of “yeah, something exists” is like a “yeah” in a “thumb’s up” sense of the word. No, you shouldn’t be at peace with the structure of the situation (even if it was historical, it’s still a horrible thing that that happened to those people and anyone else that got effected in an extended way- like their husbands when they have a miscarriage). It’s an ambient situation that’s also an instituted risk. The surrounding conditions are not very hospitable, and it’s not “just” the risk of something jumping off at random (like something bad might happen in the ghetto & the same thing might happen in a nice house, but it’s kind of an isolated risk- instead of a pervasive element).

    • Alex says:

      The word useage is an attempt to project the image that there exists no capacity for things to go otherwise (like reality couldn’t “unfurl” any other way). Saying “need, must, have to” or something else along those lines is that tactic. Definitive word useage (ex: “will be having,” “going to be doing,” “is going to happen”) is like that. All of it would be trying to create the impression of a “fixed situation.” I believe in broad terms that would be called “social engineering.” It’s not a fight, exactly, but it’s the mental version of what a fight would be physically. Lying’s a pretty common method (so are guilt trips, rushing so there’s no time for thought, and sequencing one thing right after the other so there’s no time for debate or refusal- body language & tone of voice are integrated with this). There are variations, too: lying by omission (leaving things out) & a half-truth is a complete lie (since the consummate “picture” is false).

      Someone trusting them is another point (certification implying expertise & psychological trustablility- someone maybe thinks that it’s a causal relationship & it can’t possibly happen without there being a groundwork of truth). The presumtion of honesty & accuracy is a bit pervasive (if you asked someone the time, you’d probably believe the answer right off the bat- then again, you’d have some reason to since they’d probably give you the time they actually had on their watch). Someone trying to enforce an impression is a bit hard for some people to nail down, descriptively- but it’s a pretty common practice (particularly with law enforcement & airport security, but hospitals try to “inform” someone of their policies, too).

      I hit a bunch of these points earlier, but I figure there’s no harm in repeating it. The structure of the situation isn’t changed by any of this, but it can be easy to lose sight of this (especially when someone is saying “But, (whatever)” like it’s an argument). I believe it’s called an “irrelevant narrative” (going on about something that doesn’t actually apply). Someone saying “But that’s a doctor, though” might be answered by “And? I’m sure their socks match, too- what’s your point?”

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Alex, exactly, and I like the term, social engineering. Notice when a woman expresses reluctance to screen, she’s often verbally attacked, judged, the subject of ridicule, name calling and scorn etc. Doctors can sound impatient, irritated…yet I can’t think of anything else that triggers this sort of extreme reaction. It confirms we don’t have a choice, we must screen or that’s the way this testing is viewed and promoted by many doctors, women etc.
        A doctor “explained” to me once, (online) the concern and pressure was down to the seriousness of the cancer, potentially fatal, it occurs in young women, and a later diagnosis can mean a hysterectomy and no chance of childbearing. No woman should die if they have pap tests was the summary.
        Umm, false negatives occur as well, it’s wrong to suggest screening gives you complete protection. Also, there are other rare cancers that are usually fatal that affect young people that get no attention, like Ewing’s Sarcoma. (a form of bone cancer)
        It’s never made sense to me, to distress and harm so many in the hope you’ll help a few. Social engineering….indeed.
        Even though I had the evidence, the campaigns always made me angry and uncomfortable, I’d change the channel or page…I know a couple of women who refused to screen and dodged and weaved for years until they were caught with pre-natal care. The profession knows they can capture most women at some stage of their life, but that’s changing with more women becoming informed…coercion is dangerous with an informed woman. These programs can no longer rely on our ignorance and compliance.

      • Alex says:

        Why would anyone bother with pre-natal care? It’s the same deal, except now there’s a baby involved in the risk factor (and there was before, seeing as their actions can cause miscarriages down the road). There’s so many things wrong with pregnancy-related things it’s astounding. Their diagnostic measures are either pointless or inaccurate (or both, like with dialation- plus, infections can happen with a lot of procedures), their interventions tend to be dangerous & either they’re not in response to nothing or a compensation for their earlier screw-up (likely, a deliberate one), and after all this they may very well try to cause the kid problems or take them away (or both, like when they don’t like the parents’ decisions on something & try to designate them unfit). Isn’t this the “what if” stuff you’d worry about?

        Look at birthing position: Apparently, being upright is with gravity & is less strain on the body, plus it doesn’t block bloodflow to the baby or the woman. A lot of women with small frames think they’d need a C-section, but having the baby in a crouch opens things up more (seems there’s less chance things’ll tear, too). Adrenaline also stalls labor so if she’s seen women screaming their lungs out with their husband looking like a deer in the headlights, having people antagonize her (or being poised to), and it’s starting to really hurt- that’ll probably slow things down a bit, huh?

        I don’t know where that ice chips thing started, but there are a lot of things that can be given to help with the situation (ex: drinking yarrow tea for facilitating labor & stopping heavy bleeding). Actually, I had read that at one point they deliberately wouldn’t give a woman anything for labor pain because it would be “cheating God out of their earnest cries” or something to that effect. Maybe antagonistic birthing practices accounted for some of those dead babies people are so fond of mentioning when talking about history (same with mothers dying in childbirth)?

        This, of course, could be increased with a disease-ridden environment: One woman had gone to the hospital to deliver a baby & they wanted her to stay for an extra 2 weeks. She developed some kind of infection (don’t remember what, exactly- it was some type of staph or strep disease that was actually a common thing to get in the hospital) & it caused a toxic situation in her body. Winds up getting her arms & legs cut off from this (not clear if there was an alternative that would have fixed things)! The hospital didn’t want to inform them on how this happened (they said it would break confidentiality with one of the other patients). It sounds like they screwed up & decided to cover themselves (what makes them think they have a right to self-preservation at that point?). Maybe they didn’t want the possible ramifications of their procedures getting out?

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Alex, you make some good points, my cousin is a midwife and she told me years ago it’s easier to work with gravity and women always labour better when they’re in a safe, private and comfortable (preferably familiar) environment…with lots of support. (not with an audience, but one or two people) They encourage the future parents to visit the unit and get to know the midwives. (a private hospital)
        Both women I mentioned were having their first child in their late 30s and wanted a private delivery with all-female care, so that meant a private obstetrician and hospital. They got the care they wanted, but it meant giving in and agreeing to a pap test, breast and pelvic exam…and in the end, one had an elective c-section. (and she was prepped privately with no drama) I’m talking about the late 1990s, it’s Interesting more obstetricians are now doing away with “the works” at the first consult, it’s unnecessary and carries the risk of infection. I know American women can face a lot of vaginal exams during pregnancy, most are unnecessary.
        I imagine our obstetricians would press you for a pap test if you were an un-screened or “overdue” woman. (or they might want to view your cervix)
        Not sure what would happen if you refused, whether they’d refuse to take you as a patient.
        I know home birth is controversial and they’ve made it hard for women to give birth at home here, the medical profession does not support home birth (no surprises there), whereas in the Netherlands it’s quite common and everyone works to support these women. I know things can go wrong at home and you might need to get to a hospital ASAP and perhaps, face an emergency, (things go wrong in hospital as well) but the calmest birth stories I’ve ever heard were from women who’d given birth at home and one in a bush hospital with just the matron in attendance. (a shortish first labour and normal delivery, 5 weeks early) They’re quick to condemn home birth, but delivery in hospital is also, uncertain, it can be a brutal experience and leave women with physical and emotional damage. It’s hardly a successful delivery when the woman leaves hospital feeling violated, traumatized, distressed and damaged. The Birth Trauma site is horrifying….

  16. Kleigh says:

    Its like they are setting woman up for preoblems in child birth and delivery. And ill never understand why hear in the US doctors do pap smears as part of prenatal care.

    • Ro says:

      I don’t know much about prenatal care or such, but certainly scraping the cervix during pregnancy does not sound like a safe practice to me. It just seems like there could be too many negative effects. In fact, that makes me question how safe it is in general. You’re scraping cells off of a body part that is inside of the body. That would be like scraping cells off of the liver or kidney for example. That doesn’t sound very safe. I don’t know if it has been linked to causing issues other than bleeding, pain, or over-treatment, but I’m questioning whether or not it has led to the cause of STDs or other health issues. I mean, after all, the top layer of the cervix is essentially being scraped open with a tool. That has to make one more vulnerable to bacteria. Which, obviously, would be even far more dangerous for a pregnant woman. In regards to your second comment about how prenatal “care” is leading to more c sections, I never understood the internal ultrasound they’ve started using. That seems like a potential threat to a healthy pregnancy as well. I haven’t researched anything I’ve said though, so I may be wrong. Those are just my thoughts.

      • Ro, I love your musings here! I have wondered the exact same things. Also, how on earth does scraping off the surface of any part of the body give you information regarding potential for cancer? Why is this same technique not used on other parts of the body? The cervix is no different than other body parts, so why is it singled out for this special “testing”? Also, in order to determine if cancer is present, a biopsy of the cancerous tissue is necessary. So really, what is going on here? If you follow logical thinking and common sense it really doesn’t add up. Also, in regards to pap tests during pregnancy, they have the potential to disturb the mucous plug and lead to miscarriage or premature birth. This following query is very disturbing:

        “Hello all, I am very curious to know if anyone has any statistics
        relating to the frequency that miscarriages occur following pap smears
        taken with brushes, spatulas, brooms, etc. It had always been suggested
        that by disturbing the mucus plug, the chance of miscarriage increased
        greatly. As I am seeing this apparent correlation on an extremely large
        number of women I became quite curious to know if any statistics were
        actually available or if this had become fact in the past number of
        years. I know of 4 women personally that miscarried within a week of
        their prenatal exam, all had pap smears with brushes and they were
        almost all at 3 months. The path reports simply identified the presence
        of chorionic villi and fetal parts.

        Thanks in advance for any replies,

        Jay R. BSc. RT Cytology” http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/index.cgi

        Unfortunately no studies have been done (that I could find) to determine the “official” link between paps and miscarriages, but it if you listen to the anecdotal evidence you will see there is a link: http://www.steadyhealth.com/Miscarriage_after_a_pap_smear_t90852.html?page=3

      • Ro says:

        They use a similar method for skin cancer in some cases, but that’s the ONLY method that is SLIGHTLY similar, it’s the first on this page: http://www.webmd.com/cancer/skin-biopsy?page=2. Furthermore, the risks are all listed, you’re required to sign an expressive consent form prior to the biopsy, and they give you topical numbing medication as well as several types of topical and oral medications to help prevent any of the risks (which are shown on page 1). That’s ironic considering they NEVER offer the same for screening and since it’s still scraping off cells directly, the same side effects would still apply. It also mentions that for the skin cancer “scraping”, if you will, they scrape down as far as the tissue underneath the skin, and that’s where it’s less likened to a smear and more so to a biopsy, which is, as you said, necessary to actually detect cancer. So in the end, CC screening is still a breed of its own and I’m finding more and more reason to doubt the accuracy of the test as a stand-alone screening. Obviously, the biopsies, etc. are what have caught the rare cases of cancer, not the screening itself. So what exactly is the purpose of the screening then? There are still cases of CC missed. Screening just detects “abnormalities of the cell” which could be caused by anything and it was estimated that there are around 1 in 3 false negatives, I believe the same goes for false positives as well. None of it makes sense anymore.

        That is terrible and also really scary because there might not be many women who know of the possible side effects of a smear while pregnant. Reading that made me feel sick. The practice of screening on pregnant women must be stopped. That’s just not right. It isn’t like screening on women who aren’t pregnant where they really haven’t done any public studies or gathered the information required to(probably to avoid the public realization of how faulty it can be) and few women complain or report side effects to their doctor, it’s just accepted as “normal”. They have numerous women reporting this happening to those in the medical field, possibly even lawyers if they had the means to. They can easily come up with a percentage and figure out just how dangerous it is, based off of the cases that have been reported. Furthermore, in regards to dangers for the pregnant women, wouldn’t there be a very, very high risk for abnormal cells? Certainly, there would be “abnormalities” in nearly all of the female organs due to the fact that a living being is reliant upon the body of its mother and constantly growing.

      • Ro, yes, none of it does make sense. And yeah, the practice of screening pregnant women turns my stomach too. It was this bit that really got to me “The path reports simply identified the presence of chorionic villi and fetal parts”.

      • Pap tests during pregnancy are even more unreliable, it’s a bad idea to test during pregnancy or within 3 or so months of delivery. The hormonal changes during pregnancy and the trauma caused by delivery means a false positive is more likely, so this can mean severe anxiety and fear during pregnancy, not a good idea, or the risk of a colposcopy/biopsy. Most leave any biopsy until after delivery, leaving the woman to worry during her pregnancy.
        Here in Australia it’s clearly viewed as a great time to capture women…it’s recommended if the woman is “due”…in some countries, like the UK, screening is not recommended during pregnancy, protecting the woman and her baby.
        It’s a useless exercise IMO, as you couldn’t trust the result anyway.

        Certainly not one country in the world has shown a benefit pap testing women under 30, but all have evidence of harm, if you look at Finland, since the 1960s they’ve offered 5 yearly testing from 30 to 60 and they have both the lowest rates of cc in the world and they “treat” far fewer women, we “treat” more than 10 times the number of women thanks to serious over-screening and inappropriate screening.

      • Ro says:

        Same goes in the US. I’ve heard stories of women here being pap tested once every trimester. So it’s a fairly common practice. That is fantastic that the UK does not recommend screening during pregnancy. Aren’t they more set on using midwives than OB/GYN doctors anyways?

        I’m curious to know, though, after reading an article on women against stirrups, what the rates of CC would be for a year in a developed country if we just stopped screening everyone for a year as a sort of control group, if you will. One woman who was actually diagnosed with an acute case of CC, her body cleared the cancer on its own. I know that some are actually high risk and have the potential for screening to catch abnormalities, and in the end take preventative or curative actions. So, the health and well-being of people is certainly nothing to mess with if those individuals would decide that screening is the best option for them, but perhaps if we even just narrowed it down to screening those at very high risk over the age of 30 or 35 who expressively want to be screened. I wonder what the rates of CC would be. According to article from women against stirrups that I’m referencing, the rates would go down. I don’t think any research was ever done on this screening program, and if it was, clearly not enough to produce accurate results considering there are so many conflicting statistics and percentages thrown around. I have heard about the testing in Finland though, and have decided that if I feel I have more to benefit than risk when the time comes, that is the program I will follow. I’m curious, since we’re on the topic of over screening, is Australia big on screening virgins as well and do they use the terrible scare tactics to try and bring virgins in for screening? They do here in the US. With the studies done on nuns, all resulting in 0% of them having CC, the evidence is quite clear. I know the UK follows this data, and they have it posted on their screening website, explaining why they’re hesitant to screen virgins. Anyways, over here they say that “CC is most common in young adults, women from 18 to 25, CC usually ends in death for that age group.” They then go on to say that “it can be very common for virgins who don’t screen to end up with CC from a lack of screening, contracting STDs through other methods, or having the HPV and not knowing it.” It’s really a lot of run-around when you take the time to process it all. Anyways, back to what I was asking, is the marketing like that in Australia as well?

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Ro, we can do better than just screen “high risk” women, we can offer screening to those at risk, the roughly 5% who test HPV+ at age 30 or older. The Dutch will not even offer pap tests to the roughly 95% of women aged 30 or older who will test HPV-…and they won’t be offering pap or HPV tests to those under 30, protecting them from harm.

        We can now identify those at risk, but this doesn’t excuse the awful over-screening carried out in some countries. If we’d followed the evidence, like Finland and The Netherlands, FAR fewer women would have been over-treated and harmed…we’ve done everything to increase risk with serious over-screening for no additional benefit.
        Screening here focuses on two yearly screening for sexually active women from 18 or some doctors will screen two years after a woman starts having sex, which would include some teenagers under 18. There is nothing stopping doctors here from doing as they like, a study into the effects of Gardasil reviewed pap test records of young women and the researchers noted some girls under 17 were tested and acknowledged these girls should not have been tested….but I doubt any doctor would face consequences for testing a virgin or 15 year old unless a complaint was lodged…and even then I doubt much would happen. It shocks me…coverage is all that matters here. No one is warning or protecting women. Women here are still urged to have 26 pap tests (some will have more) when Finland has had their 6-7 pap test program since the 1960s. So every effort is made to worry and harm as many as possible…and it shows a lack of respect for our quality of life, health and bodily privacy. The lies continue…to tell a woman the best way to guard against cervical cancer is to serious over-screen with pap testing Is culpable IMO, it’s knowingly urging women to put themselves at high risk for no additional benefit. It wouldn’t be difficult to show your doctor and the program have provided you with bad medical advice, the evidence has been clear for ages.

        Testing during pregnancy, well I can’t see that changing any time soon, they clearly view it as a good time to capture and coerce women into testing. I posted on one forum and a woman checked with her obstetrician…the answer, it’s safe to test during pregnancy, it’s just that the test is a bit unreliable during pregnancy. What?
        This answer satisfied the woman….you must be joking….what is the point of doing an unreliable test during a time that makes the test even more unreliable? You couldn’t trust a normal or abnormal result…it will either cause worry or provide false reassurance.

        In Australia there is no respect for informed consent, women are pressured and misled into testing. Nuns can get cervical cancer, not all nuns are virgins, some enter the order later in life. A woman who has never engaged in sexual activity should not be tested and other women should be offered HPV primary or self-testing. The only women who should be offered pap testing are the roughly 5% who are HPV+ at age 30….so most women (who wish to test) could simply test themselves 5 times over their lifetime, no need for speculum exams at all. (and routine pelvic exams are unhelpful in asymptomatic women)
        It means most of the intimate intrusions on the female body become a thing of the past and we’d save more lives and see over-treatment/excess biopsy rates plummet.
        Unfortunately, there are many who would not welcome this approach….billions in the States alone would be lost by vested interests.

  17. Kleigh says:

    And the past 3 years every single woman That I know that had pitocin witch was all esp one. has ended up having a c section after the pitocin caused problems in there babys heart rate and complications. They have to know what they are doing to woman and all of them trusted there doctor. it is what we are taught so they take advantage of us. I really belive that. I notice the things they do to pregnant woman seems to be leading to s sections this may be about profit.

    • Alex says:

      I had no idea about that (pitocin is an oxytocin injection, but that’s not what it’s called- a peceptive degree of separation, maybe?). Apparently, if a woman has a baby in the hospital it turns into a total biological hi-jacking! They just act on their discretion & whatever that entails is the situation someone tends to get swept into. I can’t believe how often the phrase “well, that’s what childbirth is” comes up! No, that’s what childbirth gets MADE!

      I’ve noticed that I need to read about stuff like that in small doses or I get a bit feral & nasty (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course). It’s so gladdening to hear about women who’ve had their children naturally (the “meeting your child for the first time” part is very heart-warming). Some of these women had their earlier children in the hospital (and I remember at least one saying she didn’t know better- her actual words) and it was a horrible experience. The other way, it was an exorbitant improvment. It’s so greatto hear women say that it makes perfect sense to believe that women have the capacity to give birth (imagine that!).

  18. Ro says:

    Elizabeth:

    The Dutch are certainly doing things right then! I had read some about their program, knowing that they screen women 30 and older every 5 years, but didn’t know everything about it.

    So it’s even younger in Australia now than the US? That’s surprising. It seems like everywhere else, with the exception of Germany as I’ve heard, screens less than here. Also, I know some insurance companies here have changed it to once every 3 years for 21-29 year olds and then once every 5 years, for those 30 and older. I was always curious as to why they screened younger women more often even though serious risk for the actual cancer is more common in older women? Must go back to misogynistic attitude about getting attractive young women in, along with the large financial earnings from multiple screenings and follow-ups for false positives of course. 26, while far too many when you look at the evidence, is still less than some women. I know of some women who have had 40+ in their lifetime. If Finland has had their program since the 1960s and produced successful results (more successful than that of other countries even), then obviously their practice should be considered evidence based and very accurate, or at least more so than other countries.

    I’ve always been concerned about that. I feel like even if you told them you did not want a smear during pregnancy, they would either find some way to coerce you into or deny any sort of medical help throughout the entire pregnancy, and in some cases medical help may be necessary. I think a lot of people believe what their doctors tell them without questioning it (I’ve been told that I only believe these statistics about screening that are posted online, because I find the exam to be too invasive and that the facts were made up by like-minded women, and that I should trust my doctor’s suggestion or opinion over what I research myself, as I do not work in the medical profession). I tend to view doctors and lawyers in the same light after everything I’ve read about the medical practice. There are some lawyers out there who are wonderful, honest people and defend the innocent while condemning the guilty. However, there are also lawyers who defend the guilty and want to make as much money as possible. I believe the same, in principle, is true for the medical field. There are doctors who are honest and respect the rights of their patients and give them all of the facts, meanwhile there are those who lie and coerce all in the name of the almighty dollar or misogyny or whatever personal benefit or interest they may have in the matter.

    I agree with your statement about nuns, I was just making the point that in the studies that have been done, none of them have had cancer (that’s not to say there has never been a nun with CC, they just were not part of the study). Which, bearing in mind that point, not even all sexually active women are at risk (which is a point that I believe gets sold a lot, that all sexually active women are at high risk). I can only imagine a world where speculums are not an item that’s even being used, except in situations of complete necessity. There is still so much misinformation, though. A few months ago, I was reading through some comments from young women my age (around 18-25) and I’d say around 50% of them (if not more) mentioned follow-up treatments (biopsies, etc.) or more screenings to “make sure that the abnormality was actually an abnormality” and none of them actually had cancer. It was all “precancerous” or “dysplasia” (I’m not entirely sure what dysplasia is, but apparently their doctors told them it was nothing to worry about). Nearly all of them said that it was humiliating and painful. Yet all of them thought it was necessary to continue screening, even though many of them were not even sexually active. After reading that, that’s when I started to realize that something was not quite right. So much unnecessary damage has been done, and I can only hope and pray that those who’ve been harmed can find peace of mind despite everything they’ve endured.

    • Alex says:

      Just found out about something that may be very useful: uterine massage (which is a non-invasive technique). It’s something that helps with a massive amount of female issues & wouldn’t have all kinds of side-effects (I don’t know much about it, but it seems to have a lot to do with things not being “starved off”). As a side-note: running seems to have a similar effect. The heart & lungs get worked out more, so there’s more oxygen, bloodflow, and waste removal to the rest of the body (and the systems they handle are, thus, supported). This seems to have an anti-cancer effect (for various reasons, but those seem to be a big part of it). If one were going to do something, as an inveterate thing (which is a word I just learned, but seems to be more apt than “habitual”)- I’d figure that’d be preferable by far.

      • Ro says:

        Where would one go to get a uterine massage or is it something that can be self-performed? Running is fantastic for lots of things! So I’m sure it probably does have an anti-cancer effect. If you notice, it’s usually the people who eat a balanced diet and exercise often who are incredibly low risk, for any cancer.

      • Alex says:

        It certainly seems like it can be self-performed (Google it, maybe with Belize or Mayan in the title). It was something I just saw today, but it seems like something a midwife might know. I read about that & a bunch of other stuff in a Rosemary Gladstar book I have (I have a few books by her & they have good general-use information, but she also gets into more women-specific subjects). It looks like a stomach-massage, basically.

        Okinawan & Tarahumara diets seem to have a lot of benefits (without being too obscure). Paleolithic-style diets seem to be a useful idea (matching people’s food to their biology). Heard a lot about saving your food until the end of the day, too. It gets the body to burn fat (which gives you energy) & you don’t get “stalled” (you know that “crash” you get after eating a big meal? If you were to eat meal after meal throughout the day, it’d be like hitting a biological “snooze button” again & again.). Ori Hofmekler wrote a book called the Warrior Diet that explains more of it (and it does seem to work, but would also be easy to keep to- since it seems to be the natural eating pattern for a person). His site gives a fast rundown that makes sense.

        It seems the body wasn’t designed to self-destruct & people wouldn’t just die at 30 without modern medicine (what’s so scary about that concept is that it’s dying in the prime of life, right?). The body isn’t at that point, developmentally- so when someone had a lifespan that was shortened by that much, it was probably an environmental factor. As a bit of history: A Roman centurion had to be 30 or over as a requisite, Spartans could retire at 60 (not a fictional age), and there were all kinds of old people in Asia (Okinawa is the most famous, but there were others). Apaches were somewhat raised by their grandparents (thus, their parents had the time to do things that would be easier for a younger person), which wouldn’t really be possible if people were dying at 30 (even if someone were a parent at 16-17, they’d be dead by the time their children had children of their own). Ukrainians seem to do a lot of this, too. The Tarahumara even have people running into their 80s & 90s!

      • Alex says:

        Not exactly topic-related, but has anyone else had problems just typing into the regular posting space? When I’m replying to something, I get the cursor easily enough- but with that one, I can’t get it at all. It might be my computer (there’s some things it doesn’t do, now that some places have switched the browser they use or whatever- I’m not incredibly computer literate).

        By-the-way: I know my last post was somewhat off-topic, but I figured that kind of stuff is related in the broad sense. It points out that the body isn’t a “ticking time-bomb” and it would make more sense to aim your cancer-prevention activities that way (since it’s less problematic methodolgy-wise AND it has some effectiveness). I wasn’t trying to advertise any products or plug anyone, but I figured it may have come off as a sales pitch. Sorry, if it did.

      • Ro says:

        I know of a few people who started paleolithic-style diets, and they all seemed to be incredibly healthy so I think there’s definitely something to be said for those. I’ve never heard about the Warrior Diet, but I’m going to look into it. It seems like something I might be interested in, as I have that “crash” feeling between meals sometimes.

        I remember being taught in school that the reason people lived longer was due to modern medicine, and I never knew any of what you stated. That’s really interesting to know that even way back in history, people were living fairly long lives without any modern technology or services. However, when you think about the places where there were the shortest lifespans, it certainly seems to be environmentally influenced, rather than biologically. I’ve been researching more into natural cures lately, as I know a nutritionist who said that there is a natural cure for almost everything in the form of what we put into our bodies i.e; food, herbs, etc. Apparently, if you look at different cultures in Asia, they have already found cures for diseases that developed countries have deemed incurable. I tried looking further into it through google to find specifics, but there was nothing I could really find so I’m going to try to get some books about it.

        I didn’t have problems typing into the posting space, but I did have problems with the site allowing me to see new comments for a few days. Everything is a-okay now though, so maybe something was going on with the site server?

        Your post was very related. It didn’t come off as advertisement or sales pitch at all, it was just very informative.

      • Alex says:

        This has more to do with your later post (thank you, by-the-way), but there was no reply button & still couldn’t get a cursor on the bottom. There’s a site called greekmedicine.net that gets into some interesting things, you might be interested in that. I’ve also been thinking about a few things that I’d like to share (it IS a long post, of course- but nobody seems to mind & it is more than two sentences of information).

        I’ve also been thinking a lot about subjugation by guilt. I’ve noticed that that happens in a lot of things (medical and nonmedical). Guilt trips (ex: the “you’re killing your baby” line that they tell women that aren’t doing things the way they want- oddly enough, a large percentage of it can cause or lead to exactly that) are part of it, but also I’ve noticed a massive amount of enemy-dependant argument/confrontation (like when someone tries to “recruit” someone into “seeing the light” and coming over to their side). I’ve gotten into this subject before, but I’ve been noticing that whenever someone wants to cause a probelm, (at least, in America) someone else wants to know why. It’s like they’re saying: “Make your case.” This is an ineffective strategy for counteracting an attack (or deflecting unsatisfactory circumstances, in general- whether it’s an attack or not).

        Something else that I don’t think I’ve mentioned before (and I might have, but I don’t remember) is a “death phobia.” I know that sounds a bit weird, but it doesn’t mean that someone’s afraid of their own death or the one of somebody close to them- it’s “death” in the general sense (it can be anything ceasing to exist). Something not being there anymore is “dissolving out of existance”- it’s like a plant withering & dying. That can be with a lot of things (both offensively & defensively, sometimes someone feels like they’re “killing” something by preventing it). Someone going on the attack (iatrogenically or otherwise) might very well feel attacked by someone defending themselves (or they’re trying to “save” their action from somebody “killing” it). Maybe they think “what would’ve happened in a different situation.”

        There is a bit of an OCD thing like that, I notice (having a huge problem breaking patterns, tendancy to refuse to adjust their course of actions, going about a plan no matter what the circumstances or effect, etc…). Having problems learning things comes up (because it’s the old self “dying,” not learning new things- as one potential)- now they won’t detect someone’s problem with something or notice new developments (or any details of the situation) & adjust their actions accordingly. That or, more likely, they won’t “break” to these things. Some people see agreement as defeat, so it’s pretty definite that their actions will be contradictive (potentially of reality, itself- acting like a situation is other than it is). Some of these people (who may or may not be doctors) feel bullied by circumstance. It would be like being in court & the jury feels “Well, the evidence isn’t going to MAKE me declare them innocent. The characteristics of the situation aren’t going to push me around.”

        Truly a horrifying concept that these people are this way & hold sway over things (potentially, very severe things). Maybe someone doesn’t do anything & they completely fabricate a situation where they deserve some payback (the fact that the structure of the situation isn’t that way is irrelevant to them). They can actually feel controlled by somebody NOT attacking them or, indeed, doing anything to them. They might also feel insulted by someone not being involved with them (not paying them any attention, as if they’re nothing, by minding their own business). This shows up with cops a lot, as well (ex: someone acts scared of them, they’re trying to hide something- but if they don’t act sacred of them, they feel insulted). Maybe they figure someone’s attacking them by pointing things out about the situation at hand (telling them how to do their job) or trying to control them by not commiting a crime (not that all of them are “attack-worthy” actions, anyway). We could get into various things about cops (including the fact that all kinds of exams can get imposed on someone in a prison or juvenile setting- with all kinds of motives, of course), but I point that out mainly as a more obvious example. Doctors tend to have a more subtle style (which can be hard to publicly prove and they’re not very likely to come out & admit it are they?). This makes it a harder situation to “lock on” to & less of a solid platform for argument. I could go on at length about that, but I’ll keep it simple for now & call it “target denial.”

        Pretty sure I’ve gotten into some of these things in the past, but you tend to repeat stuff (particularly when it applies to a lot of things). I’ve noticed people I’ve talked to getting confused by this, so to help with any confusion: This doesn’t make sense BECAUSE it’s crazy. It’s not accurate- and sometimes people try to sift out the sanity that isn’t actually there (like trying to find the good in a situation that isn’t good). There can be a little bit of a presumtion of proficiency that there’s no reason to have. It would make sense to think that, naturally, someone would try to attain some degree of functionality & succeed- but that doesn’t mean that’s what you’re dealing with.

      • Ro says:

        Oh, well I don’t know what’s going on then. It might be the browser, but it could also be the site server. I don’t know a whole lot about technology myself, so I was just guessing that there might have briefly been some errors with the site itself, considering. I’ll be sure to check that site out!

        I think people being guilt-tripped is just a part of how this society functions. If women don’t look a certain way, if men don’t make enough money, etc. Those were superficial examples, but it’s the principle of the concept. Society is rooted in guilt-tripping people who aren’t compliant with society whether it be asthetically or otherwise. I’d never really noticed the whole “make your case” thing, but you’re right. That does seem to happen a lot here and accomplish very little.

        I think you briefly discussed death phobia, because I remember replying with something along the lines of my belief in ultimate fate/destiny whatever you want to call it because of my spiritual beliefs, and that when it’s someone’s time to go, it’s their time. However, I feel like I have to go back on that statement. I think that I do believe it to be true, but I don’t necessarily believe in it on a subconscious level, because for so long I’ve been hearing that people can change circumstances by doing this or that, which isn’t always true. And in the case of changed circumstances, I believe that it obviously wasn’t that person’s time to go then. I think it has to do with social engineering, which you mentioned before. People are told that they can prevent their own death and the death of others by doing this or that, and after hearing it so long that is the message that everyone buys into. It becomes more about a fear of a lack of prevention, rather than passing on. What you said was different from my reply, but I think that is where a lot of the phobia is rooted. Like you said, not necessarily the actual act of themselves or someone else dying, just the thought of the action taking place. I agree with what you said as well, though.

        As for the whole “target denial” thing, that’s sort of terrifying that people are placed into categories of action and feelings that perhaps aren’t even real. It’s just what the accusatory person believes to be true. That truly sounds like a power-trip and need for control to me.

        All of this does apply to multiple situations and I agree that in inaccurate statements or situations, people try to find something that they think is true to make the statement or situation okay. A sort of personal justification, I guess. None of it does make any sense though. I’m not sure if it was on this post or another, but I posted a comment saying that none of this made sense any more, in regards to why the current method of screening is still being used, particularly in the manner it’s being used. When you really stop to think about how things are being run, it truly does seem crazy. That coincides with what you were talking about.

  19. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Wasn’t sure where to post this, a lecture by Dr Gilbert Welch…on the benefits and harms of screening. His final statement is important: screening is a choice and not a public health imperative.
    Exactly…No, thank you…is my answer to cervical and breast cancer screening.
    http://tdi.dartmouth.edu/press/updates/cancer-screening-benefits-and-harms

    • Ro says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this! I love when he said “It must involve many, to POTENTIALLY benefit a few” (prior to that statement, he said that most being screened would not have any cancer because they were not symptomatic or something along those lines, not word for word). Worded like that, it’s easier to understand why population screening is done throughout various places like Canada, Australia, and the US. Also, it confirms what many people have been saying – that screening, especially in asymptomatic patients, only benefits a few while the rest are being screened without reason. I’m so very happy that this information is being released more publicly.

  20. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/opinion/diagnosis-insufficient-outrage.html?_r=0
    Article by Gilbert Welch from the NY Times.

    “RECENT revelations should lead those of us involved in America’s health care system to ask a hard question about our business: At what point does it become a crime?”

    I’ve often wondered about that, especially when women do not consent to testing and end up with a false positive or over-diagnosed and so many end up over-treated, surely, the original testing and follow-up is an assault (a crime) and it should also, amount to medical misconduct. These people do not have a right to force testing on us, harm us and then walk away warning us to return in 2 years time.

  21. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Sorry to drown you in articles and lectures, but I set aside an afternoon every month to check if anything new appears on screening. Thought I’d share…
    Here is an interesting panel discussion on screening, sadly, as usual, little is said about cervical screening. If you put a graph together on pap testing, you’d find very few are helped, it’s always been a rare cancer, while huge numbers are over-treated.
    For various reasons this testing usually escapes close scrutiny. We know over-treatment can have serious consequences for women, for too long the harms have been dismissed as minor. Of all the screening tests, I imagine the risk of being over-treated with cervical screening must be at the top end and the chance of benefit would definitely sit at the bottom…0.65% is the lifetime risk of cc, take out false negatives and consider natural decline…means VERY few can benefit.
    Yet the testing is still regarded as untouchable by so many…amazing.
    Dr Welch is on the panel.
    http://www.aspenideas.org/session/overtested-american

    • I agree with Ro in that I am glad this information is being made public. Although this type of news doesn’t seem to hit main-mainstream media and never makes a huge splash but tends to be kept out of the spotlight. If it weren’t for you posting here I would not have heard about this. And yes Elizabeth I find it incredibly frustrating that cervical cancer screening is never mentioned but we know that much harm, most likely more than other screening, is being done for negligible benefit.

      On a different but related topic, Peter Gotzsche has written an article about corporate crime in the pharmaceutical industry: http://www.cochrane.dk/research/corporatecrime/Corporate-crime-long-version.pdf and he has also written a book (available Sept.) http://www.cochrane.dk/book/index.htm that outlines how big pharma has corrupted health care. I’m planning to pick up a copy. In the meantime, for some fine summer reading I’ve ordered this book: http://www.amazon.com/Women-Doctors-John-M-Smith/dp/044050533X written by a gyno. Probably not much in it that we don’t already know or suspect, but seeing it straight from the horse’s mouth is always satisfying. Here’s what the description about Women and Doctors says:

      “From Publishers Weekly
      Many women already recognize sexism in the medical establishment, but they may confront it more readily after reading this frank, alarming and firmly stated indictment of ob/gyn practices. Smith, a gynecologist for more than two decades, interviewed and monitored “thousands of physicians” while founding a Colorado health company5 . Here, he exposes a faulty peer-review system among doctors; a high incidence of hysterectomies based on misdiagnosis, greed or the attitude that the uterus is a “disposable organ”; unnecessary interference in pregnancies; and insensitive sexual counseling. Disturbing case histories back up Smith’s controversial assertions that gynecology should be primarily a women’s profession and that midwives should assume a more visible obstetric role. His advice about selecting an ob/gyn specialist, reporting sexual harassment, and positively reinforcing appropriate behavior is realistic and encouraging. This important, cautionary survey alerts women to their need for second opinions before surgery and to their rights as patients.
      Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.”

    • Ro says:

      Elizabeth – The panel talking about screening was really informative. However, when one of the men (I can’t remember his name) stated that he argued with his surgeon about not wanting a PSA done for 10 minutes and eventually gave in just to make the surgeon happy, I felt a bit disgusted. A man who was very well-informed (not to mention in the medical field himself), was disregarded. In the end, he said he didn’t want the results and refused to hear what they were, however he still had the exam done to avoid making the surgeon angry. He should have stated he did not want it done and that should have been the end of it. He should not have had to go through with it. It makes you wonder what exactly doctors are thinking if they even use coercion against one of their own. Also, why was the surgeon so angry over it? It’s a personal choice. Whether or not he’d been screened, it would not have affected the surgeon in any way (except for monetary kickbacks, perhaps). Anyways, I just had to comment on that bit because I’ve been thinking about it since I watched the video and it was really irritating me. It’s almost as though it was a reaffirmation that there’s no hope for anyone against coercion. Regardless of who you are and how much you know, they’ll still try their hardest to get you screened.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Ro, I don’t think doctors are used to patients saying NO and certainly, women saying NO.
        There is a lot of emotion/hype with screening and I suspect some/many doctors have never really looked at the evidence, they’ve also, just accepted the screening story. (especially for cervical and breast screening)
        We had a female doctor comment on BlogCritics, appalled we were criticizing pap testing, she herself had abnormal cells removed, it sounded to me like she’d been over-treated after a false positive pap test. So even she (a doctor) did not suspect she’d been over-treated. Someone informed would have to know the chances of a serious problem are low, very low…and that almost all women are over-treated. The cancer is rare, it’s simply not possible for 65% or 77% of women to be “saved” by treatment.

        I think some doctors just want to tick the Box, “patient screened on INSERT DATE”. There are some US doctors doing pap tests on terminally ill women and the very elderly, why? Automatic pilot, the form needs a date, and of course, profits, and here, add target payments. Liability is used as an excuse, but IMO, if the patient is provided with full and balanced information and left to make up their own mind, I can’t see that being a problem. If doctors were sued for over-treatment more often, we’d see a shift in concern/priorities, it would no longer be “safe” to push people into screening.

        My GP tacked the CA-125 blood test onto another blood test several years ago, when I found out, I was horrified and refused the results. (she blurted out my results were normal anyway) A simple blood test can land you in surgery, that makes it FAR from simple. The CA-125 blood test is very unreliable – not a good screening test for ovarian cancer. (to put it lightly)

        That’s why it’s so important to stay alert in the consult room and understand what we’re accepting or rejecting. Doctor shopping helps, some doctors are screening zealots, others easy-going, well, that’s here, I know the States is different. (and Canada)

        I also, see doctors when it’s necessary, seeing them as little as possible amounts to good healthcare IMO, not so long ago we saw a doctor when we had symptoms, that makes more sense to me than hunting for disease. If we look hard enough, we’ll find something. That’s not the way I wish to live my life.
        I was also, surprised that a specialist faced that level of “persuasion” and that he gave in…doctors need to hear NO more enough and respect our wishes.

  22. Kleigh says:

    It scraes me that the new health care in the US is suposed to focus on preventive screenings. II scred what this could lead too. have pap smears and mamograms or you pay a fine? Its scary to me. at the lest they will ramp up the pressuer on woman every time she goes in for anything to have paps and exams.

    • Ro says:

      I wasn’t aware that the new health care was going to be focused on preventative screenings. Where did you hear about that? That is really scary. It’s a free country, so on legal terms, they couldn’t actually MAKE you pay a fine or participate in screening. It would be the same concept of someone saying “get a job or pay a fine”. However, with the way things already are, I’m sure they’ll increase the pressure and say a lot of things. Are there any good articles online about it? I’ve heard about the new health care, but like I said, I wasn’t aware that it was going to focus on screenings.

  23. Alex says:

    The U.S. is getting creepy with the whole dictatorial-behavior thing. I was on a site before (happierabroad.com) that mentions this & other things. It doesn’t talk that much about this medical situation, but it does mention a few things about the general situation that are spot-on. The comparison chart is really good & a fast read (but it is informative). Might be something worth looking at, at least for general information.

    Speaking of dictatorial behavior & manipulating people into things: I just ordered a book about that (“In Sheep’s Clothing” it’s called). I’ll let you know if I find anything interesting, but it mentioned things like asking someone to repeat something to buy time to figure out a response & because they may be trying to pull something that they don’t want overheard (plus, it also might wear out their courage). Some people lose their nerve when dealing with a sustained conflict or any conflict at all (it seems a lot of times rapists are like that- whatever variation of that they happen to be). I’ll post something on that when I read a bit of it (and more as I read, no reason to wait to finish the book- especially since this might be something that somebody needs

    I’ve mentioned my intention to move to another country before, and this is a BIG part of why (Nazis are one example of how these kinds of things can turn into a broadly imposed situation and Romania is another- Jola had mentioned that situation in one of her posts). I hope things don’t go that way, but it would be a good idea to not “pull your punches” if you do need to throw them (whatever that winds up meaning). Making a point about bodily autonomy, the risks & inaccuracies, the alternatives (if someone WAS worried about a massively rare thing- a point worth mentioning) and just the simple alignment of the situation (that the situation consists of an IMPOSED interface with a sexual area- specifically a penetrative one!). Somebody saying that these things don’t apply to doctors is crazy (and treating them that way might help). That bit about a doctor poisoning someone with a needle is still murder tends to illustrate things very clearly (and “trump-cards” most arguments that get made).

    I know I’ve said all these things before & I don’t mean to sound like I’m nagging, but I don’t know who’s read what & it would be a good set of points to bring up in an argument (an abusive situation with numerous additional ramifications isn’t usually something that someone will advocate, at least not publicly- so if you point this situation out you’ll probably win & it might spread things around). Making a solid point (maybe with an “of course” style to it- like a “where have you been?” type of attitude) of what something IS, without asking anything might be a good strategy. I haven’t heard nearly as much bullsh&# since I started phrasing things like that.

  24. Ro says:

    FWO – It’s a shame that it isn’t more mainstream, but I figure at least some people are reading it and sharing it with others, which means that more people are becoming more knowledgeable about the facts. In 5 or 10 years, the information may become mainstream because more people are informed and so more people are fighting to make the information mainstream. Change, especially when things have been a certain way for a very long time, can be a slow process.

    In regards to the pharmaceutical industry, I read an article somewhere about B17 and that it could be and was used as a preventative and curative for cancer. Apparently, once the general public found out about it, the pharmaceutical industry worked with the government to outlaw it. You cannot legally buy pure B17 anywhere in the US. They do still sell “B17” at pharmacies here, but it has been processed and so the curative/preventative factors have been diluted or completely removed.

    Alex – I went to that site and read the chart. I’m now curious as to what factors are causing these issues. For example, the highest mental illness rates in the industrialized world. I wonder what exactly about the US culture is causing that or making it more common? It might be other factors listed on the chart such as loneliness and a lack of socialization. I’ve noticed that it seems to be very difficult to find friendly people, and friendships are in fact fleeting here. I’ve had several conversations about wanting to move to Europe and explained that I just felt as though people over there might be friendlier, but everyone here just says it’ll be the same anywhere you go. To an extent, that’s true. It’s true that people are people and not everyone is going to be nice and friendly, but there are cultural differences.

    • Alex says:

      In Europe, it seems to be much more genuine. IF someone acts like a friend, they tend to be a real friend. There’s a lot of fake smiles & superficial politeness here. People don’t tend to converse spontaneously or in any great depth (sometimes arguments get pretty deep, but sometimes the people arguing get entenched- also, agreement can be defeat to some people in the first place). I just learned (right before I typed this, actually) a term called “information cascade.” The example given was a pair of empty restuarants & one person walks into one of them. Then someone else sees that one has business & goes to that one, figuring it must be good. Then this happens more & more. I guess it’s figuring that if other people are doing it, you can presume it’s good. Not necessarily true (and then you find out through experience that the other one got scammed). Seems like that comes up a lot, too.

      The insanity, I think, comes from that trait of thinking by adjucation (“reality is what I say it is” style of thinking). In itself, it’s pretty nuts- but it factors in to a lot of things that people do (sometimes very serious stuff, sometimes not- but it’s the same trend). It definitely gets used to cover things up (a lot of lies are based on that idea- it’d have to be that way in order for what they’re saying to be a point). That weird, isolated style that it mentioned is another (no friends to talk to about things, at the very least). The family dynamic being out of whack (relatives, marriage, upbringing & all the effects that one has on the others) is a pretty big one. I wonder if maybe always trying to say things to never be in an argument is another (nobody knows if someone’s being honest, there’s a constant “bottled-up” situation, and nobody really gets to know anyone- even their own relatives). With marriage, sometimes it’s like marrying your enemy or orbiting a complete stranger. It definitely mentioned marriage on there.

      A good point was made about feminism on that site. I’ve noticed that as much as the REPUTATION is one way, the reality is another. It comes off as this supportive, “your body, your rules,” not having to rely on luck as far as supporting yourself goes- which is all something I think well of, but it doesn’t functionally turn out that way. They’re nowhere to be found when doctors (or cops) start bullying women or young girls, but are all over it if a woman gets smacked around by her husband. They get all mad about equal pay, but not victimization for profit (or the iatrogenic debt generated by nonsense medicine). There were a lot of problems in this country, but it wasn’t one side being demonized & another being extolled (generating a bit of spitefulness with all men, who would have been more inclined to be supportive & helpful with things). It was a swap of what gender is causing the problem, whatever it is (I remember you saying that these tests that doctors impose on women is something they ranted & raved for). I do think these things were/are problems, but massively less severe ones than the ones they seem to ignore (or advocate).

      • Ro says:

        I agree. Something I’ve noticed here is that most people text while in public, rather than try to engage in actual conversation with people around them. Furthermore, people who are supposedly “friends” text you daily, and rarely spend any real time. At least that’s something I’ve experienced several times. It’s difficult to make real friends when there’s no real connection being made.

        Those are good points as well. I believe the US has higher divorce rates than any other country. It’s sad.

        Something I’ve always been offended by when it comes to feminism is the lack of inclusive support of femininity/feminine qualities. I believe in equal rights and that both genders should have equal opportunities and the basic stance of feminism, but it seems as though as soon as a woman decides to wear make-up or dress in a feminine way, she’s “working against the system”. It’s sort of going against itself. It’s saying that a woman needs to act a specific way and live a certain lifestyle in order to be a real woman or to be accepted, which is what feminism is supposed to be against. One of the first sites I stumbled across when I first started searching for information on screening was Feminists For Choice (the site name is ironic, considering they’re anything but). Women on the site were scolding teenage girls, women, pregnant women even, basically anyone who said they did not want to screen/had not screened – for not screening. They were incredibly cold and said things along the lines of “it’s part of being a woman” “suck it up” “it’s saved millions and millions of lives” “you’re putting yourself at risk by not screening” etc, all the same responses that have been mentioned here before. It is true that feminists were fighting for these exams/screening. It was intended to simply make it available to all women and they could screen upon their CHOICE if they felt they were at risk and wanted to. However, because the test is so unreliable and because CC is so rare, they needed to screen the entire population (or close to it) to make it at least somewhat effective and to make a profit from it. Thus, population screening was born and coercion started taking place.

  25. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Ro, I felt the same way when I was in my teens and 20s, I always liked to look my best and was focused on study, University and later, pursuing a career. I didn’t really fit with the various branches of feminism or with most of the females at school or University, but never wanted to follow their lead. I was content to go my own way, even if that meant walking alone. I knew what I wanted in life and who I was…and I questioned everything, still do, I never just accept the official discourse. I’m a feminist, but it’s my own brand of feminism.

    Screening was never “a given” for me as it was for the majority of women; even those who suffered terribly never really contemplated not going for screening, they felt they must…but most had no clue when it came to the risks and actual benefits of testing.
    I wondered why they were so tormented by the notion of going their own way, following their feelings and making their own decisions. Some women never look past, “all women must screen”. (or can’t look past it…it seems to be too frightening or reckless etc.)

    I think it comes down to being an individual, rather than a member of the herd. Some women will make an informed decision TO screen, that’s their right, but many/most screen because they feel they have to, out of fear, because their doctor said they should etc…that’s not making an informed decision.
    We’re often expected to explain why we don’t screen, (especially by doctors) but screening is an option, we don’t need an excuse or reason. Some women will simply find the test itself unacceptable and that applies to both breast and cervical screening. (and some people can’t bear the thought of a colonoscopy)

    A woman sought me out at a seminar recently, she heard I was concerned about Breast Screen doing presentations in offices around the country. She went for her first mammogram at age 50 (on her doctor’s firm recommendation) and found it painful and degrading. She threw the “you’re due for a mammogram” letter and the reminder letter into the bin, but found breast cancer has increasingly been on her mind over the last 6 months…was she doing the right thing? Should she put up with the discomfort? Would she regret her decision if she got breast cancer?

    Easy…I emailed her the NCI summary. Rather than risking her health, I’d say perhaps, her body gave her a clue, “this is not a good idea”. After reading the summary she’s now comfortable with her decision and no longer dwelling on breast cancer.

    Some of us will question from the start, do our research, resist being pushed into anything, refuse to take orders, others will go their own way after a bad experience with screening or treatment….others will choose TO screen knowing all of the facts/evidence.

    Individuals think for themselves. It’s the trusting, compliant women (the herd) who worry me…because the system is in charge of their bodies, making decisions for them, accepting risk, and we know what that usually means, unnecessary/excessive testing/exams, false positives, over-diagnosis and over-treatment. We know women’s healthcare and cancer screening are loaded with vested and political interests who IMO, do not act in our interests, they are self-interested and “using” these programs, feeding off the trust women have placed in the system and these programs.
    So don’t worry about taking time with your appearance or feeling different to other women, that makes you an individual and IMO, that should be embraced.

    • Joan says:

      Elizabeth, so well said!

      I myself had my mind full of cancerous thoughts when I declined the screening “invitations”. I felt something is not adding up in all that hype and propagandistic brochures, and refused to screen. But I couldn’t kick the thoughts about the cancer and screening out of my mind. They followed me, gnawed and loaded my mind. It took a lot of research and reading to learn the true scientific facts and to confidently tell myself that I’ve done the right thing.

      So, I guess, not every woman can/wants to do so much reading and researching. It may seem easier to trust the system/doctor/propaganda and conform. But in the long run, it is dangerous! With all the ovetreatment rates it is a reckless surrender of own body to inevitable and unnecessary pain.

      The system is very good at abusing the natural human preference to conform. It’s called “bandwagon effect”. While questioning everything and making own decision may feel like a lot of work and responsibility. Not everyone is up to it, and those are often hurt.

  26. Ro says:

    Elizabeth – It’s so nice to be able to relate to someone! I feel the exact same way about not necessarily fitting into stereotypes, and questioning everything, and sailing my own course.

    I was the same about screening. I remember when I first heard about it in health class, my friends and I were discussing it and I said I never wanted to go. I’ve always questioned it and never really wanted to be a part of it (before I did my research, it was due to the invasive nature, but now that I know the facts, the unreliability and unnecessary follow-ups are also factors in my decision). I think one of the reasons why women don’t look past it is because with all of the over-treatment, they think nearly everyone they know has been saved. I could name a minimum of 5 women I know who think that they’ve been saved by screening – a few may have been and I certainly don’t want to discredit that, but when you look at percentages, it becomes apparent that there has been over-treatment somewhere.

    I have always felt as though screening is an option, and while I didn’t know how many women were at risk or what increased or decreased risk until more recently, I always felt that regardless it should be the individual’s decision. It is interesting that we’re asked to explain why – as if we must have a reason for not screening. Something interesting I read a while back really made me question the actual value of screening. Once again, I know it has helped some and I’m certainly not trying to discredit that, but the following definitely made me question the actual value and why alternatives are not offered. A doctor posted on her website information about which patients she wanted to screen. She said that from the age of 18, she would try to talk all female patients into screening. Even if they had never been sexually active or were monogamous, she would continue to argue her point until they saw it her way. She said the only exception was if a patient had been traumatized from sexual assault. I’m glad that she did not harrass any victims of assault. I’ve heard of doctors doing that, and it’s disgusting. Anyways, my point is that from that statement, you can see that it truly is about numbers and not about the health of the patient or their individual concerns. It is not about care. In cases where traumatized patients were concerned or felt they were at risk, she’d have access to order self-screeners or provide the CSA blood test but she didn’t offer those alternatives. She just let it go, while continuing to coerce patients who were quite possibly at a much lower risk. I’m sorry for going on and on about it, but it irks me that it really has nothing to do with what is best for an individual’s health or what they choose to participate in.

    I have always been concerned with breast cancer screening. All of the women I know who have participated in mammograms have walked away with unnecessary biopsies, some from only going to one screening. Before I questioned pap screening, I had my concerns about mammograms. I saw first hand that they were fairly unreliable. I do believe that preventative methods can be taken when abnormalities are caught in screening SOMETIMES, however I think screening needs to stop being marketed as always being life-saving and preventing what the patient is screening for. A person could screen for everything possible and end up dying from what they were being screened for. It doesn’t guarantee anything aside from detecting some/possible abnormalities, which then, if actually something serious and if the results were a true positive, follow-up treatments are what possibly extended the person’s life – not the screening itself. A good example would be that a lot of women say if you don’t go for pap screening, you’re putting yourself at higher risk. Screening/not screening does not increase or decrease your risk. At best, when used properly and producing accurate results, it detects.

    Alex commented on another post about the mangling quality of many medical treatments, that the treatments would fix whatever problem was at hand, but would likely cause more problems either psychologically or physically. I believe that applies to screening as well. Especially in patients who are not even at risk/high risk for what they’re screening for.

    I agree, individuality is what makes the world interesting. It should be embraced. It’s just that fighting against society can be a very difficult battle at times.

    • Alex says:

      That doctor saying that she wouldn’t push people that had been abused, but would abouse other people is a bit of a point (that she’d “lean” on them until she got her way- thus, imposing things on them). I figure she might have just figured someone that had been through things like that before might not be easy prey (they’ve had people pushing them around & the pattern would be obvious in spite of a more subtle variation). It’s truly stomach-turning to see the alignment of these things (part of it is adrenaline, too- people often mistake a response to a threat for a state of fear- even in themselves). I don’t think there’s a woman on Earth (at least, one that didn’t advocate the situation) that would argue someone snatching someone up & aggressively playing doctor is NOT an attack. They wouldn’t have much consideration for the attacker’s stance on things, either.

      One has to take into account the alignment of these people. This occupation may be a haven for them and whatever someone’s alignment the situation still consists of the same things. That’s something I’ve noticed: an over-fixation on innocence. A lot of things are not innocent & it doesn’t matter if anyone claims blame.
      Another thing is about the other women having a right to choose these tests- the doctors are not supposed to be purveying things that are untrue or unsafe, anyway. These women shouldn’t have “access” to something obsolete or unreliable. If they want something that’s unsafe & inaccurate (for whatever reason), that’s their own business (there are alternatives that actually work & don’t work the same way, if they are wondering). Far be it for me to tell someone whether or not to drink a glass of antifreeze, but it should NOT be labeled as a nutritious drink. I hope that doesn’t come off as dictatorial, but it’s pretty apparent that if an option is available, it’s also imposable- I don’t know if someone should have the “opportunity” to not choose.

      • Ro says:

        Alex – That’s sort of what I was trying to get at. The logic behind it didn’t make much sense. I’ve also heard of doctors saying they don’t screen abused/assaulted patients because it can cause flashbacks or cause them to feel like it’s happening again. That should be a red flag that something is very wrong and also that perhaps maybe, just maybe, patients who have never experienced such traumatizing events are traumatized from the screening/exam itself because it causes those feelings of violation and lack of control of your own body to surface. Or we could even take that one step further and assume that, deep down, people do believe that this exam is a form of abuse. They probably aren’t willing to ever admit that because in cases where they are performing the exams, there’s personal benefit (whether it be monetary, or due to wanting to feel in control, “general pervyness” etc.), and in cases where they are going for the exams they have constantly been told it could save their life and are worried/scared about not having these exams. I agree, it is stomach turning. We’ve already discussed this before I believe, but a lot of people put doctors on a pedestal and treat them as though they’re superhuman and no longer have the same thoughts or biological reactions to intimate exams as those who aren’t in the medical field would. The truth is, the same applies to everyone. I think you said it best when you said “the situation is what it consists of”. However, most people do put doctors on the pedestal and figure since it’s something they were trained to do and have seen multiple times, they don’t think twice about it or sexualize it (which couldn’t be further from the truth).

        What I was referring to more or less in my comment was not the accuracy or lack-there-of etc. I was simply stating that if it truly was about doing what was best for the individual patients, if said patients were incredibly concerned and did not want to participate in invasive screenings, alternative options could have been supplied. I agree with what you said, though – it should be labeled for what it is. It should not be glamorized or made out to be perfect or made out to be a complete necessity or made to be something that it’s not. Ultimately, the proper information should be provided before a patient even considers any sort of screening. It’s sad that, that is not the case. As several people have stated on this site, these screening programs are never really studied. They just use them and deem the necessary for all. Screening programs, in my opinion, should be used the way the Dutch uses them. They provide a non-invasive test to find those who would benefit and OFFER screening as an option for those who want to participate. Population screening causes more harm than good.

        This is slightly off topic, but we were discussing fear of death and paranoia and similar themes before and one of my friends shared an interesting article with me yesterday which is about that, essentially. I thought I’d share it, because there is some insight into what medical science is trying to do now and in my opinion, it’s quite frightening. http://disinfo.com/2013/07/do-you-want-to-live-forever/

  27. Kleigh says:

    Ro, the nature of this screening is very intamate and invasive some woman also feel degraded by the use of stirups. Alot of doctors tell woman paps are a law or madentory. I belive when a woman feels forced to have a pap smear that is rape. I think doctors see this screening as strictly meadical and they dont seem to understand how intamte this is for woman. When doctors withhold unrelated meadical care from woman that wont have paps that wrong. There is a law student Heather Dixon wrote a paper about the practice of pelvics and pap for birth control not being legal. in more ways than one.

    • Alex says:

      They DO understand. Their maintaining their stance that it’s not that way is in opposition to the woman’s alignment on it, anyway. Besides, if they were so socially inept that they are dangerous, they should not be in the profession. Didn’t know that about Heather Dixon- where can you find it?

      Ro- That article is pretty spooky. Off the bat: Whatever span someone has, the quality of life is important. Living that long may be a problem, in itself, because it not only deprives someone of their phases of life (and old age doesn’t necessarily mean “non-functional,” anyway), but it might also be a problem similar to a parent outliving their child (it’s a problem because their kid’s dead, but also the sequencing- that they are not supposed to bury their own child and that fact is pretty hard-hitting).

      There’s the concern of resources & space, as well. What about the old people at the heads of all these corporations & banks that cause some many problems? Do they just keep on doing the same thing (assassins not withstanding)? It also strikes me as an attack on the old (like trying to dissolve the situation). There’s something deeply wrong about a grandparent looking the same age as their grandchild. Maybe it’s a dissolving of distinguishing characteristics (like a “mangling” of details)? It’s just got kind of a “making something disappear” taste to it.

      Speaking of this, it definitely seems that some “people” see all life as antagonistic to them. It’s not necessarily spoken, but it’s fairly obvious from their actions. There is definitely a trait of thinking everything is low-quality (no matter what it is, it’s not good enough). They’re constantly bored & tend to be very grandiose (maybe extreme arrogance is a cause). I’ve noticed scientists are always trying to destroy the situation, whatever it is. I don’t know if it’s a running theme with, literally, all of them- but science is always trying to “change” something (whatever it is, they want to make it something different). Lying is a prevalent trait, as well. That hatred of life can be pretty quickly associated with women, too. Sound familiar?

      • Ro says:

        Alex – I completely agree with that. Most people who live very long lives, though most seem to make the most of it, seem to have the attitude of “I’m ready to go when it’s my time. I’ve lived enough life”.

        As far as space goes, there would be a serious over-population problem. People would continue to have children, but everyone would start being injected or whatever exactly they’re doing to stop people from aging as quickly and give them a long lifespan. That’s a good point about it being an attack on the old. That’s something else there has been a fixation with, especially recently. There seems to be a fear of growing elderly and people associate it with being less-than or not beautiful or useful, etc. Just think about all of the different procedures and products people use to try to stop the effects of aging on their appearance or to try to conceal it. The thought of a parent looking the same age or younger than their own child is also quite disturbing. The whole thing is disturbing, really.

        I don’t necessarily believe that it always has to do with arrogance. I think that a lot of it has to do with modernized society in general. As I mentioned in one of my most recent comments, there seems to be a social disconnect and people don’t engage one another as much any more. Without that connection, it is difficult to have a fulfilling life or to feel like your life is quality. Humans are social creatures, but society has drifted away from that what with “social” (I use that term lightly) networking, texting, etc. There’s far less real interaction. You don’t even have to go to the store any more. You can order clothes, appliances, home supplies, etc., anything really online. Some grocery companies even let you order food online and deliver it to your house! Reading the last sentence of your comment, it’s very interesting how all of these themes seem to intertwine in one way or another. However, as messed up as it is, it makes sense for hatred of life to be associated with women. While men certainly have a part in procreation, women are the ones who are responsible for actually bringing that life into the world. So, while it is a terrible association and a horrible way to view women, the connection is quite an obvious one.

    • Ro says:

      Kleigh – No wonder, it is degrading! I don’t know how doctors can get off saying that it’s law/mandatory. I’ve heard that some health insurance companies require it, though, and they will withdraw insurance if females using their program do not submit to screening. Health insurance companies and doctors are two separate entities and two entirely different subjects, though. I believe it is as well. It’s never okay to perform any sort of intimate exam without expressive consent – in the same way it is not okay to perform any sort of intimate act without the other person’s consent. I personally don’t think doctors see this screening as strictly medical. That is what they market it as (strictly medical), but even for the most experienced doctor, it is not strictly medical. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe there are doctors out there who truly do have the best intentions and certainly try to restrain their throught process and biological reactions as much as possible. However, at the end of the day, they’re still viewing sexual body parts and they are still only human. It’s the same as saying someone who has engaged in intimate activity many times no long experiences the feeling of being, for lack of a better term, turned-on because they have engaged in intimate activity so much. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your senses and human instincts don’t suddenly stop. The same goes for doctors. No matter how much they’ve studied these exams or seen/touched intimate body parts, there’s still going to be some sort of reaction. As I said, I do believe some doctors have the best intentions and try to control that and restrain it as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to it. I believe I read that paper somewhere. Was it posted online?

      • Alex says:

        So insurance companies get coercive, too- eh? That shouldn’t come as a suprise and I’m sure when someone hears that from their insurance company, they ask “Why?”- giving an opportunity to make the case/imposition (probably something to the effect of them not wanting to insure someone that “doesn’t take care of themselves”) instead of just saying “No” and shutting it down then & there. The insurance company doesn’t comport your actions. This is the same argument as with doctors. “No, something of this nature does not get imposed by another,” doesn’t seem to be the current battle cry. I loved Jola’s post about being inviolable is an inherent thing, it doesn’t matter what the variations are.

        It occurs to me that some people might get warped from things like this: Where they feel a sense of exertion, of agency, by going along with their victimization- whatever it may be. I’d think they’d feel it in the other direction, too- though.

  28. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/2013/07/25/00/09/new-study-backs-less-frequent-pap-smears
    Interesting….this appears in newspapers around the country today, wait for it, drum roll, Australian women are having too many pap tests and a “new” study shows it’s now “safe” to move to 3 yearly testing. Do they really think we’re all that stupid?
    It simply insults our intelligence to tell us the obvious, it’s been known since the 1960s that over-screening does not provide any additional benefit, it just sends up the risk of a false positive. Also, not a word about the over-treatment that’s been caused by this level of over-screening.
    Naturally we can’t leave comments, they want to have the last word….when you’re telling whoppers, you don’t want to be challenged.

    One statement is just absurd, “women in other countries have been having fewer pap tests, but we had to do our own research to check it was safe to do the same thing here”….what is so different about Australian women? AND, what’s taken the time, why wasn’t this study done in 1970?
    It’s utter rubbish, they’ve always known women were being urged and pressured to seriously over-screen, knew it provided no additional benefit and just kept day procedure full…and they did nothing about it for decades.

    The other thing: 3 yearly testing from 25 to 70 is STILL serious over-screening, and STILL out-of-date – most of these women can’t benefit from pap testing. Yet they’re more than happy to put all women through 3 yearly pap testing for most of their lives when 95% of women aged 30+ can’t benefit. (and we shouldn’t be testing those under 30 at all) Heads should roll….

    Australian women who trust this program will be subjected to over-screening into the future, these people simply don’t care about women. This has been nothing more than a game to delay, delay, delay changing the program, too many are enjoying the enormous profits from the damage and misery this testing causes to huge numbers of women.
    I doubt we’ll ever see evidence based testing here, there are clearly too many influences in this country and in the program who want to preserve over-screening for their own benefit.

  29. Mary says:

    Yes Elizabeth I saw the same story on ABC news last night, presented as if it was some earth shattering news. And I agree with exactly what you say. They knew from the very beginning that 2 yearly was too frequent. I read somewhere that two yearly was some political compromise not based on science at all. Evidence pointed to three yearly and I suppose it was the pap screeners wanting yearly so they went with two yearly. The abc story of course had to have a woman who was with some young children (like women don’t seem to exist in any other context) and her talking about how it saved her life. Oh and the obligatory speculum was there of course.

    • Ro says:

      Something I’ve noticed – children always seem to be brought into campaigning methods for this particular screening. If that woman’s life did end up being saved by screening, then I’m glad for her! However, that does not mean that all women are at risk or would benefit from screening. They need to stop marketing it as though all women are at risk and screening is the cure. I mentioned this a few comments back, but it’s gotten to the point where people view screening as the cure/preventative method in and of itself, which is not the case. The follow-up treatments are what do that. Also, it’s disgusting that they showed the speculum on tv. I cannot stand that the media has tried to make it so normal. It is a very intimate exam and the speculum is not something that should be thought of as normal. I’m sure it has its place, in emergency situations or for those who know all of the facts and choose to participate in screening, but something so directly related to such an intimate exam should not be shown publicly, in my opinion. It’s disrespectful to women.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        These programs use psychologists to fashion these campaigns, to get inside your head, they want you screened and don’t give a damn how you get there…scared to death, doing it for your children etc. If something works, they’ll keep doing it. If you go to the Papscreen website you’ll find them assessing the effectiveness of various campaigns. It’s a numbers game and it’s just a Q of getting as many of the herd and strays (often called “hard-to-reach groups”..) in for screening…gotta get to the screening target and justify their existence, and the huge amount of money they spend every year. 100+ million in this country….(and preserving huge medical profits)

  30. Jenn says:

    I am so happy there are more women out there who feel the same way I feel about pelvic exams. I feel that were so pressured into it we have no choice. I have never had one and don’t intend to have one. A few months back I went to planned parenthood to get birth control and the nurse asked if I had a pelvic exam and I said no. And she got all offended and said you need to have one it’s for your own health blah blah blah. She kept nagging me about it until the point I started to cry. In my own family I’ve had women who test positive for cervical cancer from a Pap smear and guess what? FALSE POSITIVE. There are more false positives with cervical cancers than I’m comfortable to admit that I know. In my honest opinion I feel pelvic exams are a legalized version of rape.

  31. Kleigh says:

    Jenn, About five years ago I was yelled at by a nurse when she found out that I had not had a pap smear. She went over every thing i said. telling me that “womans bodies are so complex and bc we mensturate we need these exams”. It shook me up big time. I wanted to throw up. I wasnt even there for a gyn related problem. I regret not telling her off. She to seemed very offended by me not having paps. She also said that being a vergin had nothing to do with paps. now I know she Had no idea what she was talking about and didnt even know what paps screened for. I think there needs to be a law that nurses and doctors respect womans right to refuse screenings if they chose. this screeing is very intamte how dare they act like we have no choice. and now I know how common false positves are and how painfull and invasive the follow ups are. I never sighned up for that and I want to be left alone. And they can say these exams are for are health till they are blue in the face. but they cant back up there clames.

  32. Ro says:

    Alex – It isn’t all insurance companies, but it’s a bit more than coercive. Doctors use coercion (you can argue your way out of it and threaten to get a lawyer involved and win your case [though you shouldn’t have to]), insurance companies who do this give you two choices, point blank: screen and keep your insurance or don’t screen and lose your insurance. However, the companies that do this do the same for men when it comes to PSA. The insurance companies that are pro-screening are that way when it comes to both genders. I’m not sure of their stance on colonoscopies, but that’s probably the same as well. I don’t know in particular which companies do this, but it seems to be a growing trend. I think that is the reason that insurance companies are so set on screening – they believe the person using their coverage doesn’t care about their health because they aren’t participating in screening. However, it’s best to keep in mind that the people who work at the insurance companies are in the same situation as the general public. They have been exposed to the same propaganda and been told the same lies. I’m not trying to justify what they’re doing, but it isn’t as though they know all of the possible risks/harms involved (unless they have done their own research) and some of them probably assume that screening is mandatory/an absolute necessity for everyone, as many believe.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Wow, that’s a dangerous strategy with an informed patient, I’d present the evidence and then ask them to sign something accepting all responsibility for any excess biopsy, over-treatment/unnecessary surgery etc.
      When the lifetime risk of referral with cervical screening is about 77% in Australia (and probably even higher in the States) and the risk of cc about 0.65% (near zero for MOST women)…the risk for the insurance company is far greater with cervical screening. I think they’d back down quickly. The reality is I’d change my cover in a flash if a company were unethical enough to try and strong arm me into cancer screening. It would make more sense to limit cover for screening, an insurance company or Medicare covering annual pap testing will pay for almost all of those women to have a excess biopsy or unnecessary procedure. (and in many cases, a c-section, cervical cerclage, premature baby etc)

      It happens because it probably works in many cases. Another try-on…
      My insurance company covers me for private hospital stays after I pay my agreed excess, but I make all healthcare decisions. I find it astonishing that an insurance company might attempt to make those decisions for us, stick their nose into my business.

      In Germany (who shockingly over-screen women, they’re still doing annual pap tests and a pelvic rummage-around from teen years on…) there was a proposal that the un-screened should pay for their own treatment if they got the disease , so no breast screening and you get breast cancer, you’re on your own. Naturally, it didn’t get through the legislative process, how would that law rest comfortably with informed consent and the high risk of being traumatized and harmed by over-diagnosis/over-treatment?

      • Ro says:

        Elizabeth – That’s a good idea in theory, but they’d probably refuse to sign it. Another argument that seems to come up a lot in the US and Australia as was shown in the article you shared, is that those statistics apply to the country they’re from only. For example, if I printed off the chart that was shared from BMJ in the UK to use as evidence, it would be discredited here because “that’s another country”. The coverage I have certainly encourages screening, but they wouldn’t drop me for not participating. It can be difficult to change insurance in the US and some employers only work with specific insurance companies, so you can’t always shop around easily.

        That’s awful that they tried to pull that in Germany! Glad to hear it didn’t get through the legislation.

  33. Kleigh says:

    And Ill never understand how gyn exams got tied with birth control appts. it has nothing to do with taking the pill. Its like gyn health is being tied to the pill and thats not right.

    • Alex says:

      It doesn’t apply to getting a driver’s license, either- but that’s the way it went in Lithuania for quite some time. It’s situational coercion. They make one thing part of the overall picture of another & that interjection is an abusive act. I believe it would be called “aggravated iatrogenic sexual abuse” (aggravated because of the additional ramifications of risk & inaccuracy- sexual abuse because of the dynamics of the situation).

  34. Kleigh says:

    Ro, with this new health care law how could insuers still drop people that dont have screening? I dont see how they can get away with that much longer. And do you know witch companys do not for screening. I never herd of blue cross blue shild doing that?

    • Ro says:

      I’m not sure, but I do hope it stops soon. I highly doubt that Blue Cross/Blue Shield does that (I want that insurance more than any other, they seem like the best). They’re considered to be one of the most patient friendly insurance companies, and from what I’ve heard, they’re very much about backing their patient’s decisions and providing options. Everyone I know who uses Blue Cross/Blue Shield loves it. I believe Kaiser insurance does practice, or at least threaten to drop people. I read a comment online somewhere, where a group of women were discussing insurance companies that were pro-screening to the point of dropping card holders. I’m 90% sure Kaiser was listed, but I may be wrong. There were around 3 or 4 companies, I believe that were listed. However, even if your insurance company doesn’t pull that, I think it’s becoming more commonplace for insurance companies to send notifications about screening. My insurance company emailed me about it not too long ago (On my 20th birthday saying in a year I would need to go for my first exam! They made it sound like a rite of passage and that I would have the best, most amazing experience being screened/examined. No, really, they used adjectives like “painless” “quick” “life-saving” “necessary to be healthy” “part of being a grown woman” etc.), so I removed myself from their list. They said they would send information in the mail, but I can just rip those up without looking at them, as opposed to being e-mailed all the time about needing to be screened.

      • Kleigh says:

        O my. that whould discust me. and they have no rite telling you how you would feel about those exams. did you tell them to stop sending letters. And i wonder when you turn 21 if they will hound you till you have an exam.

      • Alex says:

        Wow, it’s none of those things! This kind of thing gets looked at with understanding, but what THEY think being implemented is the issue in the first place. I don’t understand why someone would see it as other than third-party orchestrated actions of a penetrative nature. I do understand the concept of someone figuring it’s an immature thing to block something like that, but I’d think the whole point would be that you’re making your own assessments (complete with suspicion) & living your life in a manner suitable to you. I also don’t get the addition of children into their little ads (I’d think a woman would not want this kind of thing to happen to those children). Also, if she’s detrimented by whatever situation, she’s not going to be able to do the “mother thing” as easily. It’s pretty sick to use motherly love to sabotage someone. It runs a pretty close parallel to kidnapping, actually.

        It’s not about securing their support, people. I’ve mentioned it in earlier posts, but trying to “recruit” someone is a losing battle. Don’t have an opponent-dependant style of argument. I have a question: What did you women think when you were told about these things? When it was portrayed as a decision someone else makes & it’s outside your discretion, what did you feel? It occurs to me that the implied point is that someone claiming charitable intentions has the right to act as they see fit (if it’s an attack, it may or may not be wrong- but if it’s “helping” then they act at will & annex other people with their decisions). Another question I’d like to ask is: How would you like to be treated? I have an overall understanding, but I was wondering how you’d articulate it (might be useful to state whatever that is if someone’s giving you problems, too).

        I understand men tend to be more confrontational than women, but would you prefer to endure confrontation or situation? They definitely shouldn’t make it so hard on women (and the women are not necessarily any better- they’d know how a woman thinks & might be better able to use that against them or just the presumed trustability between women). Maybe listening to some psych-up music before dealing with doctors? I’ve also had a hard time understanding how the esteem they are held in doesn’t change due to these circumstances. Why don’t they get “thrown out” emotionally?

  35. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    I’d be sending them a letter (it could be anonymous, if you preferred) explaining why they’d lost my business. I find that incredible…mind your own damn business would be my message. Screening is my decision, nothing to do with an insurance company. Informed consent? Over-treatment? Over-diagnosis?

  36. Kleigh says:

    i have noticed on tv they are showing woman up insturips geting exams like its no big deal. some even make a joke out of it. it is like they are trying to normalize gyn exams.

  37. Ro says:

    Kleigh – They do tell women how they would feel about those exams, and then when women feel differently, they reprimand them for it. If a woman says it’s painful, she’s told that it’s her fault for tensing up or that she’s too sensitive and won’t be able to handle having sex. I’ve heard women say they’ve been told those things and it’s terrible. You can’t tell somebody how they feel. They haven’t sent any letters yet, just the one email but I opted out of the email system as soon as I got it. I’m sure the letters will start when I’m 21, though.

    It is disgusting that they show that like it’s no big deal. It is a big deal. Some women may have health problems in which it is absolute necessity – I get that and I’m not trying to discredit it. However, that is a very intimate and personal situation. Nothing about that situation should ever be glamorized or made public. I think people joke about it because it is difficult for a lot of women to deal with psychologically. It’s sort of a defense mechanism. Sort of like how people who are really insecure sometimes make fun of themselves. They’re way beyond normalized at this point – they’re considered absolute necessity.

    Alex – You’re right that it isn’t any of those things. In some cases, for some women, it might be one or two of those things, but not all of them. False advertisement at its finest. As you mentioned before, social engineering really plays a part in all of this. That’s why so many do not question the system. It is sick that they use motherly love to coerce women into screening, but it works and they know that. I’ve never thought of the comparison to kidnapping before, but there certainly are some similar parallels.

    I felt absolutely disgusted when I was told these things, and even worse when it was portrayed as something I would have to without my own input or decision to do so. I felt literally sick over it. You’re spot on with “someone claiming charitable intentions” – that seems to be a big part of marketing as far as screening goes. I would like to be treated as a mature individual who has made an informed decision and not have to deal with harassment or questioning. I would like my no to be accepted as a no and have that be the end of it.

    Confrontation is better than the situation, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Some doctors get incredibly emotional/angry when patients refuse to screen. Which goes back to the point of playing off of emotions. When someone is incredibly upset, you’re more likely to give in for their sake. Take for example that male doctor who spoke on the panel in the video Elizabeth shared. He did not want to participate in the PSA screening, but his surgeon got incredibly angry so he finally did it just to make the surgeon happy. Certainly, some psych-up music would help to an extent, and being knowledgeable about the situation helps as well. So these conversations and comments are beneficial from a psychological viewpoint. The knowledge of tactics being used is powerful. You can see through what they’re trying to do much easier if you go in beforehand knowing what might happen. The reason the esteem they are held in doesn’t change is because they have been placed on a pedestal for so long. Once again, social engineering.

    • Alex says:

      I’m glad these back-and-forths are helpful! It’s amazing that you’re not even 21, but women twice or three times your age can’t get this straight (a point worth mentioning if you’re having an argument with one of them). The concept that a woman abrogates the doctors choice is somewhat lost on them (not all, I know- but annulling things of this nature doesn’t seem to occur to them). Your refusal generates a cessation of their activities, period. I learned a couple of new words, so I thought I’d throw them out there.

      I always found it enjoyable to cause issues to enemies. Their being upset in some way, shape, or form was a good thing- since they started it. It doesn’t universally pain me that someone else is miserable, it depends on what makes them miserable. I guess I have “good and bad WOLF” style of ethics. Actually, there’s a bit of history with that: In the biblical days, shepherding was a very common profession & it was well known- so there’s a lot of biblical references to sheep & lambs (more identifiable references). The things is, people interpreted this a bit too literally started seeing themselves as members of a flock (like prey animals). So they started going after the actual predator animals in the willderness (which, even if you believe that people were designed to be vegetarian, never really attacked people very often- actually, human beings are predators in the food sense). This was its own problem & caused a bunch of ecological issues, too- but, socially, it also caused some problems. Anybody with any “teeth,” or an edge, or survivability (whatever you want to call it) was seen that way, too. Those were traits that would be both respected & reviled (and it made the people in these cultures very anxious & jittery- which would lead to problems within the community like dependancy & trust issues). The cultures that identified more with the predators tended to be a bit more mellow with each other & handled the problems that did come up better. This is in Indiginous Knowledge by Raymond Pierotti, if you wanted to know.

      • Ro says:

        Alex – I think the reason that older women don’t weight out the facts and make informed decisions isn’t necessarily because they can’t get it straight. I think it has to do more with the fact that they and their mothers were the first generations to be coerced. When they were growing up, they didn’t have easy access to resources of evidence and statistics because there was no internet (at least not public access). Furthermore, as I’m sure a lot of them are victims of over-treatment, from a psychological standpoint it’s easier to just continue what you’re doing as a means to justify the fact that someone has done wrong to you. It’s easier than dealing with the actual fact that you have been mistreated.

  38. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Quick, easy and painless….umm, how arrogant, that’s our call. Telling women how we should feel protects the testing, don’t want to put women off, so if “you” find it painful, you’re the problem…you’re over-reacting etc. The test is just perfect…or so the hype goes.

    Ro, you missed a huge bullet. A pap test at 21 carries a 1 in 3 risk of a false positive and that could mean a colposcopy and biopsy.
    The damage this testing causes to young women is a scandal…long standing evidence shows the testing does not prevent the very rare cases that occur in young women anyway, so we’re testing and damaging huge numbers of young women for no benefit.
    Of course, it generates very nice profits for the medical profession.

    • Alex says:

      Not to sound like I’m accusing you of anything, but I would suggest not saying “we” when discussing things like this. It’s THEM, anyway- but it might cause some problems when making a point (someone maybe feels blamed for things that they didn’t do, at the very least). Not to split hairs, but it’s something that comes up. Good to “lock on” to an enemy. Another thing is that someone might do a bit of a denial thing (disregarding a situation so as not to be associated with it). That instant guilt someone might feel might distance them from the subject, too- kind of an aversion generated by that feeling. It’s a real common way of phrasing things, I know, but it does cause problems (someone might even feel a little bit of a self-preservation type of jolt- like dissolving this type of situation would be mangling themselves in a way). All these things are a bit image-based (I guess that’s the right term for it). Of course someone shouldn’t feel any guilt for something that isn’t their fault, but the phrasing might distance some people right off the bat.

      By-the-way: I do get what you mean- just wanted to offer a strategic suggestion.

    • Ro says:

      Elizabeth – That is a big point, and also one of the reasons I’ve chosen not to participate in screening. That is a big risk. If 2 of my friends are screening and so am I, odds are that one of us will get a false positive. Furthermore, something I was thinking about, with all of the hormonal changes in young women, a woman my age (or younger) being screened could end up with several false positives in a row. The chances of that would be increased for women who use tampons, as those are a known factor in causing false positives. So, in theory, a little-to-no risk woman who does not actually have any sort of disease could end up having multiple unnecessary treatments before even reaching the age of 25-35 (there’s still debate over what the most effective age is, but it’s the principle of the matter). The woman in question might not even be HPV positive – which is what the screening program sometimes catches. The other rare strands aren’t even caught by screening (at least that was my understanding).

  39. Kleigh says:

    I thing that irks me is all of the woman they show on tv are healthy symptom free happy woman. I know there is woman that really do have gyn problems. but to push these exams on all healthy females is stupid to me. If woman only has these exams when they were rally having a problem thin doctors would lose alot of money. Its like they are looking for somthing that isnt there. and Its almost like its okay to invade the female body bc there is a opening. they have invented speculums dildo style ultra sounds. it just seems like they keep inventeding things to invade are bodies bc of the way female bodie is seen to be for penetration. Sorry for the tmi .

    • Ro says:

      Kleigh – My point wasn’t so much that there are in fact women who have gyn problems and would benefit, as much as it was that such exams are intimate and personal (no matter what the media or medical profession try to say). So instruments/details involving such exams should not be publicly advertised. In my opinion, it’s incredibly disrespectful. Especially to women who do have regular exams as a result of health issues. The women ARE always healthy and symptom-free happy women. Look at the campaign ads – they’re always smiling and happy and relieved to know that nothing is wrong with them. They are – in many cases – looking for something that isn’t there. That’s the point, to an extent, of screening. Screening catches a few cases here and there which are accurate, but causes more over-treatment than needed treatment and misses a lot of cases as well. It’s a gamble. You may be one of the lucky few to benefit, but you could also end up causing yourself harm or undergo years of screening only to have them miss your case. That’s why patients need to be informed. “It’s almost like it’s okay to invade the female body because there is an opening” – could not have said it better myself. I often question why people think because there is an opening that it’s an open invitation for them to stick whatever they want inside. I have my own concerns in regards to the tools used in gynecology. Whenever you are inserting man-made products into your body that can possibly create scratches, carry infection, or tear open the skin, I feel as though that’s always a risk. Why do you think surgeons operate in sterilized rooms and use sterilized tools? (I am aware that there are some surgeons out there who have made mistakes [whether intentionally or on accident, this is another subject entirely] but as a general statement they take sterilization and sanitation very seriously). As far as the internal ultrasound equipment goes, I think it’s disgusting. External ultrasounds do an adequate job, in my opinion. That’s another point. With all of the technology available now, I believe we could completely do away with invasive exams. However, I doubt that will ever happen. Less invasive procedures tend to be more accurate from what I’ve read (which is interesting), so there would be a loss of income and of course personal interests as well.

      • Kleigh says:

        they have made that trans vaginal part of prenatal care. It disscusts me. it is shaped like a penis and to me that is so disrespectfull. my cusin screemed out in pain when she was having one as part of prenatal care. she cried out and said “this hurts” and they didnt stop. this tools are disrespectfull.

  40. Kleigh says:

    And its like woman are supose to be able to handel penetration.

  41. Mary says:

    Don’t know where to post this but this thread seems to be getting the most traffic. Finally, an article discussing the harms of testing. Pity it’s in such an obscure paper.
    http://islandgazette.net/news-server5/index.php/local-business-news/business-news/health-and-wellness/19890-outdated-practice-of-annual-cervical-cancer-screenings-may-cause-more-harm-than-good

    • Ro says:

      I’m glad to see that more information about over-screening is being published. However, it still seems to be very pro-screening. There’s very little about informed consent, and the article is worded as though the only issue is with over-screening and that there is nothing wrong with the screening system itself. It’s a step forward though, it’s definitely an improvement from what has been published in the past.

  42. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    We may see more of this type of article now the US and Canadian system wants women to move away from annual screening. (even if it’s often ignored at the consult level) It seems women are still being coerced by some doctors into annual testing before they get their repeat for the Pill. Something needs to be done about that…it’s difficult to change your doctor in some countries. Also, unethical or incompetent doctors will still scare/urge women into over-screening. “Why take the risk?” etc…
    It won’t be easy to turn around decades of misinformation and scare mongering.

    We’ll probably see more news releases about the “safety” of winding back our program to 3 yearly testing from 25, getting women ready for the change. (and doctors)
    The “advice” given to women seems to be the end result of a tussle between vested and political interests and keeping various groups happy, like the huge number of cc survivors. (read: over-treated) It has little to do with following the evidence, preventing/detecting as much cancer as possible and minimizing the impact on the vast majority who can never benefit from testing.
    If women make an informed decision, they can put their health and well-being first.
    Hope your study is going well, Mary.

  43. Ro says:

    I wasn’t sure where to post this, but social engineering and ads/campaigns have been mentioned quite a bit under this post, so I thought I’d share here. My friends have been passing this video around like wildfire, and the general consensus is that it’s cute/funny. It just made my skin crawl. They use incredibly young girls (around age 10/11, maybe younger) to market their product, which is mail-delivered tampons. That’s alright I suppose, considering some girls do start their period at that age. However, the term “gyno” starts being thrown around. These girls say that word like it’s nothing. Furthermore, they’re associating visiting a gynecologist with starting your period. Even though it isn’t directly saying to visit a gyno when you get your period, there’s heavy implications. In my opinion, this seems to be extreme social engineering. Here’s the link for the article about it and the video: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-tampon-subscription-service-hello-flo-santa-your-vagina-151474

  44. Kleigh says:

    i was in fourth grade when i started my period. If I had been taken to a gyno at 10 i would have had a nervis breakdown. girls that young shoulnt be worring about gyn exam.

    • Alex says:

      Girls that young shouldn’t be worrying about pervy adults looking to play doctor, either (not that it’s a good thing directed toward older females). The schools have started worrying me, seeing as sometimes they like to make their own decisions (some of them creepy). When something goes missing or they think one of the kids has something on them things get pretty strange (there was a case recently in Canada about them making girls take off their shirts & bras over possible cheating with a cell phone- one was missing from the collection bin before some test they were having).

      Maybe they try to implement their own ideas with medical things, too? I remember Diane had mentioned something about them doing exams on the girls saying that they wouldn’t graduate without them (also something about not getting into college). Maybe they’d get their own ideas about what they were doing that day? Have any of you had something like this go on?

      I wonder what mothers teach their daughters (or fathers, for that matter- it IS a self-defense issue on this level). I wouldn’t think they’d go along with things like this, whether they can articulate things at the moment or not! I notice someone tends to ask someone what their reasons for refusal are, instead of that being the end of it (the refusal is “appealed,” basically). It doesn’t matter if they validate someone’s reasons, but I think they know that sometimes it’s hard for someone to articulate things.

      • Kleigh says:

        The Acog is now telling mothers to take there daughters for a gyn exam at 12. that is disturbing to me. and one site I read was telling moms they cant trust there girls and even if they are with them all of the time kids still sneak around at school and have sex in the bathrooms. that all girls need to be dcreened for stds and for birth control. I dont want any one telling me how to raise my kids and what rite do they have to say we cant trust are girls. they also tell married woman they need std screening bc they cant trust there husband to be faith full. it scares me how controling the Acog is with woman and they make self serving asumptions about are lives.

      • Alex says:

        That is disturbing! That Jennifer whatever-her-name-is book, right? it’s pretty twiested that they give such bad advice under the guise of an “open, frank discussion.” How is setting someone up a helpful thing? They shouldn’t be giving this advice to grown women, much less “tweens,” but it’s got an air of recruitment to it- like turning the mother against the child.

        I still have a hard time believing that a mother would impose this kind of situation on her own daughter (if a MAN did that, you can bet all the details of this situation would be pertinent information). It’s not really different from her doing that herself & you’d think her “love” would bring her to carefully review & assess her information (if you really hated someone, you’d aim your shot- I’d think it’d go the same way with consideration). What about the fathers? Do they not care if someone tries to bully their daughter into these things? They don’t have any concern over what quality of information their child is getting (not to mention that it’s information they’d be basing life decisions on)?

  45. Mary says:

    Thanks Elizabeth,
    More stuff about what we’ve been saying all along is now in the mainstream media. A story about having to redefine cancer. I really do see the start of change. I wonder if any of the people who’ve we’ve had debates with over the years on various sites remember the stuff we’ve been saying all along was right after all.
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/29/report-suggests-sweeping-changes-to-cancer-detection-and-treatment/?ref=health&_r=0

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I can feel it too, and isn’t it interesting the lengths they’re going to…to cover their tracks. “New” evidence/research suggests it’s “now” “safe” for Australian women to move to 3 yearly pap tests (but continue to have 2 yearly testing until we’re absolutely sure; the final report on our screening program and recommended changes is due in mid 2014)

      Ummm, perhaps, someone should have looked at the evidence about 50 years ago, or even 25 years ago. The Finnish program has been in place since the 1960s and, “Time to Change the Policy” by Dr James Dickinson (and other articles calling for change by Gerard Wain etc.) go back about 11+ years now.
      They clearly don’t want to alert women, so are treading carefully, make it seem like we’re being super careful for the benefit of women.
      Not a word about over-treatment or the research into Gardasil that requires the continued pap testing of teenagers and young women.

      Alexandra Barrett is being quite vocal now about breast screening, some momentum is building there, she has another piece in “The Conversation” this week.
      I think more of our doctors will feel safe enough to speak out now, safety in numbers, and they can’t keep selling the same old rubbish, they know they’ll be challenged by informed women. Notice though the articles that cover the “new” research never permit comments…when you’re telling more whoppers, don’t want to be called out on it.
      https://theconversation.com/growing-uncertainty-about-breast-cancer-screening-15997

  46. Ro says:

    Kleigh – I was wondering why so many girls and women thought that it was necessary to go to a gynecologist as soon as they got their first period. I guess the ACOG was behind it all along. That’s very disturbing indeed. The sad thing is that people will actually believe their spouse is being unfaithful or that their child is lying to them, because that’s being said. It’s sad, really, when you think about it, that people put more trust in strangers than their own family. I think it says a lot about how warped society is. They do make a lot of assumptions and sound very controlling. It’s just wrong. Furthermore, STDs can be checked through blood/urine samples. There seems to be this idea that STDs can only be caught through a pelvic exam – which is a lie. In fact, they can be missed. Blood/urine samples are more accurate. So if someone was concerned with infidelity (based off their own personal intuition, not the ACOG’s bs) then they could get checked for STDs without any invasive procedures. The whole thing is so disgusting to me. How could a 12 year old possibly have any benefit from that sort of exam? They’re still a child. Their organs aren’t even developed yet. I feel so bad for those girls whose mothers forced them into the exam. Even as an adult, the idea of such an invasive and innacurate procedure gives me anxiety and creeps me out.

    • Alex says:

      Probably wouldn’t benefit from it, anyway- even if they were grown. That’s being pervy with children, and that’s all. “Attaching a rider” to something is a tactic that gets used a lot. Trying to convey the image of “well, this is one part of the overall picture” is a sneaky thing to do (like saying “this is part of being a woman”). Overall, it’s another variation of the “fixed situation” I mentioned in earlier posts.

      Specifically, I think it would be called trying to convey an image of an “irreducible complexity” (although, I think “irreducible quantity” is a bit more apt). The term was in reference to biology, but it works as a descriptive term (in case someone tries to act as though it’s a non-applicable term & you’re an idiot for using words you don’t understand). A scam of this nature is abuse, as well as fraud. It’s a situation orchestrated by someone else, not a freely engaged-in action. Their capacity to make determinations is impaired by deception (or “vitiated”- a fancy, more legal-sounding & potentially scary term).

      • Ro says:

        Alex – Probably not, but from a biological/science-based viewpoint, there would be absolutely NO possible benefit, and a lot of harm. The “attaching a rider” tactic does get used a lot. As you mentioned, the most common is “it’s just part of being a woman”. A lot of things are worded that way. I read an interesting post on women against stirrups a while back, and it was talking about how women have been culturalized to believe that menopause is an illness or something to suffer through, but that actually isn’t the case. There are natural methods to ease through it, and prior to studies being done in the 1900s (I believe, possibly earlier), it was not considerd to be an ailment or something harmful. It’s slightly different, but still of the same sort of tactic. It’s treating something normal as an illness, saying that women just have to suffer, even though it’s not something to suffer through. As far as I’m concerned, all screening programs being marketed in their current state are abuse and fraud. Once unbiased facts, evidence, and statistics are publicly released and applied to programs, then it would be a case of personal decision for those at risk and abuse and fraud wouldn’t even be part of it. However, in this case especially, it it severe fraud and abuse. I think a lot of/most cases of screening are orchestrated by someone else. Doctors or parents or someone saying “you HAVE to/you MUST do this or that”, rather than the individual freely-engaging after being informed.

  47. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Women in the UK will get a new brochure on breast screening, which includes some information on over-diagnosis. It still doesn’t go far enough, the NCI have found the risks exceed any benefit, I’d rely on their assessment any day of the week.
    Look at this though, some still find it impossible to accept women really have a choice when it comes to screening, they clearly see women as second class citizens or mere bodies to be ordered about…or they have a vested or political interest in testing, so numbers matter to them, not individual women.

    “While breast cancer charities welcomed the move, Mia Rosenblatt, head of policy and campaigns at Breast Cancer Campaign, said it was important that women “are presented with the key facts about screening”. But, she added: “However this brings with it the potential that some women will be concerned as a result of this new focus on over diagnosis. This may have an impact on screening attendance.” Screening take-up now be monitored for any potential fall and all women should attend appointments, she added”

    So, she accepts it’s important to give women the key facts, but then finishes by “telling” women they should attend appointments. How on earth does that sit with giving women real information and a say in whether they screen or not? These people need to be challenged, they do not have the right to dismiss informed consent and continue to order women about, counting us off like ignorant sheep.
    Those who don’t get it and continue along the same paternalistic and unethical path should be challenged and counseled, ship up or ship out!
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/16/breast-cancer-risks-nhs-leaflet

  48. Diane Spero says:

    my brother told me his Dr said that all relatives should colon scoppies because polyps
    are genetic. he doesn’t understand my Dr, phobia. i am scared of this procedure, as i don’t like being examined. any of you guys feel like this?

  49. S says:

    Wow, finally I found someone who understands. I sometimes avoid health care because of invasive exams. The last time I refused a pelvic exam, the PA told me that I HAVE to. She was so nasty. I did not comply. I made my next appointment with the Dr.; not with her. If he says I have to have pelvic and breast exams, I will refuse. I’m seeing a doctor for cholesterol problem!

  50. Darin Simons says:

    I will never get check old school I will always tell a doctor no I will go blood lab route always and when it comes to my personal areas doctor’s better stay away from it and when it comes if I ever have a wife she has the right to say no to and you know what I’ll be damned if a doctor is going to take me and my wife if I ever have a wife it’s not for a doctor or anybody dictates my f****** health if there gonna do that kinda crap getting people personal area the the body I’ll stay away from doctors it’s not up to the doctor to choose my health and everything it’s up to me this is my body and they better stay away from it I don’t belong to man’s government what they think they’re pretty they’re selfish they’re idiots I don’t like doctors in the government government stay away from me they don’t own me what they think they do to the one that created me Jesus me not man’s government when it comes to my health in my body they’re going to respect me in doctor’s 2 I will never get naked in front of them there’s other ways to check the body without getting too personal blood lab route kinesiology iridology go to someone that’s licensed practitioner that knows more than a doctor does is a best way to check a person’s health I will never let a doctor dictate me ever all that doctor’s name is just label it don’t mean nothing they put their pants on the same way as everyone of us do don’t mean nothing to me sorry for feeling the way I do but no when it comes to craft like this I think they’re God and everything else they’re not I hate doctors doctors are not the ones that could diagnose people go to your license practitioner that that that knows more than doctors does go to someone that’s highly training Kinesiology and iridology they’re the ones going to help a person out more than a doctor’s

  51. Darin Simons says:

    Don’t let doctor’s boss you around you are a person that has feelings and everything and don’t let doctors push you around like that I’m not going to let doctor’s push me around I’ll stand firm and I will stand up to doctors and governments remember they don’t own you the ones that created does in the one that died for us doctors in Mans government don’t have a right to dictate it it’s everyone’s choice if they want to be checked down there old school or it’s their choice if they want to go lab blood work naked check everything by blood lab work it doesn’t have to be personal where it where a person have to strip down or get naked from the doctor remember we were the doctor’s boss where the customer if a doctor is an able to do that go to another Physicians that would respect a person’s privacy and modesty remember don’t let doctors push you around everybody has the right to stand up and say what they want it’s not up to the doctors that make that choice I hate doctors and I will never go to him as long as I live

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