The marketing of pap tests to promote screening for cervical cancer among young women can be misleading and often does not tell the whole story. The ads feature young, happy, healthy, smiling groups of women, engaging in activities such as shopping, eating ice cream, and bonding with friends or mothers; all appealing images being linked to pap tests. The young women in some ads appear dedicated to promoting what they believe to be life saving interventions.
What the ads fail to reveal is the fact that cervical cancer is rare, especially in young women under the ages of 25 – 30, while at the same time these young women are the women who are most at risk of false positive pap test results. The false positive pap test results can lead to additional invasive and potentially harmful tests/procedures. “Evidence considered by the NSC showed cervical cancers among women under 25 were extremely rare and most abnormalities clear up on their own. Screening this group would mean a high number would be unnecessarily referred for further investigation, leading to anxiety, the committee said.” http://www.gponline.com/News/article/1163720/Scotland-raises-cervical-screening-age/#disqus_thread Research has revealed that more harm than good comes from screening young women, and this research has prompted guidelines in Canada to recommend screening not begin until age 25. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/01/07/cervical-cancer-pap-hpv-test.html The ads marketing pap tests do not clarify that the young women targeted by the ads are those same women who are most at risk for often unnecessary colposcopy/biopsy such as the cervical cone biopsy (conization) shown in the following video (WARNING: The following image may be disturbing to some viewers)
Link to video of cone biopsy (conization): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlCh9QgiOso
In addition to promotional and misleading ads, pressure and coercion, women are not being offered information on the benefits and risks (as above) of screening. Nor are they offered a choice. Women are still finding it difficult to obtain medications (esp. birth control pills) and treatment without first submitting to a pap test. Informed consent is still missing from pap tests and pelvic exams: www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html
Thank you to the inspirational commenters of Blogcritics and to Sia for her comment #9375 http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/unnecessary-pap-smears/comments-page-188/#comments
I think the cone biopsey should me illegal. It is barberic and most woman have no idea of how common false positve pap smears are and how invasive and dangerus the follow ups are. shame on the medical comunity from hiding this from woman its disrespectful and inhuman.
Cervical biopsies are outright tortures! They are extremely painful, absolutely barbaric and highly damaging procedures. That’s what we get when a procedure is invented, standardized and often performed by medical professionals who don’t have the organs in question — male gynecologists. Male doctors don’t have cervix, uterus or vagina, so they don’t have a slightest idea how terrible gynecological procedures feel: often performed without any anesthesia, with outdated tools and techniques. It doesn’t hurt the man, so why change?
Female gynecologists are trained by the same system, so they do no better. When a female patient screams in excruciating pain and begs a doctor to stop the torture, she is either yelled at to shut up, or told that she is a hysterical wuss and imagines the pain because cervix doesn’t have nerve endings. What a male-invented nonsense! And, because senior male ob-gyns run the system, the procedures don’t change.
The picture above shows a cone biopsy, and while being an absolute slaughter, women at least are given some anesthetics for this procedure. But there are also punch biopsy and endocervical curettage. They are called “quick and minor procedures” by the medical profession and are performed without any pain management most of the time. Before a biopsy, women aren’t told what excruciating pain they will be put through. Instead, they are deceived that it’s a very simple thing and at most “they may feel some cramping”. It’s a lie! Most women will be overwhelmed by the enormous pain, will be greatly traumatized and will never forget the horrifying experience. Often, women not even explained properly that they will have a biopsy. After an abnormal pap smear they are sent to colposcopy and misled that it’s all about “looking at their cervix through a microscope”, and then the terrible pain comes: alongside with looking in colposcope, someone is tearing their cervix apart with sharp instruments.
A punch biopsy usually starts with cervix being cleansed and soaked with a vinegar or iodine solution, which causes burning. Then special forceps called a tenaculum may be applied to hold the cervix steady for the biopsy. Tenaculum have sharp claws and the “progressive” medicine found nothing better for “holding” cervix than to pierce women’s cervix and grab it by the pierced wounds. Then come the biopsy forceps: they look like pliers with a row of sharp teeth. Doctor grabs the cervix with those pliers, the teeth plunge into the tissue, then the forceps are clasped together and the doctor pulls, twists and tears a part of the cervix off. No anesthetics, no proper explanations! The woman realizes what an enormous pain this “minor procedure” is, but it’s too late, her legs are in stirrups, she is already damaged physically and mentally. The punch biopsy slaughter is repeated a few more times if the doctor sees more “suspicious cells”. No one will perform anything like that on male genitals and tell the man to suck it up or that he doesn’t have nerve endings there! But the system thinks that women can be put through tortures. After all, they must have children and must be fine with pain, so why bother.
Endocervical curettage is even worse. The pain sensations can’t be described.
The woman leaves the office of her “heath care provider” bleeding, in great pain, violated and insane. But the horror doesn’t stop there. Many bleed and feel the pain for weeks. Many will get the excessive wounds infected or develop scars, which will make periods unbearable and often lead to miscarriages and birth complications.
There are also the endometrial biopsies – it was described to me by a doctor as “taking a little tube and taking some cells from the uterus.” What they don’t mention with that is that a) that “little tube” has to get into the uterus so it’s either going to mean dilating the cervix or forcing it through; b) it’s intensely painful. I’ve never experienced it (and I NEVER WILL) but the one person I know who had this told me that she fainted on the table from the pain. They didn’t warn her and she didn’t have ANY pain control or sedation. It’s barbaric.
It is another EXTREMELY painful procedure, but women are never warned about the degree of pain they will have to endure. The medical profession knows that if women learn the truth, they will never agree to submit to these tortures. At the same time, despite all the technological progress, nothing is done to make these procedures less painful or to avoid them whenever possible. Doctors send women to this slaughter whenever anything “suspicious” is found and they prefer to lie and deceive women by saying how simple and minor those biopsies are – “we will just take a tiny bit of tissue… blah-blah”.
This deception not only leaves women in immense physical pain they have never consented to, but also makes them feel like victims of deception and violation. I wonder what men would do if they were deceived and their genitals were tortured like that! I bet the procedures would have been changed and made painless very quickly. I have never heard of a man fainting from pain during a biopsy – they get anesthetics for every tiny cut. But women are still treated like it’s 15th century!
The problem is that despite these “tests” being extremely painful and damaging, they haven’t been changed in decades. Because most women don’t refuse these tests. A doctor says “it has to be done”, and the woman goes to this butchery without much resistance.
Women who have never been through these tortures before simply don’t know what they are heading for. They are told it’s a “simple test”, “only slight discomfort”, “you’ll feel just a little pinch”, “the doctor will just take a tiny bit of tissue here and there”… And when they realise what an unbearably painful procedure that is, it’s too late. Then, the women who had this excruciating experience before are told that it’s the only way to save their lives from cancer, and that they must endure the torture again on order not to leave their children motherless. They are afraid, they are scared to death, they can’t eat or sleep while waiting for the doctor appointment and test, but they still go.
Cervical biopsies, punch biopsies, endocervical curretages and endometrial biopsies are real tortures, they have been like this for decades, and they will stay like this for decades more, simply because not enough women refuse these tests. If we keep marching to the same butchery – the butchery will never change.
When the majority of men refused uncomfortable prostate exams, the medical system quickly invested some money into finding a better test. With female tests however the medical system prefers to spend money on tv ads and stupid posters to get more women into the tests rather than improving the procedures and making the biopsies and treatments less painful and less damaging.
Well said Alice. Also, these “treatments” and biopsies would be unnecessary to begin with if women were not scared into worrying about this rare cancer in the first place. For those women who wished to screen for cervical cancer an HPV test would be far more accurate that the antiquated and inaccurate pap, and the HPV test would take 95% of women out of the equation as their risk of cervical cancer would be close to zero. The 5% who tested positive for HPV would be the only ones who might benefit from further tests.
Here is a disturbing account of the “discomfort” caused by a cervical biopsy:
“She showed me a long thin instrument with a thicker end with what looked like teeth and other end with scissor like handles and in she went. she kept telling me to cough and i heard a click noise and a big shooting pain that made me flinch. i started to shake a little as i found it quite painfull, on the end i saw a tiny tiny piece of flesh on the end about the size of one of those little white balls you’d find in a bean bag.
She then said to the nurse she needed to do it again! in she went.. but my god this time the pain was intense! it went on a couple of seconds longer than the last one and i slid up the chair saying OW OW PLEASE STOP then started shaking and burst into tears. The tissue she took was a lot bigger and the instrument was covered in blood.
Why Did this hurt so much??” http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101009020404AAbu84b
Goodness me. My heart was pounding while I was reading it. How can we stop women from undergoing such surgeries, how can we persuade them not to have them? What can we do? How can we act? This blog is just a drop in the ocean. The goverments incite such things and they are going on. What would you suggest doing in the matter? We are writing our concerns here on the blog but are we going out of the blog with it? I’m afraid we’re not. (Only among friends but not globally). I know that petitions can work provided they are written firmly and convincingly and have a great number of signatures. But…is it a good idea in your view? Here women really present a lot of knowledge and this knowledge can be put in writing and go further…just my suggestion.
Jola it is really frustrating when you can see the harms being inflicted on so many women, but feeling helpless to stop it. Petitions in my own experiences with them don’t seem to work very well. What does seem to be making a difference are the posts and comments available to women searching for information on the net. This blog is just a drop in the ocean, but every time one of us makes a comment, or starts up a blog, it provides an antidote to all the propaganda and misinformation that women are bombarded with each time they search. Elizabeth has been working at this for years (15 I believe) informing women who in turn inform others. Other women from Blogcritics have been at this for years as well, they don’t give up or back down. There has been a shift, change is happening, more and more women are becoming informed – we can and we are making a difference. The recent article on the New York Times site together with the comments provided some fine evidence of that. I agree that it would be wonderful to speed up the process though, but I am at a loss as to how to go about it.
Yeah, that’s how the do it: clasp a bit of women’s cervix in metal teeth and just tear it off. No pain management, not even any true upfront information about how painful the procedure is. Just a lie about “some mild discomfort” and the absolute necessity of this excruciating torture with no alternatives.
Can anyone imagine anything of the like done to male genitals? No???
How about this being done repeatedly, to millions of men, for decades? No way???
Well, this is the wonderful women’s “life-saving” “health care”!
There seems to be a lack of concern about our privacy and putting us through painful ordeals…most are unnecessary as well.
I was watching “One Born Every Minute” and the father-to-be queried the need for something that made his wife uncomfortable…the nurse brushed him off with, “she won’t care about that when she’s in pain”….you could hear a woman groaning and obviously in extreme pain in the next room. Childbirth is normal, so the pain is normal, even women congratulate themselves for getting through it with no pain relief.
In this day and age is there any need for so much pain…I know some women want natural childbirth, but I wonder whether many women go through a lot more than necessary. If anyone else in the hospital was screaming out in pain…I doubt it would be fobbed off.
I wonder whether these attitudes find there way into women’s healthcare generally, we need to get “used” to exposure, after all we’ll have children one day and we “need” pap tests every 2 or 3 years…women themselves often say, “I lost my sense of privacy when I had kids, now I don’t care who looks down there”. i know women who gave birth in the private sector who certainly don’t feel that way and still value their bodily privacy. Some/many women never “get used” to pap tests.
I wonder whether these attitudes also, extend to punch biopsies etc….women in pain has been normalized in some ways…it’s part of being female. We can’t expect bodily privacy, dignity and pain-free procedures because we’re women. We’re supposed to just deal
with pain, when it relates to menstruation, childbirth or our cervix anyway.
My sister had a GA when she had a cone biopsy, but you still have the fear leading up to the procedure and the aftermath…pain, cramping, bleeding, nausea. To think we put so many women through these procedures unnecessarily says a lot about the way they view and respect women.
After Jade Goody died, there was a review of the screening program here in the UK because a lot of campaigns sprang up in the hope of lowering the screening age. The review came to the conclusion that any truly informed woman knows – paps are hazardous to the health of ALL women, but particularly dangerous to those young women who are at the lowest risk of developing the disease.
Problem is, by issuing this public statement; ‘Screening this group would mean a high number would be unnecessarily referred for further investigation, leading to anxiety.” The NHS is still LYING to the population. They’re implying that the only downside to paps is that they may cause you to worry. No sh*t, Sherlock! Most women would say that it’s well worth suffering a little anxiety and having to undergo some icky exams if it means ‘saving’ you from cancer. It disgusts me – even when there’s a much publicised review, the people in charge don’t dare reveal the true damage that this test does. Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen, eh?
Anonymous, well said. Most women really have no idea what risks they face every time they agree to a pap test – not that ‘agree’ is the right word. Most women are not given a choice. Given the high degree of risk due to the inaccuracy of the pap, it makes it all the more shameful that women are not offered informed consent.
Katrina I had to laugh at the “No sh*t Sherlock”. Anxiety is not the issue! Do drs not know what is being done to women? Maybe women should pack in a video player and show their dr the disgusting and mutilating cone biopsy they are at risk of when the pap test comes back falsely positive. And the test could be positive for many reasons, such as taking a bath, using a tampon, having sex, etc. Dr. Sherman (such a good one) has said:
“There are many recent recommendations suggesting that men be carefully told the options concerning prostate screening. We are just beginning to see that for breast cancer screening. But for cervical cancer screening there has been near silence on the issue.” (from link to article about informed consent above)
Note the line about “near silence on the issue”. As you have said, they don’t dare reveal the truth. Well, as a recent male commenter on a different post had said: “truth will out”.
Thanks so much for bringing this up!! I thought what happened to me was just a fluke or due to the level of health care we have here. I was one of the young women who came back with a false positive; it was SO scary…and then the Doc finally admitted that odds were, I would have nothing to worry about but *just in case* they wanted me to come for several follow-up visits. When I refused, they hounded me into the ground calling every other day pushing, pushing. pushing. 2 years later my pap was fine and has been so every year since then. Shameful.
MisBehaved Woman, I’m glad you refused the follow-up visits. Your way of refusing to sit still and behave yourself sure paid off. Your cervix should be thanking you. It takes courage to stand your ground against the fear of a false positive, especially given they were so relentless in hounding you. I always felt there was something wrong with this test but it was only after doing a great deal of digging for the facts that I was able to find evidence to support my feelings. The women over at Blogcritics (linked above) such as Elizabeth and the rest are able to answer any question related to pap tests, HPV, cervical cancer, and all related subjects, and have provided links to many peer reviewed articles and research in the comments section of the post “What doctors don’t want you to know . . .”. You, as I did, must have felt something wasn’t right with the test – and you were right.
Really appreciate you sharing this. You obviously made a considered and definite decision and then were subjected to what sounds like relentless pressure after you declined the follow-ups. Perhaps “No means No” only applies to those who don’t have a medical degree up on the wall. I noticed an ad for some something that might help out in these situations – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249284/New-anti-rape-thongs-planted-Victorias-Secret-shops-US-Europe.html#axzz2Jghd53F1
Probably good to wear these over your slacks 🙂
OMG! I do NOT dare to click that video!!! The picture already looks soooo horrendous!!!!
These doctors are butchers and OB/GYNs are the biggest misogynists ever!!!
And women, sorry to say so, NAIVE as hell!! After years of patriarchy they’re gonna think that male doctors who invented this shit and the government pushing them to have these paps CARE so much for them?!? Give me a break!
This to me just shows how women’s love for pap smears is a remnant of women’s addiction to masochism, their identification as natural victims and their unwillingness to shake off that last patriarchal influence and reluctance to truly stand in their power.
I mean, is the rape exam in itself not enough of a warning to them???!!! It SHOULD raise huge red flags, but it doesn’t for most of them. I hope this video will. What are the overall comments on this youtube video btw, since I don’t dare to click it ?
Yazzmyne you raise some hard hitting and great points. The video is extremely disturbing, and as my feelings and most likely many others’ feelings are similar, I have replaced the video with an image of a cone biopsy. I have left the link so those with the desire to see the full video still have access to do so. And to answer your question, there are few comments on the YouTube site.
It is madness that women are not told the risks they face when they have a pap test – a cone biopsy is one of those risks. Cone biopsies are something women (and men) have a hard time even looking at, yet this is being done to women – often unnecessarily. And is the tissue collected from the cervix destroyed afterwards, leaving it impossible to discover whether or not it was cancerous? If so, what is the purpose of a cone biopsy? If it is being done as a preventative measure in young women – well that makes no sense at all.
One more informative post from you! It is crucial for women to know that a “simple”, “life-saving” test can have some very ugly consequences – losing bits and pieces of your healthy cervix (or even your uterus) for nothing! Dr. Angela Raffle says it is unethical to screen women under 25, as screening doesn’t change the very small death rate in young women and the risk of false positives is very high – 1 in 3 women under the age 25 will have an abnormal result.
Cervical cancer is a rare cancer, the risk of progression of “abnormalities” to invasive cancer is very low. A proper RCT of cervical screening has never been done. All estimates involve some modelling.
1% of CIN1, 5% of CIN2 and 12% of CIN3/CIS progress to invasive cervical cancer (Ostör AG. Natural history of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: A critical review. Int J Gynecol Pathol 1993;12:186–192).
Over 80% of women with high grade CIN will not develop invasive cancer, but all need to be treated (Raffle AE, Alden B, Quinn M, Babb PJ, Brett MT. Outcomes of screening to prevent cancer: Analysis of cumulative incidence of cervical abnormality and modelling of cases and deaths prevented. BMJ. 2003;326:901–5).
Those figures are hard to swallow. Only 12% of high grade lesions (CIN3 and CIS) progress to invasive cervical cancer but all (100%!!) need to be treated because no one can identify these 12%. And how many women receive a cone biopsy/LEEP for a CIN2 result? Lots and lots of healthy women are unnecessarily harmed…
Countries like Finland and the Netherlands don’t unnecessarily damage young women and at least limit the damage done to healthy women 30 and older by offering the HPV primary testing program (Finland) and lengthening the screening interval (Netherlands).
Pardon, the last sentence should read “…by offering the HPV primary testing program (Netherlands) and lengthening the screening interval (Finland).”
Oh, I love to read posts from informed women, it makes my day. That knowledge will protect you…taking the time to review the evidence for and against these “simple” screening tests is the best form of medical insurance.
The fact is pap testing does not change the very small incidence and death rate in those under 30. Testing does not benefit young women, but these women produce the most false positives that can lead to this “simple” and “minor” procedure, which is in fact, anything but simple and minor.
Now this is why Finland has had a program commencing at age 30 since the 1960’s and they have the lowest rates of cc in the world and have no more cases of cc in young women than say Australia, who seriously over-screen young women.
I suspect fewer young Finnish and Dutch women would lose their lives due to cc as well…because they’re told the truth and given the best advice…forget pap testing, just see a doctor with any persistent and unusual symptoms. Whereas young women here are urged to have pap testing with no mention of this long standing research. We know these very rare cases in young women often result in false negative pap tests, which can falsely reassure and disadvantage women. Then we have the large number of young women who end up in day procedure having unnecessary procedures. These women often become passionate supporters of the program after their early “scare”…most never work out they were over-treated, insidious, isn’t it?
My younger sister had a cone biopsy after a false positive pap test, but she worked out quickly she had been over-treated and had not provided informed consent for the initial testing. The information she received from the GP was woefully inadequate and by the time she got to the gyn she was afraid and confused, it’s very hard to start studying and assess the evidence with an “abnormal” pap test sitting on file, many women end up railroaded into these procedures or want the “treatment” ASAP. Decades of misinformation and scare mongering has worked a treat.
I suspect very few women get much more than an order or
recommendation to test and “treat” from their doctors. In my sister’s case it was probably a new brand of tampons that caused irritation and the “abnormal” pap test. This “simple” test often leads to day procedure….the chance of that happening is vastly more likely than a woman being saved from cc. The tragedy, there was never a need to harm so
many…never. Yet we carry on in this country – misleading, testing and harming young
women. (and all women)
My sister was told that for every 50 cone biopsies, one turns out to be necessary…yet so much damage to prevent or catch a rare cancer has attracted very little research, how many of these procedures are still being done? Have they started at least testing these women for HPV before reaching for the day procedure form?
I’ve searched for research on excess cone biopsies and there is very little…when you look for research on the lifetime risk of referral, there is very little (Kavanagh et al concluded the lifetime risk of referral is 77%) Is it still 77%…where is the research? Yet if I want to know why some women are unscreened, take your pick, study after study…this is what happens when the whole system is on the nose….and it’s certainly not cancer screening, that requires informed consent and the benefits must exceed the risks. Lifetime risk of cc: 0.65%. All of this damage to screen and prevent a rare cancer that was in natural decline before testing even started….unbelievable.
Some great stats there.. Often cite some of those in my newspaper forum rants. Still, women struggle to get the message. What on earth is going on??
Eline, those are some shocking numbers and I agree they are hard to swallow. The statistics you have found are not easy to uncover, and I appreciate you making them accessible and for posting them here.
Same to you Elizabeth. I think the majority of women have no idea how difficult it is to uncover the truth about cervical cancer screening/pap testing – but then why would they? The truth has been so carefully hidden for so long that most don’t even think to question it. I was sad and angered to hear about what happened to your younger sister, and I hope she is doing okay now.
The following is copied from a recent article (that you might already have seen) regarding a decrease in numbers of women who are pap testing:
“The studies, based on data from the CDC’s Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, also found the following:
“Recent” Pap tests — meaning tests within the past three years — declined in women aged 30 and older who had not had hysterectomies. This was largely because Pap tests decreased in women 65 and older, from almost 74 percent in 2000 to about 65 percent in 2010.
Almost 59 percent of women aged 30 and older who had their reproductive organs removed had a Pap test in 2010, down from more than 73 percent in 2000.
Contrary to recommendations, 9 percent of women between the ages of 22 and 30 had not been screened, up from less than 7 percent in 2000.
Among women aged 30 to 64, recommended Pap tests within the previous three years decreased among those lacking health insurance — to about 69 percent in 2010 from about 75 percent in 2000.” http://news.health.com/2013/01/04/younger-women-start-to-follow-pap-test-guidelines-cdc/
The “spin” of the article is that women are beginning to follow new guidelines to screen less frequently, but in my own opinion the decrease in screening may in fact be due to more women becoming aware of the dangers and unreliability of pap tests, and of the fact that cervical cancer is rare.
I wonder if any women have actually died from cone biopsies. That lady lost a lot of blood. Have any of you ever heard of any deaths that resulted from cone biopsy? Most cone biopsies are actually unnecessary.
I doubt we’d hear about it…it certainly wouldn’t be in their next awareness campaign, that sort of thing is bad for business. I’m sure it’s happened and certainly women have been left with serious issues like cervical stenosis or incompetence. I’m also sure some have lost babies as a respect of prematurity or left with serious health problems.They’ll argue these are rare outcomes, but so is the cancer.
I should have said:
I’m also sure some have lost babies as a RESULT of prematurity, after damage to the cervix caused by over-treatment resulted in premature delivery and low birth weight.
I don’t know how many died of these biopsies, but if you read Dan’s story here http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/unnecessary-pap-smears/comments-page-192/ , you will see how a “tiny biopsy” can wreck lives.
Thank you BlogCritics Reader for providing the link to Dan’s story.
It is very disturbing about how young women are coerced into having pap smears without being told the truth about pap smears. We really need to reach out to college students. Thank you for this informational article!
Medical Patient Modesty received a very disturbing case from an 18 year old virgin college girl last year. She had a very bad case of swimmer’s ears so she went to the college infirmary. The male doctor gave her ear medicine. Then he looked at her history and said since she had a boyfriend and never have had any cancer screenings she was putting herself and her boyfriend at risk. He said we could take care of it right now. The girl told him she had not really prepared for anything but her ear. He laughed and said not to worry you don’t have to study for a pap test. He left saying he would send in a nurse to get me ready.
This girl said: I asked the nurse what cancer screenings they were going to do. She explained the pap, pelvic and breast exams. I told her I wasn’t expecting anything like that and hadn’t even showered since I was only expecting an ear exam. She said I could wash up in the bathroom. I felt the room closing in on me. I could feel myself shaking. I didn’t even know this guy and he was going to do these things to me. I got through it by staring at the ceiling and thinking about something else but when I told my boyfriend what happened he went bananas.
He wants me to put in a complaint because I went in for my ear and he touched me all over inside and out. I don’t know what to think, the doctor and nurse said it was for my own good and it needed to be done.
I shared some information with her about pap smears and Dr. Joel Sherman’s article about missing informed patient consent in pap smears. She was very upset. She said she was a virgin and that the doctor and nurse scared her into having the exam due to cancer.
Her mom was on the doctor’s side. She said the doctor was a saint for making her have the exam because she would not have made an appointment to do it. Her mom has been brainwashed by the medical industry that pap smears are very important.
This college girl shared that many of her friends endured a pap smear and a breast exam by that male doctor as well. She said the waiting room that day was filled with girls.
The nurse made this college girl an appointment to have a pap smear next year. After I sent her all of those links to read, she called and cancelled the appointment. There was a struggle to cancel appointment.
A few weeks after this college girl cancelled her appointment, she was contacted by the health center. The nurse wanted to make her another appointment because she said her pap showed inflammation. The college girl asked the nurse if that meant cancer and she said it was not cancer but probably just an infection and the doctor wanted to check it out. She said she knew how the doctor checks things out and after what he did to me there is no way she will spread them for him again. She told her she felt fine and had no symptoms of an infection. The nurse wouldn’t take no for an answer so she hung up on her.
I encouraged her to report the doctor to the college administration and state medical board, but I do not know if she did. I think the doctor should be reported.
I have a feeling that this is a common practice at some colleges. I think it would be great if we could reach out to college students to educate them about pap smears. This girl had no idea about cervical risks and that virgin girls cannot get HPV that cause 99% of cervical cancer cases. Breast cancer is extremely rare in 18 year old girls.
It’s horrible that this 18 year old girl went in for swimmer’s ears. The doctor should have focused on the reason she came to the appointment. I think this male doctor took advantage of many young women.
That sort of story worries me as well…it makes you wonder whether he’s as concerned about these checks with his middle aged and elderly patients, or just the young and attractive ones. There is no doubt in my mind that some doctors have used cancer screening to take advantage, it’s the perfect cover, the system has permitted both informed consent and consent itself to be ignored, so anything goes, well, almost…
I’d definitely report this doctor, he had no right to pressure this woman into elective cancer screening…opportunistic screening is unfair, basically ambushing women in the consult room. Some/many women will be intimidated in that environment. Studies have shown that opportunistic screening causes psychological harm, hardly surprising…
When did this happen? If it was recently and in the States, the doctor has not even followed their excessive guidelines, no pap testing or pelvic exams before 21 and no breast exams before 19. Of course, routine pelvic and breast exams are not evidence based and not recommended at any age in symptom-free women in many countries, including Australia, the UK, NZ etc
This doctor should definitely be reported…so many women carry this sort of trauma right through their lives, it shouldn’t happen. To think you can’t even see a doctor for an ear issue without ending up naked and in stirrups.
“Across age groups, the standard physical exam also includes height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure. Annual breast and abdominal exams begin at age 19, and routine annual pelvic exams begin at age 21. ” (from ACOG’s website)
AND of course, cervical screening makes no sense at all in a woman not yet sexually active – these women are excluded in most countries.
The fact is testing does not help those under 30 anyway…and now we also know that only HPV+ women aged 30 and over can benefit from a 5 yearly pap test. (about 5% of women)
MOST of these invasive exams and tests are completely unnecessary and they carry risk to our healthy symptom-free bodies and cause major and lasting psychological damage.
This happened last summer. I think that doctor just took advantage of her. A college infirmary is the perfect place for a male doctor to work at if he wants to examine an attractive young women. I encouraged her to report him. But she seemed scared. She was definitely very traumatized by this. What is so sad is that she will probably be haunted by this experience for the rest of her life.
Probably… this doctor is a sexual predator, no doubt about it. But even if she had the courage to report him, what would happen? Nothing, because he will hide behind the ‘doing what’s best for the patient’ line, and get away with it. So much of women’s health is based on beliefs and theories – pelvic exams were done in many countries simply because they seemed like a good idea at the time. Since then, evidence has shown that they’re not just useless, but puts the patient at risk, and many countries stopped doing them on asymptomatic women years ago.
As a UK woman, I look at the way that American women are treated and see abuse, not care. Not that the system is perfect here, either, but some of the ‘requirements’ that your doctors have are just appalling. We can get birth control without any pelvic exams. Breast exams are NOT done at all – again, little benefit for a lot of risk. Pap smears are not done on women under 25. Gynecologists are specialists (or so they like to think!) whom you’re referred to only if you have a problem.
I find the idea that women ‘need’ to see a gynecologist on a yearly basis deeply disturbing – but when the entire female population seems to have been following these nonsense recommendations for decades, that’s not going to change any time soon. Doctors are making far too much money from ‘women’s health’.
This poor girl will undoubtably be put under enormous pressure to undergo testing in future – it takes a strong woman to stand up to doctors, friends, & family who’ve bought in to the ‘women’s health’ nonsense… I would imagine that a lot of her college friends, having been under this doctor’s ‘care’ would also instinctively feel that there was something wrong about the situation, but when it’s become the norm, and their own mothers are encouraging them to spread their legs on command, how does a young, vulnerable woman resist?
Why is it that doctors always asume all girls and woman are having sex. That in its self is offensive. there needs to be a law protecting woman from unwanted genital exams. and a law put into place that doctors must disclose the risks to every test. they asume they are protecting woman because they think we need specail care becuase are body is differant than the males. The gyn industry is ignorant about the femaile body. I think the pap smear is a perverted unnatural exam.
I agree with a past post. doctors use this test to take advantage of woman. Not to be gross but i could see male doctors being turned on by doing this exam on woman. I cant stand how some woman have no respect for there body and just take there pants off for any doctor that comes along. because they think it will keep them healthy.
Great site! Thank you for providing information!
You’re welcome! Thank you for the much appreciated feedback, and for the visit!
Wish I had found this site sooner & perhaps I could have avoided invasive exams that ultimately led to a painful cone biopsy at 20 years of age. (I’m now 21)
Sue, not sure if this is the best place to post this…but,
I just discovered that the HPV self-test device, the Delphi Screener, is being ordered online by Australian women, who then post their samples back to Singapore and receive their results via email. This enables women aged 30+ to test for HPV…this is important information. Only 5% of women aged 30 and over are HPV+…these are the only women at risk from cervical cancer, (still a small risk) and the only women who can benefit from a 5 yearly pap test. (until they clear the virus)
The Dutch are the ones to watch here, they follow the evidence.
HPV+ women who choose to have a 5 yearly pap test should be careful about excess, some countries refer all HPV+ women for colposcopy/biopsy. The Dutch will do no more than offer a 5 yearly pap test to the roughly 5% of women aged 30+ who are HPV+…
The Dutch don’t offer pap testing or HPV primary testing to those under 30 for good reason, it doesn’t help and simply causes worry and harm. Women under 30 should do their reading and exercise caution with pap testing. (and HPV primary testing)
So, it’s pointless doing pap tests on HPV- women and that’s MOST women, 95% of those aged 30 and over. It’s risk for no benefit…
Women concerned about this rare cancer might like to consider the HPV self-test device. This way they can find out whether they’re at risk from this rare cancer. Women interested should email Delphi Bioscience in the Netherlands, they may be prepared to send you the test and you can simply post it back. The flying time between Australia and Singapore is roughly the same as the States and Amsterdam. Australian and NZ women should contact Delphi Bioscience in Singapore.
Hopefully, this test will be made available in most countries over time, if women demand it and keep demanding it…in the meanwhile, it might be possible for women to order it online.
Elizabeth, thank you for the information!
I have been avoiding the useless and harmful pap smears all my life, but I would like to order an HPV self test for my peace of mind at some stage. I would definitely prefer to bypass the patronizing Australian health care system and do the test I choose to do. I did see the Delphi screener web site before, but I couldn’t find any information on how Australian women can order it and how they can get the results. Could you please point to the page with such information, if there is one?
Al, yes I can, I actually have the name of the likely Australian distributor. When I last had contact with Delphi Bioscience Singapore they said the arrangement should be finalized shortly so that should make things even easier for Australian women. I’m very surprised, I felt sure this device would be blocked or locked behind a GPs script. (who gets target payments for pap tests) I’m in Oxford and about to fly back to Australia so can provide more details when I get home, but if you wanted to do something now, send an email to Delphi Bioscience Singapore, you’ll find contact information on their website.
I’ve just attended the Evidence Live conference, surrounded by “mostly” our sort of people. I went to every session and can honestly say my concentration didn’t waiver for a second, I felt like a sponge soaking up information never released to us or rarely. I met some interesting peoplel and can tell you lots of doctors are as concerned as we are about women’s cancer screening. One UK doctor asked me whether we were still doing pap smears on women under 25…he shook his head in disbelief when I told him a recent study showed some doctors were testing teenagers under 17 years of age.
He replied, “that’s not good medicine”. Exactly….
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.
On the second day we heard from Jack Cuzick who criticized the NCI and appeared to be digging for evidence to support breast screening. I found his arguments unconvincing…he pointed out cervical screening has no RCTs but most would agree it’s been effective. Ummm, no they wouldn’t…not one word on over-detection and over-treatment or the rareness of the cancer.
Muir Gray, Margaret McCartney, Ben Goldacre all spoke well.
I haven’t been able to post over at Blogcritics, for some reason the page won’t load, I’ll try again when I get home. I’ll put together a summary of the conference, there were also, some interesting lectures on publication bias and scientific fraud.
Forgot to mention that Dr McCartney showed Ann’s spoof cervical screening brochure to the audience. So Ann, your work and comments are already reaching far and wide….how annoying for the NHS pap test police and propaganda unit.
Oh that is beautiful Elizabeth. I’m not surprised to hear you felt like a sponge soaking up information, especially information that is rarely if ever released to us, and I’m not surprised your concentration never wavered! It is so gratifying to hear about the doctor’s reply “that’s not good medicine” in response to screening girls under 25 or as young as 17 or younger. And how wonderful it must have been for you to be able to hear the words “breast screening is harmful and should be stopped” from such a respected member of the medical establishment, in person. I love the response from Dr. Gotzsche “Don’t worry, be happy . . .”! Thank you for this Elizabeth. The page loaded for me at Blogcritics so it might have something to do with connections from Oxford. I hope you have a good flight.
That is great Dr. McCartney showed Ann’s spoof to the audience, and I agree the NHS pap test police and propaganda unit must find that very annoying!
Thank you Elizabeth!
I am not desperate to get Delphi test right now. I’m just investigating my options if I become concerned about HPV in the future. I don’t want my cervix to be scraped, burned and butchered, and I don’t want to suffer the pain and depression that faulty pap smears inevitably lead to, so pap smear is not an option for me and never will be. I can definitely wait for Delphi when it becomes available for Australian women.
I will also be waiting for more reports from you about the conference! So much so eye-opening information! And so much shock about how long women have been deceived by doctors… No more of that, I hope. Once you publish your comments in the Internet, more women will be confident to say “no” to medical misinformation and deception. Thank you for that!
Elizabeth, thank you for updating us it’s good to hear we have so many allies, I wish I could have been there! I’m really looking forward to your summery.
I was twenty when I visited the gyno for the first time. It was a very unnerving experience but not because he was a man. I hate going to the doctor in general. After reading through various entries on this site I realize now that perhaps something was amiss during that visit. He performed a rectal exam after the pelvic exam. I was so shocked as I was not expecting that at all. I felt gross afterwards. I mean why do a rectal exam (supposedly to check for polyps) on a twenty year old with no symptoms that would justify the need for one? Also, my PAP showed inflammation and after looking at my cervix with a microscope he determined it was nothing and sent me on my way. I am glad that he didn’t do anything more invasive. I did not visit a gyno again until my pregnancy last year (I’m now 28). My pap was normal and this time I’m seeing a woman. Something about seeing a ob/gyn that has experienced what I was going through makes me feel better. Men might know from books but only women have vaginas.
If you live in the UK, you might have seen these appalling posters to promote cervical cancer screenings. I made a spoof one:
and here is a blank template, should anyone feel like being creative with it:
(font used is pragmatica condensed. you can try http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ for better results)
If you want to be really thorough, (or want to feel disgusted by how they target uneducated women) you can see more about the “social marketing” projects and the focus groups and the methodology they used here: http://www.cervicalscreeningproject.com/whatdidwedo/developandtest/phase2/servicepush2.php
I’m a bit of a latecomer to this page, but it has been great reading about the Evidence Live conference of last year, and hearing that one of your posters got an airing there. Thanks very much for the blank poster. The cheesy NHS posters make me so angry, especially the ones with the happy smiling pink clad women in them. YUK!
Apologies for the link to the blank template getting messed up. Here it is again, pls feel free to use it (and tell the NHS that if women don’t get treated with more respect little boys will cry):
Thank you Ann! I have updated your previous comment with the correct link.
Thank you for this post!
I just walked into the library and a booth was set up giving away suckers and telling the female students passing by about the free pap test clinic being held tomorrow. They told me anyone over the age of 21 (I’m 22) or anyone who has had sex should go in for one.
Luckily I remembered reading something about this, so I did a quick google search and found this article.
There’s no way I’m having someone invade my privacy for no reason! And each appointment is only 15 minutes. I guess it’s like a conveyor belt of women?
Patent modesty, I cant stand that only woman are hounded about hpv. and it was none of that doctors bussnes that the girl had a boy friend. And not his right to asume they are having sex. there are some couples that are not sexually active. He took advantage of her.
and doctors think all collage age woman are sleeping around and are spreeding diease thru the school. it is offensive and sick to treat woman this way. if a girl wants to be tested for stds thats one thin but asumming womans sex lifes and pushing it on all the girls is sick. and the reson they say any girl over 21 needs pap s is because it is asumed they are all sexually active or lieing. I dont trust these people.
Elizabeth PLEASE write a book. You can change women’s lives worldwide. We should all be demanding respect from doctors, insisting on informed consent, and trying to prevent younger women from the gyn abuse and trauma many of us just don’t talk about. And there is so much coercion and awful experiences in both obstetric and gynecological practices. The first wave of consciousness raising had Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the second wave had Gloria Steinam. Now women need a voice to explain that modern medical supervision is a lie as much as the ones that explain why they couldn’t vote or attend college or remain single.
We go to these exams like sheep. Please spread the truth to as big as audience as possible. The problem is that we were not taught to ask the questions. Like workplace harrassment and glass ceilings and lousy husbands we were simply told that this was a woman’s lot.
The truth is these are OUR bodies. The custom may be to keep them on a medical check schedule but it is a custom we can leave behind. It is time. It is decades past time.
I do not know if you have read this interesting article: How Often Do You Need a Pap Smear? A Pelvic Exam? The Low Down on What’s Down Below! (http://avivaromm.com/pelvic-exams) This female doctor shared some of the terrible complications of LEEP and Cone biopsies:
For decades, those of us challenging the ob-gyn status quo, particularly midwives, observed an alarming phenomenon: many young women who’d previously been subjected to LEEP procedures and Cone biopsies to burn, freeze, or cut out potentially pre-cancerous cells after “a bad pap” (Note: false positives were notoriously high with the older version of the pap smear) went on later to have difficulty with cervical dilatation during labor when they had babies. This was due to cervical scarring and stenosis as a result of the forementioned procedures. Many of these women ended up with cesareans because of “failure to progress” as a result. The failure was not in the women at all, but in an imperfect and often over-zealous gynecology system that tended to slash and burn first, ask questions later. I’d like to think the intentions were good, and some were, but big money has been made in the name of cancer prevention.
“Note: false positives were notoriously high with the older version of the pap smear”
Misty, it doesn’t matter what sort of pap test or HPV test you use on young women, false positives will be very high, that’s why they should be excluded from testing.
Finland and the Dutch leave their young women alone, no testing is offered before age 30. We keep ignoring the evidence (long-standing) and harm young women, huge numbers. The other sad fact, there is no benefit pap testing those under 30, no country in the world has shown a benefit after decades of pap testing, but all have evidence of harm. Finland has the lowest rates of cc in the world and they don’t test before age 30.
Dr Raffle says that 1 in 3 pap tests will be “abnormal” in women under 25, that’s very high…false positives caused by normal changes in the maturing cervix or by transient and harmless infections.
These young women fill up day procedure and that’s why vested interests will fight to keep them in the program….and those damaged by over-treatment means even more money for the profession. (the need for c-sections, treatments for infertility, caring for premature babies etc.)
They always conveniently use scare campaigns to fight off any changes to the program and may point to a young woman with cervical cancer. The dishonesty is breathtaking, the reality is these young women usually get adenocarcinoma and the pap test usually misses that even rarer form of cc. (these are often false negative women, so the pap test may end up costing her dearly)
The best advice is to see a doctor with any persistent and unusual symptoms and to forget pap and HPV testing. If women want to test…then a HPV primary test could be offered when she turns 30. (or self-test)
When you know the evidence you see how our programs operate for the benefit of others and as a result, some women lose their lives and huge numbers end up over-treated.
I am so unbelievably happy to have found this forum. I am a 27-year old rape and molestation survivor. I have had a multitude of friends (I must note they have the best intentions) tell me I “have” to get pap smears, bi-manual exams, etc. I can’t even stomach the thought of going to an ob/gyn, regardless of gender. Literally just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach, and elicits anger that I can’t even describe. I’ve been doing hours of research (due to the fear mongering and my building fears of not getting such exams) on how effective pap smears, etc. really are. A lot of evidence is pointing toward it basically not mattering. I know the rate of cervical cancer has decreased since these exams went into effect, but those statistics are based on women who had cervical cancer and it was found…which is 1:100,000 (ratio of women that have cervical cancer to those who don’t). That’s 0.001% of women! Which is, quite frankly, nothing. So many other types of cancers are more prevalent. I find this sort of screening barbaric, unnecessary, and it has the ability to cause severe psychological and emotional distress or trauma. And looking at pictures above, I can’t even wrap my head around the mutilation being done to women. The whole basis of “preventative” women’s health seems to revolve around money. And the fact the doctor’s receive bonuses based on the number of women they conduct such exams on is downright sickening. I’m so glad to have found that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m often given a lot of s*it by friends, even my boyfriend, that I haven’t gone. I have resorted to lying to my mother telling her that I go to avoid further guilt-tripping. But, I’m asymptomatic for any signs (which, I know, doesn’t mean much), and there is no history of such cancers, etc. in my family. I find it odd that women subject themselves to being fingered and prodded and poked just because someone is wearing a white coat…I find it infuriating, and I do equate it to rape. If it’s unwanted or non-consented, it’s rape…I don’t care WHAT your degree may be. I, myself, am going into neuroscience and I recently discovered the education of MDs…they basically memorize and regurgitate. There is no critical thinking, they don’t have to learn much about statistics (which is CRUCIAL because any jerk can skew statistics in their favor. Statistics is math. Math doesn’t lie. The people who skew statistics are the bad ones. Which is why when you hear i.e. “50% more effective”, you need think: Say there’s a sample size (number of people) of, we’ll make it easy, 10 people. If 2 people had X symptom get better, then with the new drug, 3 people got better…what is that? That’s a 50% increase. Often, if you don’t understand statistics, 50% DOES NOT MEAN 50% in the way you want to believe.) Also, it feels like women are looked at as “defective”…you don’t see men going in to be poked and prodded, cutting parts of their penis, etc. I know most everyone here is in agreeance with most of what I have said, so I think I’ll stop before I get too angry…starting to see red already.
In any case, I’m so happy to have found all of you – thinking, empathetic, strong-willed, smart women. I wish you all the best.
Welcome to this empowering website for women! I hope you will find lots of useful and supporting information here.
And please do not worry about pap smears and gyns anymore. If you don’t have any symptoms or any family history of serious diseases, you should just live your life, happily. You are young and healthy – these are the best things one could wish for.
Stress and worries contribute to more cancers than any gynecological tests or examinations have ever been able to prevent. Got the point? You are more likely to develop an illness from the immense worry and stress than from avoiding gynecologists.
Life is all about chances and we all got to die of something one day. But it doesn’t mean we should let our lives to be poisoned. Your body is yours, and only you should decide what to do with it. If someone thinks otherwise, ignore them. Just stick to healthy life style and try to be as happy as possible.
Anon, welcome to the forum.
Alice puts it perfectly, don’t waste any more of your life worrying about this testing, get out there and enjoy life. Embrace your asymptomatic body, don’t fear it.
Can you imagine this sort of worry about thyroid cancer? Well, it’s more common than cervical cancer. Where is the hysteria? Awareness week?
Women have been trained/brainwashed into greatly fearing a remote risk…and it’s destroyed the health and happiness of so many women.
Pleased you found us.
Something you might like to know is that there ARE ways to handle whatever things self-sufficiently (Rosemary Gladstar has a bunch of herbal books which include women in the risks & uses- there’s even one that’s specifically called Herbal Healing for Women). Even as a means to an end, some things would be a problematic methodology. Medical quality is determined by patient satisfaction, not academic value.
You’re absolutely right that this situation being imposed is an attack! Overall, any interface with sexual areas as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack (in this case, specifically, it’s a penetrative one- thus, rape). Actually, it’s called an “iatrogenic attack” when it’s a problem inflicted by medical methodologies. Them self-electively probing you is its own problem (“sexual detriment,” I guess would be a good term for it)- never mind all the risks & inaccuracies as “aggravating factors.” All this makes a good point in court, too. They tend to back people into things with birth control very frequently, which is actually illegal (and that happens with everything else, as well & maybe they just decide this is what’s on the agenda or that something is “their policy”).
Personally, I can’t stand when people say things like: “But that’s a doctor, though.” If a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder- overall , the situation is what it consists of. What are they saying? That reality ceases to exist for doctors?! Someone’s not going to catch less of a disease or have less of a miscarriage because it’s medically caused? The act is the issue, the “tact” is unimportant.
Bringing these points up might help get people off your back, because it’s pretty damn hard for someone to say “what happens ISN’T what occurs” & still look sane (sometimes it would cause an realization moment, too). Particularly with your boyfriend, being very direct & elaborating the mechanics of the situation helps a lot. Maybe making the point “How else would you come to know something” if he argues that it’s not an issue when you’re informing him that it is.
I know it’s crass, but with everyone else, you might try asking if the want to “do the honors” themselves- since they want to orchestrate this situation for themselves. It’s not really different, is it? Much like arranged marriage isn’t different that the father doing all these “martial” things himself- plus it’s comporting someone else’s life, overall. That’s a point on it’s own: comporting someone else’s life & activities (doesn’t have to be with anything strange). Overall, dynamics don’t change because standards do.
“Where is thyroid awareness week”? LOL! You are so right Elizabeth!
Another cancer that is more common than cervical cancer is kidney cancer! You don’t see doctor Oz telling people to get their kidney values checked every 6 months.
The cancers that they wnat to poke around for (cervical, ovarian, colon and breast) are the ones whose “treatments” can go on forever. Lots of money in those treatments!
Doctor Oz recommended women getting tested every six months? There’s plenty of risk to it every YEAR, or every THREE years (apparently, even every FIVE is still a bit dangerous- it’s dangerous & inaccurate on it’s own, plus it leads to other things that cause problems).
I wonder why something being invasive isn’t considered an issue, in itself? I know a lot of women bottle up that they have an issue with it, even as a means to an end & whether it’s a woman doing things or not- but still, shouldn’t it be fairly obvious? I guess maybe more vocalizing would make it more obvious. How much of an argument can someone, female or not, really make without their nonsense being obvious? Their argument is basically that something IS a particular way, but still it’s NOT LIKE THAT.
Honestly, a woman arguing TOWARD arranged penetration would just look like an aggressive lesbian to me. With a man it’s fairly obvious what the angle can be (with money on top of it), but overall pervyness & an inclination to cause people problems isn’t gender-specific.
I have this done yesterday, and I cried in pain. I told the doctor I did not want the biopsies done if they were not absolutely necessary but she assured me that the areas that she saw were very suspicious and indeed needed biopsy. I got the colposcopy first and had the vinegar put on twice and then 2 biopsies following a scraping. No local anesthetic, the doctor said I didn’t need any. I feel like I was sexually molested. She said it all I would feel was some cramping and a pinch but it was much more terrible than that the pain was excruciating. And I’m still cramping and bleeding. I really hope that I went through this to maybe prevent health problems but I can’t help but feel like they did something that wasn’t even nessesary. 😦
That’s horrible! It really isn’t someone making their own decisions if they’re getting lied to. Even as a means to an end, with everything completely honest, that would be an invasive, and thus- problematic methodology. Your feelings aren’t “misplaced” (for lack of a better word). Overall, a situation is what it consists of. I mean, if a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder. It drives me nuts that some people think that properties change by designation.
As for pain, I truly think they just plain like causing it. Ulterior motive. She probably figured you didn’t need any anesthetic because your pain isn’t a bad thing. I remember when my mom’s boyfriend had a knee surgery & they gave him that epidural thing (something with the spine, definitely). When he woke up, he couldn’t move his legs & thought he was paralyzed- so the nurse acted like a disregardive bitch. The guy though he was PARALYZED & she completely blew it off!
Some other people on here are MUCH more knowledgeable on all the biological stuff than me, but there’s also a References & Education thread on this site. If you’re interested in handling your health more self-sufficiently, Rosemary Gladstar has a number of good books that include considerations for women (one of them is specifically titled Herbal Healing for Women). She’s a good writer & covers a multitude of subjects.
Erica, I am so sorry to hear what you have been put through. Unfortunately, in most cases this excruciating experience could have been avoided, but the medical systems does nothing to save women from these tortures. It prefers doing pap tests, then biopsies, and then “treat”, because it is much more profitable than helping the woman to heal the lesion on her own. The doctors don’t care how much pain and damage this sort of “health care” causes to women.
It is appalling that the doctor decided that you don’t need any aesthetics. Surely, it didn’t hurt her, but it must have been your decision what to do about your pain, not the doctor’s. They always lie about “mild cramping”, when in fact cervical biopsy is the most excruciating procedure. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get women to do it. It is just terrible how the medical system thinks that women can handle that sort of pain. I can’t imagine anything of the like done to male genitals without any pain management, absolute necessity, or any benefit to the man’s health.
Welcome to the forum.
Biopsies are painful, I’m 55 so at this point most women my age who have pap testing have had at least one biopsy. Every woman I’ve spoken to has said the biopsy was very painful. A colleague was “told” that women have a higher threshold of pain because they have babies. So once again, we’re told how we should feel, need to get used to pain or that we’re being dramatic/difficult. We have the problem…once again.
Pain relief should be easy, you can spray numbing agent onto the skin, why not the cervix? My sister had an unnecessary cone biopsy under a GA, but I know some American women have that procedure without a GA, that’s a shocking thought.
Also, the number of women having biopsies would plummet if we respected informed consent and offered an evidence based program. In Australia our outdated and excessive program condemns about 77% of women to at least one punch biopsy (often more, things like cone biopsies, laser treatments etc.)…almost ALL are unnecessary.
The Dutch with their new program means that fewer than 5% of women will endure biopsies. 5% v 77%…big difference.
Of course, all of these tests and biopsies make a fortune for the profession and that’s why they always have a problem here and in the States (and elsewhere) with evidence based programs.
I don’t know your age, but given almost all of these biopsies are unnecessary, the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of you having had an unnecessary biopsy. Most women having biopsies would be HPV- and not even at risk of cervix cancer.
That’s the madness of this testing and treating.
Dear Erica. I am sorry about your pain and upset. You should have been told the truth about what was going to happen before, during and after the biopsy. The marketing of the colposcopy is so deceptive,it should be dealt with the same as false advertising. After reading the research paper I found this week I am shocked that doctors knowing that a pap and pelvic exam can further infections with HPV are still doing them.
Any women getting an abnormal pap, it could be a false positive. However the gyn are advised to do at least two biopsies even if they do not see anything wrong.
I would say to women getting an abnormal pap to get their own speculum and put some vinegar on their cervix. Look for themselves for any white abnormal areas. There are many treatments women can use at home if they look them up. There are antiviral and anticsncer herbs yet your doctor will never tell you about them. They are all about burn and slash.
Another huge issue is stopping smoking, taking any hormones. Take a good vitamin supplement with folic acid, exercise, improve the diet and reduce stress.
Please take care of yourself. Sending healing and good energy to you.
I think woman giving themselves their own check up is a great idea, I think I might consider doing that in the future and educating myself further on this. Thank you!
Thank you all for commenting back and for your support. While I was doing my research on this subject I was surprised to see that the percentage of young women with cervical cancer is relatively low and is in some articles considered “rare” but not impossible. Being 22 years old this was my very first abnormal pap and I’ve been getting paps done since I was 17. I was also told that its normal for a woman to have abnormalities in the cervix due to the fact that it changes during a woman’s cycle and throughout her life in general. It really sickens me that doctors rush to the worst possible conclusion and feel the need to perform unnecessary and painful biopsies on women. Having a false positive pap smear is not uncommon. I wish they would consider that possibility and maybe wait awhile and do another pap test instead of cutting and scraping a healthy cervix. I don’t think it’s right that women leave their doctors office feeling victimized.
In the countries that really do care about women’s health, not doctors’ profits, you would not have been told to have pap smears (let alone biopsies!) until you were 25 or 30 years old. Before that age, abnormalities are very common and nearly always heal on their own by 25-30. It is very sad that in many other countries the medical profession prefers to make money on women’s unnecessary suffering.
Alice, it’s better than that, all that’s required for those women who want to test, is a self-test for HPV at age 30, this would rule 95% of women out of pap testing. (and that protects them from excess biopsies and over-treatment) If you’re confidently monogamous or no longer sexually active you might choose to forget any further testing. Others might simply choose to re-test for HPV in 5 or 10 years time. (depending on age)
Now imagine dismantling the HUGE industry we have for cervical screening, colposcopy, biopsies, “treatments” and medical care for the women left with damage after over-treatment – high risk pregnancies, miscarriages, infertility, premature babies etc. It would mean billions lost to vested interests…that’s why this straightforward topic and remote risk has been turned into hysteria with harmful excess and non-evidence based testing the norm.
I wish I knew all this information before I ever let the doctor touch me, unfortunately I’m learning that myself and many other young women are pressured into these tests. I refused the tests at first, feeling inadequate and uneasy about it but with the pressure from the doctor and nurse I gave in. I wish I hadn’t. Does anyone know if the cervix usually heals after biopsies? Like completely? I’m afraid of permanent damage.
Erica, the cervix may heal pretty well after the damage, or may be left permanently damaged – no one can tell for sure at his stage. You can help your body to heal: quit smoking (if you smoke), eat healthy food, do moderate enjoyable exercisers (after the bleeding stops completely), if you have a partner, ask him to use condoms (non-scented, with minimal chemical additives) and wash hands before being close. It also important to be monogamous for you and your partner. These simple rules may not only help you cervix to heal, they may help you to get rid of HPV infection (if you have it) and eradicate the further risk of cervical cancer.
And the most important rule: never trust a doctor without doing your own research. If in doubt, ask questions, seek second opinion and demand true facts confirmed by the latest research. Always remember the sad truth: in most countries doctors make money on people’s suffering, not on people staying healthy.
Why do I strongly feel the WHO is lying to me when they say 250,000 women died last year of cervical cancer? Where can I find ACTUAL factual stats? Someone please help.
They may be telling the truth, but even if so, we should remember that this number is for worldwide population, which is over 7 billion! If we suppose that half of the world’s population are women, that means that one in every 14 thousand women died of cervical cancer. And now it should be up to every individual woman to decide whether this 1 in 14000 chance is big enough for her to worry, to face regular humiliation, deal with constant coercion and risk nearly 100% chance of having her cervix mutilated at some stage of her life for benign reason simply because doctors prefer doing it “just in case”.
But, of course, women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions whether screen or not. So the all-knowing doctors just demand that we must screen or die.
According to the same WHO’s statistics there were twice as many deaths of stomach cancer and 4 times more of lung cancer, yet nobody shoves any tools at people’s stomaches or lungs at their every visit to the doctor for any unrelated reason.
It’s just that women’s reproductive organs are considered to be public property, so the doctors will continue to see fit to insists on shoving tools in women’s vaginas and squeezing beasts even if there were no more cancer deaths at all. The medical systems just need a reason to keep surveillance of our bodies. And even if there were no more cervical, ovarian or breast cancer deaths, they would be saying that it is all thanks to a very successful screening program, so they must keep screening.
I would just like to remind everyone that I did post up the link to a research paper that states that HPV infected cells can be spread around during a Pap test and pelvic exam. The virus needs damaged cells to infect and the Pap test makes that type of damage. So after a pap then women should be careful: use condoms, no tampons for at least 6 weeks I would guess.
Can you please share all of those links that you unveiled for this research?
I had a cone in the 90’s and another one in 2009, which removed nearly all of my cervix. I had all the usual procedures–you know them. I then had several truly excruciating follow-up paps–the first by a totally incompetent nurse practitioner who kept stabbing me to no avail, and the others by my female gyno–who laughed at me every time when I would begin to cry because of the pain. When there isn’t any cervix left, and/or it’s closed up, the pap procedure gets even more forceful and barbaric. The results were “ASCUS,” no big deal–and for that I was then pushed to have a total hysterectomy. I refused. I will not go back. I’m glad to find support for my decision here.
That’s horrible. I truly does come to mind that they are very destructive to women. A high-pitched tone & saying “Oh, we care” doesn’t change the situation. If someone snatched someone else up & did all this to them it definitely is an attack, but they act as though it’s something different because it takes place more subtlely & in a medical setting.
Another thing that really sticks out is how arrogant they are. They figure they’re wonderful no matter what they do & everyone else is a moron. Everyone that doesn’t trust everything they say just because they say it, that is. I’ve mentioned intellectual negation as a strategy before (that what comes from them is an “A” and what comes from someone else is a “B” at best, so they outmatch them- which is a confrontational situation) and that is a very frequent thing with them.
They also disregard things coming from the other person. A refusal isn’t a “real refusal.” As far as they’re concerned, it’s up to them whether or not this refusal has any impact.
The kinds of things they do are like something a serial killer would think up. Really, who thinks of things like this? Actually, now that I mention it- that’s exactly where this branch of medical discipline got started: that guy Simms used to torture the slaves on his plantation.
Dear Cindy. The Pap test is barbaric but painful in your case because they will scrap and scrape to get enough cells.
Many causes of ASCUS or atypical squameous cells undetermined source. Which is NOT cancer at all, the least of abnormal and could just be due to immflammation. Cone biopsies etc do not kill HPV cells. If you are at all worried get some antiviral herbs. Removing the uterus can cause many other health problems.
I am very sorry for your pain. I hope you are doing all right.
Oh my gosh!!!!
If this was done by a common person, it would be called Female Genital Mutilation, considered a life-threatening torture, and be punished by a jail sentence as a criminal offence. When the same thing is done by the medical profession, it is called Cervical Cancer Prevention, considered a necessary life-saving procedure, and is a well-paid respectable job!
Both of these “procedures” are proven by many studies to be unnecessary and harmful. Yet the medical system still manages to escape the punishment. Something is shockingly wrong with our society.
I found a forum called unspoken danger of the leep procedure. The comments on there are so sad. Most said there doctors threw around the word “cancer”. And rushed them to sign release papers. It’s so messed up. And the lies from doctors.