What Doctors Should be Telling You about Breast Cancer Screening

Some doctors are choosing to ignore the latest research findings on breast cancer screening.  Despite evidence that demonstrates how breast cancer screening may be doing more harm than good, women are still faced with ‘pink’ messaging and propaganda that promotes screening and ignores or downplays the harms.

When new medical research was published in the past, only physicians and academics had easy access to the findings.  The public wouldn’t hear about the new research until much later, if at all.  The Internet has changed that, and these days many women may be more aware of the latest research than their doctors appear to be.  When a new research study is published we can find ways to access the information, and sometimes the new research findings are splashed all over mainstream media.

For example, CTV news reported a study in 2012 which found that mammograms lead to overdiagnosis but have little impact on deaths.  More recently, a New York Times article presented a vast Canadian study which found that breast cancer death rates were the same in women who had undergone mammography and those who had not.

The media’s offerings of research findings and the ease of access to information via the Internet makes it all the more baffling when some doctors continue to practice without acknowledging the latest research evidence.

Fortunately, more women are doing their own research and are making their own informed decisions about screening.  However, because there is a great deal of propaganda and/or misinformation on the Internet, it can often be difficult to know what information is credible, and what information is not.

What follows is a compilation of the most well-researched information regarding breast cancer screening (Special thank you to Elizabeth of Australia and other contributors to this blog for providing the references, inspiration, and information for this post):

  • Mammography leaflet written by Peter Gotzsche, et al.   The leaflet presents information about both the potential benefits and harms of screening, based on the best scientific evidence available (i.e. randomized trials of breast cancer screening).    Excerpt from the leaflet:  Screening produces patients with breast cancer from among healthy women who would never have developed symptoms of breast cancer.  Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying, e.g. from heart disease and cancer.  It therefore no longer seems beneficial to attend for breast cancer screening. http://www.cochrane.dk/screening/mammography-leaflet.pdf   Peter Gotzsche is a professor, chief physician, and director of the Nordic Cochrane Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. 
  • The Nordic Cochrane Center summary on breast cancer screening: http://www.cochrane.dk/screening/index-en.htm

A speech by Peter Gotzsche titled “Time to Stop Mammography Screening” presented at the Evidence Live conference in Oxford in 2013:

  • Article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast Cancer Incidence by Archie Bleyer, M.D., and H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H.: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1206809
  • Research article in BMJ titled Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial: http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g366

Video by Professor Michael Baum titled Breast Screening: Some inconvenient truths

To conclude, a trailer from the film titled The Promise: truth about the breast screening program


  1. thanks for the info i don’t get mammograms just like pap smeara i feel it violates women. its another way for drs and insurance to make $$$$,
    i fell the less i test i have the better. i go to regular internal medicine dr. very basic respects my decision not to have pap smears and mammograms.

  2. No mammograms for me.

    I would like to remind women that they can check their own breasts and
    Consult a doctor or alternative practioner if they notice signs of breast cancer: redness, swelling orange Peel skin, dimpling, inverted nipple. I had a link to a website that showed all this. Sorry I will post it up later.

  3. I can’t tell you how many times I canceled my mammo appt a number of years back before finally going through with it. Of course I did so only bc knowing the results was very important. Stupid doctor and system. The technician happened to be wonderful, burritoed me nice and extra well for maximal protection. But dr didn’t tell me – probably bc he wasn’t aware – that the results wouldn’t be accurate bc I was nursing! Not to mention the question that occured to me at the last minute, which no one could answer (or wanted to): how might the radiation affect my milk that day? I loathe the system.

    Having said that, happy new year, Sue! LOL
    Thanks for keeping up. I’ve appreciated it.


    • It’s so nice to see you Holistic Wayfarer. A very interesting encounter with the system and yes, I feel the same about the system. I wish they could have reassured you about the safety of your breast milk following mammogram. Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it.
      And thank you for your wonderful site. Happy New Year Diana.

      • I meant to add for readers here that breast thermography is a wonderful, safe option. Chiropractors use thermography for the back as well. It simply reads pathological heat/energy coming off your body. I was able to do it a year after the mammo but the professional who offered it (the only one in town) actually passed away a year after I saw him. Thanks for the kind word on my site, Sue.


    • This simply demonstrates once again: the further we stay from the doctors and from the medical system — the better for us!

      The health care system has long forgotten its primary purpose: it no longer cares about our health.

      All it cares about is how to keep their jobs, their profits and their “customers”. That’s how we get the propaganda, downplayed risks, ridicule, pressure and idiotic pink ribbons. Doctors will lie, mislead, withhold the facts, and tell all sorts of BS for as long as it keeps the dollar rolling and brings more people to the waiting room.

      It is now a well-proven fact that pap smears and mammograms are harmful, yet very few doctors tell their patients the truth. No surprise there: it is like expecting a car salesman to tell you not to buy a car, but ride a bike or walk instead — better for your health and for the environment, you know… Not gonna hear that, are we?

      Business and money. No heath, no care.

      If anyone wants to see a person who truly cares about your health and can actually make a difference, look in the mirror. Lead a healthy life style, don’t believe anything the medical system tells you, and always do your own research before agreeing to anything they want you to do — the best recipe for good health.

      • I couldn’t agree more, Alice, well said…the obvious things have been forgotten, and I agree they are the things that really matter…now so many have been deceived into believing screening makes you bullet-proof, when nothing could be further from the truth. So many believe we have to “do something” to protect our health, if I don’t have a mammogram, what should I do? Screening = a responsible woman.

        Our thinking has been skewed…not a good thing. (well, not our thinking…)
        Informed women now hear and see incredible things, like a woman boasting she has regular pap tests while lighting up another cigarette…she has cancer covered, little does she know lung cancer is a MUCH bigger threat to her life. Or the women who have annual mammograms from 35…being super responsible, when that much radiation can actually cause breast cancer. It’s pure evil and to think so many women actually trust these programs and their promoters/protectors.

      • It’s not health care, but sick care. They’re in the business of keeping us sick. Who would make money if they actually cured??

        But doctors are not wicked in and of themselves. They are a product of their stupid schooling. Having said that, I have known of (and met on WP too) a handful of MDs who put their colleagues to shame and leave us a glimmer of hope that they might redeem the system. But all together, I can count them on one hand.

      • yes it all about profit and the insuance payments. I have had the wort experiences wih staff in gyn’s office and some other one’s too. When i say will dicuss the problem with the dr they, start trying to find out my issues. my vaginimous ( or what ever undignosed issue i have) is personal.

        I feel so much relieve in my decision not to have ever attempt a gyn exam. not worth the panic attack! I don’t have mammograms, i too feel its about money and no concern about the risk.
        I only have blood work evey 6 months for thyroid and the basics, it works for me.

        I stay away from drs.

        not mention the abusiv treatment in a hospital when i had an aborion. ( mean dr)

      • I agree, Holistic Wayfarer,
        It’s the system that I find evil, the medical associations that support these programs, ignore consent and informed consent for women, mislead, engage in scare mongering, promote screening as a must for women, GPs who use coercion etc.
        The AMA here, well, 2 senior male doctors speaking for the AMA, both basically endorse coercion when it comes to pap testing, with public comments linking the two, “I doubt many doctors would prescribe the Pill without a current pap test on file”…no one said a word. These attitudes do not extend to males though, with informed consent firmly on the agenda with prostate screening.
        The widespread attitude that women can be coerced, pressured, bullied, misled or scared into screening to achieve targets is well entrenched and doesn’t seem to be questioned by too many within the profession. The huge numbers harmed by these programs are of no apparent concern. (just deny it, cover it up, say they “might” have been saved or “might” have developed cancer etc.)

        I don’t blame all doctors, there are thankfully some good ones out there and a few are just extraordinary, like Professor Michael Baum, Dr Margaret McCartney, Dr Gilbert Welch and Professor Peter Gotzsche. (and a few others)
        I’m cautious in my dealings with the profession and shopped around before I found my GP. (about 20 years ago now)
        I lost trust and respect in the “system” a long time ago, I actually feel sorry for the decent doctors out there who have to find a way to work within the system.

        I note my GPs surgery has not had screening brochures in the waiting room for some years now. It’s hard for doctors to properly inform women of risks and actual benefits with these programs when the system has gone out of its way to mislead…my GP said that informed patients make her job a lot easier, we understand what we’re accepting and declining and take full responsibility for those informed decisions.

        I don’t have mammograms, but will not be suing my GP if I get breast cancer, I’VE made the decision, that’s the way the system should work…give us all the information we need and butt out, let us decide whether we want to screen or not. We make decisions every day, we’re competent adults, yet these programs still view women as ignorant sheep to be herded through the screening machine.

    • I know a woman, a little more educated than most, she was a nuclear medicine tech. Was asked to get a mammogram while she was nursing. She refused. The xray tech was so ignorant. My friend knew that this amount of radiation was equal to 1/4 of what she was allowed per year as exposure to radiation at her workplace. Plus what about her baby drinking her milk later? She said take a carton of milk put it through an airport epxray machine 1000 times and then you are going to give that milk to your child to drink? But what information For nursing mothers is out there about mammogram?

      While thermography sounds great because it does not compress or damge the breasts, the harm comes from overdiagnosis of cancer. A hotspot could be a Cancer that might regress on its own but doctors cannot tell which lesions are the bad ones so they treat them all. A bad thermograph could lead to more X-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds that could be harmful. Early Cancer detection is not always the best idea.

      • There certainly all sorts of permutations on results out there. I’m not sure what we can do but arm ourselves with as much knowledge as we can and do our darnest to sift the haystack for that one good doctor with a real head on his, her shoulder.

  4. Doctors are also a product of the for-profit health care system (in the US anyway) where the more procedures they perform, the more money they make.

    • Yes, and Judy so many of your women see a gyn every year for a well woman exam, gynecologists are surgeons, no wonder 1 in 3 US women will end up having a hysterectomy by age 60…more than twice the rate found in the UK, Australia and other countries that don’t perform routine pelvic exams. (the same applies to the removal of healthy ovaries…more than twice the rate of the UK and Australia)

  5. I can’t remember if I’ve posted this before but I found this website for doctors who are on our side:

    “We are deeply concerned that much of the comment influencing the provision of healthcare in the UK, and the wider world, originates from sources that are steeped in vested interests, or from those who are unable to speak freely because their hands are tied.

    All too often the prevailing narrative in medicine serves the interests of politicians, pharmaceutical companies, medical experts, and even well meaning, but sometimes misguided medical charities, while the true interests of the patient seem to be sidelined and disregarded. The consulting room, which used to be the exclusive domain of the patient and their doctor, now feels crowded by the demands of all these interest groups wanting to influence the doctor-patient relationship – the end result all too frequently being to undermine the trust between patient and doctor and harms to the patient which are often ignored or underplayed”.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see my own doctor on their list.

  6. Well…Peter Gotzsche from the NCI was interviewed on a current affairs program tonight called the 7.30 Report. Peter was described as a “Danish professor” who believes cancer screening is harmful and should be stopped. I was disappointed that we were left with the impression it was one man with this theory rather than a LOT of people (including the NCI) now accepting that the risks of breast screening exceed the benefit. It was also, made to sound like this was new evidence, when its been a hot topic overseas for well over 10 years.
    We had the usual pro-screening surgeon who disagreed with Peter Gotzsche, he felt over-diagnosis was a small issue, about 5% of screen detected breast cancers are over-diagnosed…the NCI puts it at 50%. The surgeon did not provide any evidence for the 5% and, of course, used a veiled threat to scare women. This is always the approach here, “I hope women don’t stop screening, I’d hate to see more women with advanced cancers”.
    I have zero respect for these doctors, they can’t rely on the evidence so they head for the scary story and veiled threats. IMO, it says a lot about the way they view women.

    It’s astonishing this could be presented to women in this way, when we all know how long this has been debated overseas.
    I think Australian women need an explanation: we had an article or two a couple of years ago…then nothing, and now this interview. Why is it we’re only hearing about this now when its been known for over 10 years?
    It says to me we have a very strong screening lobby who’ve been very effective at keeping this out of the news, keeping women in the dark and dissenters, silent.

    • Mammograms can find benign tumours or benign conditions that may increase a woman’s risk of developing cancer. However I am under the impression that a bengin cancer tumour is going to be treated the same as an aggressive tumour. It is going to mean masectomy in any case of cancer and sometimes for ductal carcinima in situ (which is not cancer)? Can doctors even tell the difference between a benign cancer tumour and a serious cancer tumour? Is this difference going to be communicated to a woman and give her any choice in her treatment options? Is she just going to end up in the cancer mill?

      I am under the impression that any cancer found the result is cut, poison and burn whether it causes a person pain, dysfunction or not.

  7. Moo, I think that’s right, any cancer will be “treated”…no matter how small.
    BreastScreen argue, “what else can we do, when we don’t know which cancers will progress?”. This misses the point, the evidence says, the risks of screening exceed any benefit when you consider over-treatment and its consequences, including the death of women never destined to die from breast cancer. We know an older woman (73) who had a tiny “cancer” picked up by mammogram, she’s had surgery and lives with the fear, “it might come back”. She’s having annual mammograms as well, which scares the death out of me. She (and her family) live under a cloud of concern about a cancer I strongly suspect would never have bothered her in her lifetime.
    Wild horses wouldn’t drive me into a screening clinic, being treated for a harmless cancer is not my idea of fun.

  8. As for women harmed from “false alarms” from findings in mammograms…. It is not all aboit worries and sleepless nights. It is about real pain and real illness.

    When a breast biopsy is done a metal clip is inserted in the area of the biopsy as a marker for future surgeries or mammograms. Often this clip causes pain, infection or allergic responses in women. Read this website and the comments

    Women complaining about pain after a biopsy or even after a mammogram are told the clip “rarely” causes a problem and that it coild be all in their heads … Etc. It is surgery to get the clip out and even more risks to a woman’s health.

    • I remember watching the TV show the view a few years ago they had a doctor as a gust discusing mammograms. One of the woman bright up false positives and the doctor quickly told her “we don’t call it that.”. As if to shut up where she was going and he made a coming that it was worth that risk and cut Barbra Walters off.

    • Moo, there was a lady posted on the patient.co.uk website recently, that she had gone along to a mammogram after receiving her call up letter from the UK NHS. She had no symptoms at all, but the mammogram showed a slight shadow. She has now been put through the mill, of recalls, further investigations and biopsy and marker, but all have proved negative. Dispite this she has now been put on 6 monthly mammograms. The problem is that the scar tissue and damage from the biopsy will always show up on any future mammograms, so she now has to live with suspicious findings for the rest of her life. She wrote that if she had never gone along for that mammogram she would have been living her life free from all the worry, since nothing has ever been found. She would like to never return to any of it, but now has the dilemma, that what if the shadows on the mammograms do turn into something.
      This is exactly the kind of information which should be made clear to all women before they open the Pandora’s box of screening. But of course, it never is…

  9. The screening mammogram compresses the breast and gives up to 1 rad of radiation for foir views, two for each breast. If the tech sees somethjg then they will ask for more views and the woman gets more radiation. When she is recalled for a biopsy there is more radiation and compression used while the needle is inserted unless an ultrasound is used. How much radiation in total at that point before an cancer diagnosis is made, I don’t know.
    Here is brochure for the stereotypical biopsy mammogram

  10. Worth a read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32024158
    The genetic code of “an entire nation” has effectively been deduced, say researchers in Iceland. The feat was performed by combining DNA data with family trees. The team say they could now find every woman at high-risk of breast cancer “at the touch of a button” and it would be “criminal” not to use the information.
    They assume it would be criminal to not use the info………….so more women driven by fear, great!

    • Like the way he says all the women can easily be given preventive mastectomies and ovariectomies to cure the whole problem. Now, why is it preventive surgery only seems to be for women, I wonder…?
      Now that the Jade Goody effect has become a distant memory (Jade who?), the pro-screening lobby is now talking about the Angelina Jolie effect, and what a wonderful job it is doing bringing women into breast screening. Just when the news about overdiagnosis is getting through, Angelina has come in just in time to show how fantastic you can look after a double mastectomy, and many women are enquiring about them. I think this is really worrying, as so many women are keen to go under the surgeon’s knife hoping it will make their bodies look better. Women often want to lose bits of their bodies, men seem to prefer to bulk theirs up. I think there is an element of this in women’s preparedness to under go body alterations more readily than men.

      • Just beware. I know a woman who had a double mastectomy. I am not sure if she had DCIS ( which is not cancer or maybe they never explained). Half and hour before the surgery, two surgeons came into her room and asked if she wanted a “tummy tuck and breast reconstruction”. This was a new technique they were trying out. They would take fat from her stomach and make new breasts from it. They did not divide up the fat evenly so her breasts are different sizes. She was told she could get it fixed later (did not tell her at her own cost because then it was cosmetic surgery). She got infections afterwards in the incisions. She does not like that she has no nipples. The surgeon recommended that she get them tattoed. (She pays agains) Never telling her that tattoos can affect the xrays. I wonder if she is expected to get mammograms now.

        I did know a man who had a testicle removed for cancer. HE was upset that no reconstructive surgery was available. Imagine dating and having to explain to a lover why you only had one ball.

      • I wonder if it can be a self-hating thing, like wanting to reduce THEMSELVES. Also, I guess it could be like with shoes- it seems that women feel like it’s being big & clunky, like a guy.

  11. Just noticed an interesting article about American medical system playing tricks in order to get paid twice for mammograms: http://patients.about.com/od/healthinsuranc1/fl/Annual-Mammogram-Changing-Venues-for-Loss-of-Trust.htm

    Though the author of the article chose to submit to regular mammograms that are now proven to do more harm than good, she exposed a dangerous and criminal operation. The mammogram centres call their patients back for another portion of harmful radiation because “they think they need to cover more area”. And to get paid for the botched job twice, they note in the patient’s records (which are conveniently hidden from patients), that the first time they saw something “suspicious”. This means that the patient is much more likely to be harmed and overtreated later in life, without any knowledge or control of the true situation.

    This is USA, with their medical payment and insurance system. But given that breast screening rates are now falling in Australia, I think we can face the same tricks here.

    • The author of the article is on to something fraudulent. The most incidents of recalls are for baseline mammograms which are the first mammogram that a woman has. If there is anything unusual that is often redone with closer views of that area and then onto a biopsy after that.
      Professionally recall rates are sometimes monitored.

      I sure that Ontario must have a huge amount of doctor generated fraud in the whole system. This is just because a patient never knows what exactly a doctor is billing for. I can fill out a form and pay $5 and get a list of what was charged to OHIP in the last 7 years. But what to do with that I do not know. There are some alarms in the system to target doctors who grossly over bill however few doctors have been charged in the past.

  12. I think the first war should be wiping out the Clinical Breast Exam (vs. mammogram which I think has a role to play). This exam wouldn’t exist if males didn’t like the female breast so much.

    1. Almost all women will have at least one breast lump (85% plus) so the idea that palpating a breast in search of a lump is rather pointless (i.e. if all women are positive, why do the screen?).

    2. Palpation as a diagnostic has failed everywhere applied. Men do not receive DREs for a reason (and truth be told, even in the old days, the practice was haphazardly applied…males don’t like exploring other male’s behinds).

    3. The mean age at diagnosis for breast cancer is 63. Breast cancer incidence is inflated by harmless DCIS (25% of all cases). So why is an OB GYN pawing a 30 year old’s breasts exactly?

    4. Who is better positioned to notice breast dysplasia… a woman with 2 breasts that she can monitored 24/7/365 or an OB GYN with four thousand breasts that he sees one time per year (or so)?

    5. Why can’t a woman who notices a breast lump walk right into an imaging center for a diagnostic mammogram or better yet, ultrasound? An MD will read it (ultrasound). Why is there a GP gatekeeper who is only too eager to a pointless Clinical Breast Exam as precondition for a referral.

    6. ACOG continues to lamely defend Clinical Breast Exams. Their argument is (per norm) that the practice is costless and it catches some rare numbers of cancer missed by a mammogram (probably because of dense breast tissue). What ACOG will NOT tell you is that it a RICH source of false positives. Applying ACOG’s logic we should make all women submit to a “MAGIC 8 Ball” question because it too will catch some small number of cancers missed by mammogram.

    There are so many things about the Women’s Wellness industry that fail even the commonsense sniff test that it is hard to believe it really exists (wake me up). Women should have called BS a long time ago given how well these practices fit male sexuality vs. female healthcare needs. This said, lies of omission, lies of commission and outright coercion (birth control access), didn’t make this assault a fair contest.

  13. Almost all of the improvement in actual longevity for breast cancer victims comes from BETTER TREATMENT not more / better screening.

    This point is nuanced but 5 year survival rates can improve without even 1 additional day of longevity. Just keep detecting cancers ever earlier.

    The notion sold by US healthcare providers that catching it early justifies ever greater screening intensity is nonsense. Cancer progression is not consistently linear. Some cancers are so fast moving that they would defeat any screening regimen. Others are so slow that they present no risk (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ or DCIS).

    Okay….let’s begin:

    Clinical breast exams need to go bye-bye. Stupid and dangerous by design. Boys being boys healthcare was a pretense.

    Mammograms aren’t entirely useless although I would argue that ultrasound or MRI is better (particularly where family history exists).

    Women who are receiving annual mammograms 40-49 are playing with fire. The odds of at least one false positive are a whopping 39% (Vancouver study). Bet your OB GYN didn’t share that little tidbit. You see if you aren’t terrified of your reproductive organs, they don’t get paid and have a little fun at your expense.

    The reason why mammograms every 2-3 years 50-69 make sense is that while the false positive risk rises, disease incidence rises more (mean age at diagnosis is 63…breast cancer is a MATURE WOMEN’S DISEASE ON AVERAGE). For the 1 in 3 women who have dense breast tissue and DON’T KNOW IT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN TOLD, mammograms at any age are pointless (some states finally have required disclosure).

    For those with family history but no BRCA, please pay attention to age at diagnosis of your family member. A 35 year old daughter doesn’t need to rush off for annual screening because her 65 year old mom was diagnosed.

    Any woman should have the right to walk into an imaging center and demand a diagnostic ultrasound or mammogram because she has noticed a lump. The system is set up to force women to get a referral from a GP only too willing to charge for a pointless clinical breast exam confirming what the woman already knows. Provider associations argue, tongue and cheek, that women receiving a positive finding from the radiologist read (who is a MD) would panic, cut themselves and run around in circles. Your poor dears are so irrational and weak-minded that you have to have a GP or OB GYN referral. BS.

    • You make some great points.
      On this point:
      “Any woman should have the right to walk into an imaging center and demand a diagnostic ultrasound or mammogram because she has noticed a lump”

      Knowing what I know, I doubt I’d allow a mammogram if I found a lump. In the DVD, “The Promise” (Breast Screening) they mention a mammogram may crush and spread a malignant lump. I’d probably go for an ultrasound.
      I’ve declined breast screening and have never had CBEs, I don’t have routine ultrasounds or thermograms either, I couldn’t find any evidence of benefit. SO, it’s breast awareness for me.
      Thanks for some great comments.

      • Elizabeth, I think you mentioned somewhere, (can’t find it now), that you watched “Call the midwife” on TV. It’s not a programme I’ve dared to watch, as I’d just assumed it would be anti-home birth, and promote the idea that all women should give birth on their backs. I switch off if anything like that comes on TV. I’m glad you thought it was a good series. Anyway, we’ve now got a new series coming to our screens this weekend – “The C word” starring Sheridan Smith as Lynda Lynch who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 29 and died aged 33. Let’s just watch the demands for mammograms for young women shoot through the roof… Sheridan Smith now says she is supporting that odious charity “Coppafeel” promoting breast cancer awareness for school kids and other totally sick ideas. We certainly won’t be watching it, but I’ve an awful feeling this series is going to be just what the screening business has been hoping for to turn their slumping screening figures around. It’s sure to be on Aussie screen soon.

      • Ada, I’ve spoken to a few older English women who gave birth at home with a midwife in attendance. It sounds like it was fairly common in the UK in the 50s and 60s, not sure when you switched to mostly hospital birth. A family friend had her first in a UK maternity home in the 50s, her daughter was delivered by a midwife, you only saw the doctor on duty if a problem arose or you needed stitches. Her second and third were both born at home with a midwife caring for her. The women who gave birth at home felt safe, secure respected and relaxed in their own home, with their trusted midwife in attendance, compare that to a labor ward with students, feeling out of control, powerless, afraid, humiliated, unnecessary exams and interventions, invasions of privacy etc.
        One woman said she couldn’t understand the strong objection to home birth, it worked well when she had her children. It was usually just the woman and her midwife, husbands sat downstairs or outside, waiting for the happy news.

        So the series is about a group of midwives who work with an order of nuns, (also, midwives) it’s based on the memoirs of Jenny Lee, one of the midwives. The striking thing is pregnancy and childbirth is viewed as normal, left to women and their midwives, and doctors work happily in the system.
        It was the best of both worlds really, help when it was needed, otherwise midwives caring for and supporting women during pregnancy and childbirth.

        Over the years I’ve noticed quite a few women recall the trauma of childbirth, not because of pain, but the way they were treated by the system. (that replaced midwife-centred care)

        We had a similar issue when Kylie Minogue urged young women to get checked, we had lots of young women asking for mammograms etc. I’m sure most were turned away, but then I imagine some found a way to have one or were left worried sick doing breast checks every month, I wonder how many ended up having unnecessary biopsies etc.?
        All of this robs us of peace of mind and negatively affects our quality of life. Most people who’ve had a false positive know “that” feeling, terror, fear, anxiety etc. none of that is good for us. I don’t think we should focus on cancer at any age, but certainly not in our 20s. We lose something precious when we live our lives around cancer, screening exams and tests, false positives, biopsies, over-treatment etc.

  14. i don’t do screenings either. i had one mammagram. it hrt like hell. my chest bone is indented so it makes it harder. also those women doing screenings have no respect for some one who has dr anxiety. I don’t lie being exanined period! I can’t deal wit any more rude medcal staff!
    these ‘ bitches” think they are little gods, they you like a machine bring serviced.

    My car gets treaed alot better when it gets serviced they i do going to dr’s.

    I get treated really bad because of amy anxiety and standing up against procedures i don’t want.

    i am small, and i feel they think they have a right to push me around!

    people i know who have all these trsts and studd are always sick,

    I do blood work for thyroid and the basics thats it! I have just a old fashion internist.

    I have been blacked balled by the medical professionals and staff long enough!

  15. Yes Diane. They are very rude. The NHS guidelines tell nurses performing smear tests to be considerate and gentle. But in my experience they most definitely are not. The practice nurse at my surgery is like a little god. Since being so liberated by what I read on this site I can assure you and every one here it is me doing the pushing and ordering around from now on.

    • Linda, did you once contact a firm of solicitors and ask them about complaints about cervical screening? Did they say they often got those complaints but were not interested in pursuing them? I’m just wondering if it might be worth asking Healthwatch how many complaints they’ve had about screening under the terms of the freedom of information act? I’ve also seen one poster on patient.co.uk say she went to the police about it, but their response was that if you are on the couch with no underwear you are consenting to the procedure. I’d be really interested to know the levels of complaints about cervical screening, both with Healthwatch, solicitors and the police.

      • Hi Ada. I have now exhausted every avenue now including all the ones you suggested. No one is interested. No solicitor, no politician, no one from crappy Healthwatch or the NHS wants to know about the on going abuse of women.

        The only way to remain safe is to stay away from doctors and be your own gp. It looks like health care is now the last bastion of abuse that is not being investigated.

        I was watching the news just and there was an ad for an internet doctor called ‘pushdoctor’ it may not be perfect but at least he wont be sble to get in to vaginas so easily. Hopefully online doctors are the future.

        A woman who lives nearby who i have known for years, said that she doesn’t have to have smears anymore now she is seventy. But she told me how much she hated them and how much trouble they had caused her. I’m sure she’s been in a mutually monogomous marriage all her life and i’m pretty sure they were bith virgins. They were both members of my methodist church when i was a kid and i was friendly with their daughter. It just never occured to her to refuse. I didn’t upset her by telling her it was all so uneccesary i just let the subject drop. At 70 it hardly seemed fair for me to go on about it. But if i see her daughter i will mention it to her.

        By making smears sound as if they are mandatory and all part of a woman’s life, they are attacking and abusing us in my opinion. It is rape. There is no getting past that fact. Without choice or info about the procedure just the order to get on with it is most deff rape. However, no one is talking about it.

        It is now clear to me that the only thing the doctors have ever been interested in is my vagina. The knowledge hit me like a bolt yesterday when i went on an american site. I have never had an invitation from a cardiologist to see if everythings ok or brain surgeon or a diabetes specialist not even a diet and exercise specialust. Only an ‘invite’ to root around my vagina. All my adult life no matter what is wrong with me they were always more interested in one part of my body.

        I have felt very low over the past few days. I thought i was over it but every so often i get do angry when i think of what they are getting away with it. Thankgod because of the number of hits this website has a strong internet presence and more women are finding it.

        At least the new generation of app mad people coming along are more likely to want online appointments which are looking more a reality now. Hopefully women will be safer.

      • Hi Linda
        It still hits me and makes me see red, decades after I got to the evidence, I doubt it will ever go away, especially when you’ve been abused by the system. (I got off relatively unscathed, probably because I’ve never had a gyn issue, had children or used the Pill or HRT)
        I’ve been convinced for many years that the only way to save women is to get the evidence out there, to challenge the screening story, to provide references etc. The herd is not so secure these days, women CAN access real information these days, (if they look for it) once informed, I’ve found most women are happy to take charge of their healthcare.
        The system relies on an ignorant herd, that herd is getting smaller and smaller as every year goes by….that’s good news. I’ve pretty much given up writing letters and emails to politicians, advocates etc. the responses are always disappointing. One of my first complaints to Papscreen, a fairly detailed letter citing medical journal references, was dismissed with a couple of lines and they kindly provided me with a screening brochure so I could get informed…gee thanks, Papscreen! It was easy to fob women off back then, but I know these groups are now starting to feel the heat as screening numbers continue to fall…and thinking up new ways to capture women simply won’t work, informed women are onto them, game over.

      • Linda, don’t be too down about things as they ARE changing. Who would have thought 10 years ago that all this information would be coming out all over the web and women would be getting together to discuss our healthcare. We ARE winning this battle. Most times I successfully lock my bad experiences away. I am surrounded by wonderful people, family and friends, and it keeps me in good spirits. Then I’ll suddenly hear a flippant remark from some medic trying to herd everyone into screening, and I get upset about what was done to me in the past. Then I think that some people have lived through concentration camps, having their families killed and having a child die. What was my hysterectomy compared to what some people have had to go through? We are the lucky ones really and we are winning. Some doctors out there are saying some great insipiring things: as well as Margaret McCartney, there is Iona Heath, Trish Greenhalgh, Susan Bewley, Michael Baum, Peter Goetzsche. Just Googling them and reading/listening to something they have to say on YouTube makes me feel better right away!

  16. good for you! its time we stopped be treated so nasty. They always have the ” big’ nasty bitch up front. the bull dog! I’m small i have to be tough, or will get pushed around. i feel as long as i don’t say anything threatening i am okay don’t know!
    not going to be pushed around any more.

    • Linda you are a mega strong lady and as I said before respect!! Had I been through even half of what you did I’d not be standing.
      Ada and Elizabeth are right, women are more informed these days, thanks to women like them..and you.
      All of you do a great job reaching women like me.. And countless others. Truly I hope one day you can find healing though I know it’s hard. Rape is never easy to get over.
      Here for you sister n friend.. Luv kat

      • I had a doctor appointment today, chronic exhaustion to the point it felt like my legs are about to go under me.
        Doc was horrified. He ordered blood tests and was aghast I’d not had any cholesterol testing or other blood work in the 6 years I’d been with the practice. I always refused before. I was well and didn’t want to screen. YOU’RE 51 AND HAVE NEVER HAD BLOODS DONE SINCE YOU JOINED THE PRACTICE.!! This time I agreed to the tests because there’s a reason for them. I’m ill. On a plus, smear and HRT weren’t mentioned. Probably because of the blood victory!!

      • Hi Kat. Hope you are ok and they get to sort whatever is wrong. If it is exhaustion then its time to pull back on things and rest your body. Try multivits they always help me. I will be thinking of you

        Thanks everyone for your support yesterday i was very low. I will read the new posts today then i am going for a long walk to clear my head. Love you all. Xx

  17. I’m firing a doctor whom I’ve used about 8 years over her palpable disappointment that I will not have mammograms. I have a serious skin disease. I’ve been in the hospital twice with her for cellulitis.
    I’ve seen a dermatologist for years, and she’s never shown any interest in learning more. I can discuss any med issue I want with my derm team, but she can’t return the favor.
    Trying to decide if I should let her know Xactly why. When I was younger, I would have blasted her gladly.
    I’ve already found a better general internist.

    • I’d let her know, Betsy.
      When doctors see more and more women challenging the system and taking control of their health and screening decisions, they’ll have to stop and think. Losing patients and money is a good way to send a message, I will not be treated this way.
      Let them know we’ve found new doctors, who listen to us and respect our right to choose.
      For too long the coercion, pressure, bullying etc. worked, now more women are taking action.
      Good for you, Betsy. You’ve helped change a disrespectful and unethical system. (I’d say abusive as well)
      Hope your skin condition improves, all the best. (BTW I don’t have mammograms either, or pap testing)

      • I got badly burned by a pap smear in the late 1980s, coerced into treatment when I had other problems that needed treatment.
        I was so ripped by the pap smear emotionally and financially. A vaginal infection recurred shortly after the laser and cryosurgeries. The infection was why I had gone to a gyn in the 1st place. Then I had no money for the infection.
        That particular doctor was a true cancerphobe. He didn’t even come back and talk to me after the day surgery at the hospital. Greedy! Nevertheless, he truly sees himself as a warrior against cancer.

      • After I went to her, I found another doctor. I told him on the 1st visit that I do not want a mammogram. On the 2nd visit, he asked again. I finally explained to him that I had no guarantee that a mammogram and anything after that would not aggravate a nasty condition that I first tried to get helo with 41 years ago.
        I’m finally, maybe, making some real progress with it with a new dermatologist.
        In spite of my being in the hospital with her with skin cellulitus, she is not interested in my skin disease, my prominent senior treating dermatologist, nor has she shown any interest in learning more to help her other patients.
        I just wrote her a letter and told her that she upset me terribly into remembering all the times i have been coerced into stuff like blood pressure pills and Pap procedures while my untreated real illnesses with symptoms went ignored.
        I told her that if she can do a Pap smear, she can do a skin biopsy.
        I am always astonished when doctors blow off a real illness with real symtoms then think they can bully you into blood pressure pills, cholesterol meds, and cancer screenings for the benefit of your health.
        I was denied fertility treatment when I was in my early 30s and sympathy! I wanted children, but I had no problem with not having them. That happens! The problem I had was with not being given sympathy.
        Quality mammograms don’t make up for prior injustices. Life doesn’t work that way.
        Has anybody tried making an appointment with a new doctor and stating that you are not coming in to be bullied into a mammogram or a Pap smear?
        I’ve done that with blood pressure. I have fired at least 3 doctors who could nothing but diddle around with a blood pressure cuff. I have called doctors in the past and stated that I expect more than a blood pressure cuff, and that I will not waste my time or money if I do not get more than a blood pressure cuff. I hired one doctor with the restriction that my body is more than a reading on a blood pressure cuff. I know he wanted to talk about it more.

      • Hi Betsy

        “Has anybody tried making an appointment with a new doctor and stating that you are not coming in to be bullied into a mammogram or a Pap smear?”

        Yes, I interview doctors before I take them on, my current GP has been wonderful and respectful, she listens and she’s accepted my informed decisions not to have cancer screening. I always try to be polite, but firm, we even make jokes about screening these days. The consults are almost conversational in style these days.

        I don’t go in saying, “I’m here to interview you”…it’s more, “I’ve come in today, I just want some information about a skin problem/a gastric issue etc.” It doesn’t take long to know whether you can work with someone, it also, comes down to feeling comfortable with someone. I hate the old style GP, I imagine they enjoy using coercion to get their way, I hope they’re a dying breed, but I know there are still a few out there. (the AMA has a few in senior mgt positions)

        I saw a local female doctor, probably about 20 years ago, at the end of the consult she asked me if I was up to date with pap tests. I hate that, just assuming you have pap testing. I said, “I’ve made an informed decision not to have them”…she immediately stiffened, sounded angry and impatient as snorted at me, “you SHOULD be having pap tests”….fail…she didn’t get the job.

      • I should add, after her response, it must have irked her that I could just walk away and I didn’t start apologizing for my non-screening status or feel pressured to have the test. It was clear to me at an early age though, that I could never ask a GP for the Pill, that would have changed the power dynamic in the consult room and at a time when I felt uncomfortable enough just walking into a doctor’s surgery. Even if you got the script and stood firm, “No pap testing, pelvic or breast exams”…you’d have a fight on your hands every few months when you went in for a repeat. Life is far too short for that sort of stressful game.

    • Thanks Linda. I’m hoping it’s just over work. I’m off for summer now as I work in a school.
      I’ll try the multi vitamin idea thank u… I also hope you feel better in yourself very soon.
      I’ll be thinking of u and also the others on here. It’s lovely being part of such a supportive group x

  18. They don’t want woman to know that there is another side to screening. If more woman stand up to doctors and nurses they might start having to respect woman’s choice. It seems right now no means a woamcould be talked down too and shame d. We shouldn’t have to keep saying no it should be the end of it.

    • So many doctors really and truly believe that a woman’s body is a dirty, shameful thing exceptionally prone to cancer.

  19. Yes they do and so do nurses. One nurse got so offended that I didn’t have paps. She said ” that’s not good. Are female bodies are so complex BC we mensturate . she didn’t know a pap does not have any thing to do with mensuration. It seemed like they must feed lies and brush over facts in mead school. She knew absolutely nothing about it screening for cancer just that it was bad not to have them. I well never trust them if they have to hide things something’s wrong.

    • Does it ever occur to anyone that this complex body is designed for that? That’s like saying a man is inherantly likely to get testicular cancer because he’s got a “fluid launching system” in his pants!

      Also, don’t they continue to chase after old women that are way past menopause for all these same tests? And girls that aren’t yet fertile?

      • if you do have a menstrual problem, it will be blamed on, “depression,” and/or, “mood swings.” I bled 15 days for 24 cycles in the late 1980s. I watched my child bearing years tick by. My problem was a, “personality change,” or, “mood swings.” I never complained to anyone about those symptoms.
        I was finally placed on birth control pills, cheap little BC pills, and I had to go through sheer heck to get them. BC pills were invented for women like me. The researchers were not trying to suppress ovulation.
        BC pills did help.
        Later, when my diabetes deteriorated to the point that I needed insulin, my periods got lighter and lighter and were gone in 6 months. I have never had a single symptoms of menopause!
        It chaps my soul that I had unnec paps and breast exams to get them!

      • Hi Alex. I could not stop laughing for ages this morning. That is the all time best line I have ever read. ‘Fluid launching system’!!!!!

        I am past the meno Alex and they are still chasing me. I was stupid enough to answer this ‘question are you still having sex?’ which was no buisness of theirs anyway – I don’t know why I answered it like a little sheep but I have only just woken up. Anyway since then they have pursued me me to have a smear. How dare I still have sex at fifty. I must be punished. !!!

      • Alex, I chatted to an American woman on a health forum for a few months, (private messages back and forth) this was a few years ago now. This woman was forced to get her lawyer involved to stop the care home putting her elderly mother through pap testing, pelvic exams and mammograms.
        There is no evidence of benefit, it’s pointless, and it carries risk, a pap test on an 80-something woman is very likely to be abnormal. (and very painful, and you’d be unlikely to get a decent sample, you’re likely to cause bleeding, soreness etc.)
        Even if a few did benefit, some/many elderly people would prefer not to know, leave me alone and in peace to enjoy my final months/years.
        So often the system has no common sense and certainly, no compassion.

      • That’s what I wanted to say to the nurse Alex. And how did woman service bf the pap was invented.?

  20. that is ABUSE! glad she took action. more need to do it. the system lacks compassion. workers are trained to treat patients like a assembly line. Ig i am denied an apt by some one on the phone again, i will request a supervisior. if need me i wil be report it!
    i am fed up with in humane treatment by medical staff!

    i already like i am br ” black balled” by dr’s offices. I hav had issues to often!

  21. Being heard by Dr’s staff
    i find it impossible to be heard by office staff. after a week of trying to get blood work results, i finally spoke to the nurse. she was so busy talking, that she didn’t listen to what i was trying to explain,
    i wwas teyng to explain that i just saw the dr and insurance was getting scripts faxed.
    thse women are nothing but machines repeating data.
    i went to the office with everythin written out. i did make an apt. all i wanted was an explaination and a chance to talk.

    i tried an endro once didn’t listen. i told her i could no take anymore thyroid med i speed bad.
    i had an issue when i tried to make an apt with another one.
    i guess there is no compassion in medicine anymore just $$$ and papers.

    i do have dr anxiety but i am not nasty. not a dr shopper either. rarely go. hate it!
    if they would instead of insisting on so many screenings more would be helped!

    i know what my blood work said, but its not what i am feeling. so fed up with the medical system!

  22. i am so fed up i called a endro’s office about an apt. i tried to explain to the women on the phone my issue. the ” bitch” would not stop talking. i said they were on my insurance list.
    this woman was so caught up in thre policy about getting a referral dr required, that she didn’t hear a word said.

    i don’t how to get this people to listen. i suck with dr’s offices. i finally hung up. If a perspective new patient is treated that rudely dr not for me. Its like the women guard the king.

    i am not going to pay another $ 300.00 to some dr who doesn’t listen, justbsays take more med,
    after i say i can’t tolerate it. i write down , put in my chart and give it to the dr as well.

    i do feel i ave been black marketed by drs.

    hey hook you by only filling script if you see them, $$$.

    • What aren’t they doing? Is it like they don’t answer your questions or something? Just talking as if they hadn’t said anything could work. You could also try lying- like quickly saying “I’ve got that, but I need to know (whatever it is).” If it comes up, you could always say “I meant “I’ve got that” in the sense of comprehension.”

      Pretty sure the term is “black listed” or “black balled.”

      • no i don’t answer question or listen to what my issue is. told her i undrstand their plicy but
        she didn’t even explain what i needed from my dr. I don’t think i could get my dr send the information to him, that office doesn’t handle paper work well.

        i am moving on anyway. thre isn’t any endro on my insurance. if i have to pay for it, i’ll go
        where i feel i can be helped.

        black listed yes, i just feel like i am black listed. i have had dr issues for yrs, i have done anything mean or out of line.


  23. Wow!! This site is amazing and a big thank you to Linda who found me on another site and directed me here!
    I hope I’ve managed to opt out of cervical screening now, but at 51 am expecting a pre booked “invitation ” to a mammogram and guess I’ll be doing the same to opt out of mammography too!!
    I certainly didn’t realise how harmful the breast screening could be.
    Interestingly a colleague of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram, she said she was totally amazed as she hadn’t picked up on it, after reading the post here I wonder if it was really just benign all along….
    I’m so grateful Linda directed me here I’ll now be refusing to breast screen too…

    • i have had one mammogran and never went back. it was awful don’t trust it anyway. never could have a pap. never got dignosed. finally i said i have had enough. i am glad to never put my self through that trauma again! glad you were directed here. its nice t have women who understand

    • Welcome aboard Kat! Great to have you here with us. The NHS blocks any negative experiences of screening from swaying the herd. So glad we have this site to post and share our experiences with the rest of the world.
      And, of course, thank you Sue for setting this site up and helping women all over the world. I’ve only been a member for just over a year. Had you any idea that the site would grow so much, Sue?

      • Hey Ada
        We’ve received a response over at The Conversation. I’ve posted a response, I’ve suggested he study self-disgust as a result of medical coercion and pap testing, false positives, excess biopsies etc. It’s probably not something he’s even thought about, the collateral damage caused by this program is pretty much ignored, yet we all know MANY women have been left with all sorts of issues as a result of women’s screening programs.

        Also, I needed a repeat script for some skin cream, my GP is overseas, the locum GP asked me if I was having bowel screening. I said a colonoscopy was out for me. She lightly said, “fair enough, it’s a small risk anyway, heart disease is more likely to take all of us, not bowel cancer”.
        Interesting that screening for a fairly rare cancer is not treated this way, FAR from it.
        No pap testing…WHAT!

      • Thanks for telling me. I like the Conversation as it is a good place to discuss with academics, but as you say, you have to be very careful what you say. I passionately believe that academic and medical discussion should be more in the open for lay people to join in discussions too. A barrier the internet has really broken down.

        I don’t seem to have found the “Notify me of new comments by email” button, and am having trouble finding if my comments have been replied to. Is there one on that site?

        I have recently replied to them on the thread.

      • Thanks adawells. Even before I found this site I was questioning the advisability of mammogram. When I was pregnant I slipped in the snow and broke my ankle, at the x ray they put a lead apron on me to protect baby from stray (rays)? Is that the right word?? Anyway the rays could be damaging?? And then they want us to nuke our boobs like that several times over a 15_20 year period?? It’s a no brainer to me and was back then too!!

      • Kat: Yeah, it doesn’t make too much sense to think to treat cancer with radiation or toxic chemicals when exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals is something that tends to CAUSE cancer. Especially in an environment where it’s easy to get sick when your immune system is weakened from these procedures. Then there’s the responses to THAT, which can be dangerous in themselves. Maybe through in pain killers that have additional effects…it’s not necessarily as good as it might look.

    • Hi kat i’m so glad you decided to try us. A big welcome to you. From now on you never need be brow beaten into exams. Learn all you can from everyone here and take no nonsense from any doc anymore.

  24. The coercion factor really does have something to do with the attractiveness of the woman. I’ve been on both ends of the system. When I was 18 – 23, I was moderately overweight but I didn’t really look like it because I tend to have a lot of muscle. I was about 5’4″ and 150. During that time, whenever I went to the doctor for anything, they constantly tried to force me into pap smear and would even refuse to treat unrelated conditions. I still refused.

    I started to gain weight due to a bad diet in grad school, so from the ages of 24 – 26, I was about 200 pounds. Whenever I went to the doctor for anything at this time, they would quickly treat me for my condition and quickly rush me out of the room with no mentioning of a pap smear. I thought that it was finally over.

    At the age of 26, I started to eat very healthy because I didn’t want to develop heart disease, etc. I quickly lost all of the weight and have remained about 125 – 130 since that time. Ever since I became healthy, I have been sought after endlessly for pap smears and doctors and nurses are extremely aggressive. I think that this is clear evidence that the exams have a sexual stigma attached – doctors don’t want to look at someone naked that the perceive to be unattractive but they want to view the parts of someone that society views as attractive.

    • I noticed this pattern very early, the male doctor at Student Health insisted the attractive women get the works or they were denied the Pill, while overweight women or those he clearly didn’t fancy got a blood pressure test, a script, and out the door. One girl with severe acne got her scripts quickly with a BPT. (she was on the Pill for birth control and to help her acne)
      I kept a mental note and could predict what “requirements” would be “necessary” when a woman asked for the Pill. It was that blatant…
      Also, you often found the young women in the family got the routine breast exams, if they had a cold, headache or sprained ankle, while the older women were left alone. Age is a risk factor for breast cancer, but routine breast exams are still not recommended here for women of any age.
      So it was mostly young women having regular routine breast exams, they used to be called TUBES…and of course, the other excess, recto-vaginal exam and bimanual exams.
      (and from memory these women were only given 3 or 6 months supply of the Pill and were forced into the consult room again for more abuse)
      Pap tests were also, performed under coercion, no pap test (and the excess) = no pills for you.

      • So you can imagine Papscreen urging GPs to engage in opportunistic screening, and the introduction of incentive payments to reach targets gave predators a lot of leeway…women were left VERY vulnerable in the consult room.

  25. I was just reading the last Govt report on Cervical Screening:

    “Table 5.2: Government funding for cancer screening programs, 2012–13, $ million
    Screening program Expenditure 2012–13

    BreastScreen Australia(a) 204.9M
    National Cervical Screening Program(b) 89.3M
    National Bowel Cancer Screening Program(c) 32.9M
    Total 327.1M

    (a) Excludes mammography for breast cancer screening that occurs outside BreastScreen Australia.
    (b) Excludes the proportion of the costs associated with GP, specialist and nurse attendances that would have been for Pap smears.
    (c) Excludes MBS flow-on costs as well as bowel screening that occurs outside the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
    Note: These expenditure data only include recurrent expenditure; health infrastructure payments for cancer have been excluded as well as any health workforce expenditure.
    Sources: AIHW Health expenditure database; Medicare Australia Statistics.

    Expenditure on cervical screening
    In 2012–13 an estimated $89.3 million was spent on cervical screening in Australia.
    This cannot be compared with the expenditure of $125.2 million reported for cervical
    screening for 2008–09, as this latter figure included an estimate for the proportion of the costs
    associated with GP, specialist and nurse attendances for Pap tests (AIHW 2013b)—an
    estimate no longer included in the expenditure data. This limits the comparability of data”

    What an absolute waste of money, we spend a fortune to screen and treat women, most of whom are not even at risk of cervix cancer, breast screening has a huge black cloud over it, IMO, it was introduced prematurely, without carefully checking the validity and independence of the research studies that supported screening. (vested interests, conflict of interest?)
    So many things are underfunded while we waste a fortune on programs that either screen the wrong way or where the risks of screening exceeds any benefit.
    Our public psychiatric services have always been shamefully underfunded…and look at bowel screening, the poor cousin, much more likely than cervical cancer, we have a piecemeal program. I’m not recommending bowel screening by the way, I still have doubts and concerns. I’m looking forward to the results of the RCT being conducted at Dartmouth, comparing colonoscopies with the FOBT.

    I agree Ada, that cheers me up immensely, just reaching for something by Margaret, Michael or Peter makes me feel a lot better, now they are my kind of doctors!

    • Jola just signed and past it on to other people I know. Keep up the good work. I refused to get my daughter who’s now 19. Vaccinated. I don’t trust it one bit!!

  26. Saw a dreadful poster in my NHS GP surgery today. It read:

    Huge text, visible from across the room: “1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Breast screening saves lives. Local health authority are screening in your area now.”

    How on earth does that encourage women to make an informed choice? There was nothing on the poster to say it has risks as well as benefits. I don’t need to tell you that “screening saves lives” is a factual and yet WILDLY simplistic statement that gives people no sense of proportion. How many lives are saved? Are they implying all cases can be caught through screening? Some people will come away with that idea: screening *will* save your life.

    I found it totally inappropriate and the only wording I’d have liked to see would be: “Breast cancer screening is available in your local area. If you’re considering screening, please pick up a leaflet from the front desk or talk to one of our doctors or nurses about the pros and cons of screening.” Of course that leaflet/doctor/nurse would give balanced information.

    • Even if people see a poster like that and go on to get balanced info later, the impact of that first poster can stay with them. Surely if the risks were significant they would be on the poster? The message of the poster is the most important message in their eyes (the bullet-point info, the summary of the whole argument), and that is saying screening is entirely positive.

      • Agreed Victoria in my surgery it’s 6 posters on the “importance ” of attending your smear test!!
        Brainwashing or what??
        And breast screening from what I read, is even more hit and miss than cervical screening.
        By the way Linda your advice re multi vitamin was spot on. I have been diagnosed with microcytic anaemia and have appointment tomorrow to discuss and find out more and presumably medication

    • This figure is so misleading it should be stopped. I’ve read that it is 1in 8 over the age of 80 at time of death from old age, who will have a diagnosis of breast cancer. Under age 40 it is about 1 in 2000, at age 50 it is about 1 in 50 and even at age 70 it is about 1 in 25. Not that this real information would have much impact on a poster. All designed to get young women thinking that 1 in 8 of them will get it. It’s completely wrong and misleading.

  27. The 1 in 8 gets thrown around a lot, many women don’t understand, like most things, the risk rises with age. I know when they were challenged about that number, nothing was changed, they didn’t want to “confuse” women.
    I found a blog…this happens so often, so many women are being harmed, but thankfully, more are getting to the evidence and speaking out. Over-diagnosis and breast screening.

    • Thanks for the article. It says much to me about the medical community in regards to “active survellience”. The difference between prostate screening and breast and cervical screening programmes. A man being able to get erections is more important than a woman keeping her breasts. Yes because a man may die with prostate cancer rather than die of it. That same dignity is not afforded to women with their parts.

      • Well even though I was expecting it, it was still a shock today to get my mammogram summons in the post. I phoned to cancel even before I’d read the pretty pink leaflet, I felt I had to cancel so someone who actually wanted it could have it! Then I read the leaflet and quite honestly I think even if I had smears I’d still refuse mammogram. When it admits that radiation can increase risk and how many women might be over treated why does any woman go unless she has symptoms?
        Of course my GP can now nag me about this as well as smears… Oh lucky me!!

  28. Excerpt from letter “if you would like help deciding to have breast screening please contact your GP “. No seriously!! I wonder what said GP would say? In an ideal world they’d be objective and honest but in the world of women’s screening??

    • Hi kat. I got an appointment date and time did you? Its so wrong, like smears it tries to make it seem you just gave to go. I refuse all tests now unless i think its necc and i have done the research. I just cant wait for a gp to challenge me. Or that damn practice nurse. I’m so happy i reclaimed my body from them. I feel down sometimes because of what the NHS got away with for all those years.

      • i agree. i am glad i don’t try to have a pap anymore. i went through yrs of being violated. I never found out what caused my spams and tightness.
        All those Drs. stole my ability to love someone, maybe have kids.

        I was left feeling damaged an incomplete women!

        I am in the us. Screening is all about $$$. They find a little something and they send you
        to some one else more $$$. More paper work to screw up!

        I found a holistic Dr, who accepts my choice not to screen!

    • Just received my 2nd ever mammogram summons only yesterday too, with a date booked for end of the month. In my area the only way to get back to them is online. No phone number or reply slip was on the form. Perhaps they thought those without computer access would have difficulty refusing, and then they can pester them for non-attendance. So I logged on straight away, cancelled my appointment, giving my reason that I had read the leaflet and decided to decline their offer, then straight into the recycling with the paperwork.

      It also said they may contact me about my reply, so I am ready and waiting for them…

      • I don’t bother cancelling any mammogram summons. I didn’t ask for the appointment. The fact that it states a date and time for attendance leaves no room for informed consent. I’ve made my position clear to my GP. I treat such letters as junk mail and it goes straight into recycling.

      • Mint you’re right, I think I was too polite to them. The online reply form had phone number/email address as required fields. I opted for email, so will wait and see if there is any further contact. I don’t doubt for a minute that this online reply triggers off an alert to my GP that I’ve declined.

      • So it’s a “choice ” but they might contact you to discuss the “choice?? “! Unbelievable!! I’m just glad that the woman didn’t give me grief on the phone!
        Yes Linda I got a date and time. And mint I’m kicking myself I never realised by giving the date and time it’s not informed consent! Maybe I’ll just ignore the next one!!

      • CONTACT ME FOR ORGANIZING REFORM OF “INFORMED CONSENT” IN BREAST SCREENING. Tell your doctor/clinic that you want them first to send you their Written Informed Consent form (THey probably don’t have it in writing.) — It should state that medical genetics has found that low-dose ionizing radiation causes double-strand breaks in DNA repair pathways, causing mutations which can cause breast cancer. If it doesn’t say that, then it is a fraudulent document and we all need to get together and get these written informed consent forms from all of the mammography clinics and then demand a law that forces these doctors and their lucrative clinics to provide such written consent. Thus far, we are all getting overstatement of efficacy and understatement of dangers. We need a strong and militant and public approach. Snapdragon07@gmail.com

      • Yes, they’re frantic to chat to you if you decline, but don’t seem to care that women are presenting for mammograms with no clue about over-diagnosis.
        In fact, some would be there because their GP told them they “should” have mammograms or because Jo Hall (or another celebrity) told them they should, “early detection is best”.

        Incredible they think their conduct to direct women into screening is okay, but they’ll contact you about your refusal, I assume to make sure you understand the risk you’re taking as a non-screener.
        Ummm, what about the risk you take when you screen?
        According to Prof Baum the risks of screening outweigh any benefit, that’s good enough for me.
        I don’t hear from them, I took myself off the register a few years ago now.

      • Mint, you are absolutely right!
        First, they waste our tax money to feed the screening system that pesters and harms us. Then they want us to waste our time and more money on a phone call to cancel the appointment we never asked for! And that’s called “informed consent”, “respect for privacy” and “choice”. Women’s health care — business as usual.

  29. I will ignore mine next time as well. Never gave the thought of informed consent a second thought but i see what you mean by it. Here in st helens we are now getting points to win prizes for our recycling, so the letters are actually worth something to me now! However, i wish to god someone would ring me about screening.

    Diane, while i think your terrible experiences at the hands of docs is awful they would be great in the book we are putting together to out on kindle. It will be free for anyone to download which hopefully will be another way to get our message to others. Its all about helping other women.

    I am going to start drafting my story on monday. Probably put it on in a few weeks. Eliz from Aust hasn’t posted in a while I hope she can put something on as well.

    • Linda I’m drafting too, just wanted to let you know. It’s amazing what you’re doing can’t wait to read the finished book x

  30. I didn’t see one thing in the leaflet that made me think it’s a good idea. They say around 4,000 women could be given treatment they don’t need, probably the figures are higher and the treatment is risky in itself??
    I also saw a daily fail article, in a way it was very balanced, woman who’s mammogram threw up tumour probably DCIS and she refused treatment preferring to keep an eye on it (she’s still fine). However the article said “women are rebelling against the breast screening programme “! Rebelling makes us sound like naughty children defying the nice grown ups who only have our welfare at heart!!
    Heaven forbid we’re actually being responsible!!

  31. Here is an example of pseudo-science, manipulative deception and coercion perpetrated on me by a female gynecologist, in violation of legal and ethical standards, with the collaboration of the breast cancer center/ hospital that feeds women into the mammogram-centric big money grant UCSF breast research program: On July 22nd, she performed an unusually forceful breast exam, leaving me bruised on both sides even up to now, November 27th, and told me a story intended to frighten me into compliance. Both she and the hospital breast clinic refused to provide an ultrasound or MRI unless I first submitted to mammography. Two months later, a nurse-practitioner found “a lump.” Most likely created by the gynecologist’s “exam.” Additionally, instead of providing me a written information consent form setting out the risks of mammograms (e.g., high rate of false positives and false negatives, overdiagnosis followed by radiation, high rate of erroneous and dangerous biopsies, unnneeded medical procedures including surgery— plus DOUBLE STRAND BREAKS IN THE DNY OF DNY REPAIR PATHWAYS predisposing to cancer — , she also lied and said a mammoram is no riskier than “taking a trip in a plane or a day at the beach”–

  32. “Evidence-based medicine” is based on statistics, not on individual genome and susceptibilities to toxicities and diseases—- And “Evidence-based medicine” is based on statistics, which in turn are inevitably skewed by (a) deceitful studies; (b) unreported incidents of adverse events (c) incentivized predation on men and women both. We need a means to force those who profit from mammographies and procedures on women to disclose all of the risks and all of the benefits, and have a waiting period of 2 weeks between the time this information is presented to the patient in writing, and the time any of the procedures may commence. We need an end to the deceitful and coercive practices.

  33. Mint and Elizabeth both have good points.
    When you ladies receive a so-called “summons” you have a couple of options:
    A. Simply ignore it as Mint suggests
    B. Follow through with their decline process and deal with their subsequent BS – as Elizabeth points out they just love to engage you in a discussion to try and change your mind.

    Remember that their “summons” has no legal status – it’s just an attempt to coerce you to participate in their screening program…..hoping you’ll be “good little girls” and do as they say.
    Their condescending and denigrating attitude towards women’s rights to make their own decisions disgusts me.

    IMHO Mint has the right idea -toss it in the recycle with the rest of the junk mail….

  34. Hi Hex. I see these ‘summons’ for what they are now. I have kept my mammo letter as i’ve taken to writing about these issues.
    There was a time when the Cerv Screen summons came through the letterbox with the full bravity of the law in them. There was no mention of choice. Plus the letters were backed up by the words of docs. I could not get out of them. I don’t exactly know what would have happened back then if I refused. There must be something in the wording because why else were so many women taken in by this terrible scam.

    As a young girl i was programmed to please. Thats it! Its just my conditioning. Since turning 50 i changed. There is definitely some power that is given to older women. I feel fitter, stronger than i ever have’ its like i no longer tolerate anyones nonsense. In fact i feel ready to engage anyone over anything. I wish i had been like this always i would have saved myself a lot of heartache and stress. I’m not aftraid to get older i think i will recieve more and more wisdom.

    • Linda,

      I agree, it is conditioning. And it’s sinister – why else would ACOG encourage young girls to see a gyn to establish a relationship early? What it is, is job preservation – grooming the next generation of sheep…….drink the kool-aid. I hesitate to make the comparison because in most cases I don’t believe sexual abuse is a conscious goal, but it is not dissimilar to how a sexual predator grooms their next potential victim.

      My favorite teacher ever was my HS freshman social studies teacher. She had a reputation for being both strict and a tough grader, but it was really more encouraging us to push our limits, set standards and hold ourselves to them – not to be “average”, but to be the best we can be.

      I’ll never forget the first day of class – she stood in front of 30+ students and gave us a synopsis of what the class would cover, at the end of which she very emphatically stated “If you don’t learn anything else in this class this year, you WILL learn to think for yourself!”

      Don’t get me wrong, my parents and many of my grade school teachers had always encouraged us to aggressively pursue knowledge, but something in that one statement that day clicked – I realized that I had not only the right, but the duty to research beyond the basic standard information and to form my own opinions.


      • Hi Hex. I cant believe it happens to children in America. Yours is the one country I have always thought of as not doing anything horrible to kids. When I watch American comedy the women are always so sassy you would think they totally run the place. Never let anything like unwanted exams happen. Since learning about what goes on there I’m shocked.
        I think your male gyno’s are nothing but perverts. What male would train for this?
        I believe you gave an org over there called Child Protection Services. What do they think of it?
        I’m so glad your teacher was inspirational. I try to be. In England teaching is very controlled but I manage to get the odd things in.

      • Linda: America is nothing like the movies & TV. It really seems like the women (at least the ones from my mother’s generation- I’m 28, for reference) will put up with absolutely anything that isn’t a backhand or a dinner order. I think this is a large source of the belief that someone is being immature, stupid, or crazy to have bodily autonomy or self-protectiveness. Deciding what goes where is argued against in concept, just not in direct terms.

        As for children, there was a cop that raped a bunch of kids & didn’t get a day. Meanwhile, when someone hits them (cops)- that gets them years in prison. The cops main, murder, and molest across the country & they cry that they’re the victims in a war on cops- which, apparently, means shooting themselves & saying someone else did it.

        They then put the town on “lockdown” which, at the very, least tends to mean that people are prisoners in their own homes. It’s, of course, uncertain whether or not these same people will break into a house & attack the occupants- possibly with a deceitful claim of being attacked, as if that’s never a good thing.

  35. Hi Eliz. I would like any submissions for 20th December. I only need a few hours to prepare it for Kindle. Indented para’s, grammar check, right typefaces and conversion to kindle happy format. After its uploaded it takes about two days to go through the Amazon system that checks for rasicm, religious hatred, gay hatred, porn etc. So it should be available to download by 23rd or 24th.
    Its in human nature when anyone gets a device to see what they can get for free. I would like to target all women getting a device this Christmas.(that means any device as once uploaded to Amazon its available anywhere and everywhere all over the world).
    It will be hard to avoid downloading it as I am going to put it in every genre except for childrens.
    Also I am going to create links to the Internet so anyone typing in smear tests or related words will come across it.
    Because of new free technologies we have the potential to reach millions. You of all people should have pride of place in it as you have lead this battle for years when hardly anyone was listening.
    I look forward to your article as I know you will put your best so far into it.

    • Linda: What was it you wanted me to write? I remember you saying you wanted me to put something down about unconventional attack. Do you want me to get into the subject of gaslighting & trying to present themselves as the progenitor of people’s decisions & all that?

      I’d like to go from the philosophical/ontological (like how properties don’t change by designation & reality doesn’t take a coffee break for medical personnel), to the techniques (coercion, deception, turning something into an ambush with physical force, rushing people around so there’s no time to think, presentation- particularly as a fixed situation, etc…), to the workings of these techniques (ex: that this tactic hinges on the concept of not being able to articulate what the problem is & not being able to “make your case,” that tactic hinges on presumed honesty & accuracy- whether from other people in general or from someone with certification).

      Mine would be somewhat long- is that okay? I don’t know if I should get into any personal history or not, though. I AM a guy putting this down & would maybe like to get into how someone might go about recruiting male assistance with things like these & getting points across- sometimes men miss the concept of someone bringing up THAT something is a problem, largely because there’s a tendency to check against a mental list of what’s a problem (they look in the “Attack Bin” & don’t find this situation there).

    • Hi Linda,
      I’m writing a piece entitled “The shameful history of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme” which is currently at about 7,000 words, so I may have to send it in in chunks, but it should be ready by 20th. I’m checking for grammar and will add references, so shouldn’t need tidying up. I’m so excited about this project!

      • Hi Alex. Yes I see no reason to exclude you from our book because you are a man writing about the subject. Anything is fine by me but you write so well on unconven attack and iatrogenic harm. However it will not be called ‘Alex’s story’ just give it a title you choose. Once you type it I may meddle with some of the grammar and stuff to make it ok for reading by women who don’t always get anything that isn’t the ‘queens english’

        Hi Ada. God it sounds like your writing a dissertation. I’m really proud of your efforts. I,m so glad we’re doing this.
        I am writing a piece about how devestated i was when Farrah Fawsett majors died of anal cancer. I used to pretend I was her when i was at school. It relates to how it is more prevelant than cc but other than worrying if their bum looks big in jeans women don’t give it a second thought.

  36. Linda: Thanks! I’ll think of a title & try to make it light on the slang, so it doesn’t need too much adjusting. How should I send it to you? Post it on this thread? A different one? Also, when is the deadline?

  37. Hi Alex. I was worried all night in case I offended you about meddling with your work. I love your style of writing but I have friends who simply cant read slang. Its a bit like that in England. Anything medical usually reads as if the queen wrote it.
    Please post it the ‘submissions’ forum. Its just like you would with any other comment. You can type it in or wrote it in a word programme and cut and paste a large article. X

    • No, I’m not offended. Not to say that you were implying this, but I wouldn’t hold that stuff back even if I was offended. I figure that dropping something down on someone that they wouldn’t have coming for a particular offense isn’t right, even if it’s committed while I’m acting as their benefactor. In this case, it would screw over other people.

      I’ll type it in & it should be ready before the 20th. As far as the phrasing goes, I think I’ll be able to make it technical & all (ex: calling something a “vitiation” & elaborating on what that means).

      • Also, if you’re figuring that something should be changed, we can always go back & forth to make sure that things match the meaning I was going for.

        I won’t get into rants about how “they’re all like this” or “they’re all like that” (although my impression IS extremely cynical), but I think it’ll be a somewhat new presentation as these things not being an accident & that there is the potential for malice.

        At the very least, I notice that there’s almost always the argument that they don’t pick up on things (despite it being plainly conveyed through word or deed & their actions being geared toward countering something they supposedly know nothing about). Another one is that it’s all about money (usually there IS money involved & sometimes that winds up being the reason, but I think a lot of people just have a hard time concluding that instigatory menace is the reason for something- or articulating it, for that matter).

  38. UK ladies check out the BBC news website.
    The number of women “accepting “their first “invitation “to breast screening has fallen to the lowest level in 10 years and coverage of all women has fallen too. Anne Mackie wants to make breast screening accessible to all women (ie increase the brain washing. I’m proud to be one of the women. I refused my first summons last year. Ada do you have any more info?? Or any other ladies??

      • From the “How do we help people decide if screening is the right choice from them?” site as endorsed my Anne Mackie –

        “In this country health screening is not mandatory; each type of screening is a choice. People can decide whether or not to have it based on the information we provide and their own attitudes and values.”

        If screening is offered as a choice, I find it hard to believe that Anne Mackie et al should be surprised that some women will say no!

        I have the view that if a woman chooses to screen, she should be able to do so. Women can pack a lot into their busy days and if screening is important to them, they will find the time.

        One of the reasons, I believe, where breast screening fails, is the use of appointments with the invitation to screen. Many woman in their late 40s/early 50s (the initial screening target group), are in full time employment. If I received an invitation to attend a screening caravan in my local Tesco car park at 2:30 next Wednesday, I would fail to attend because I cannot take time off unless I give three weeks notice.

        Screening authorities will now spend thousands of pounds trying to find out why women are failing to attend when the answer is simple.

      • You are right, Mint, but what makes me so angry is that they spend millions on reasearch to try to find out why women are not taking up these “invitations.” All the invitations should have a reply slip, which the woman can return saying “No, thank you” and the option to put a reason why the woman does not wish to screen. I would be happy to do this, if it meant I would not be pestered at future GP appointments. It infuriates me that we get these endless media news items that women are “ignoring” screening tests, when they have made a conscious, well-informed decision to decline the offer, but there isn’t the option to say so on the invitation. Of course, we all know that putting this option on the invitation would inform women that it is not compulsory and they do indeed have a choice. Something they have been hiding from women since 1988.

      • I find it bemusing. Mints right, they will commission studies on why we’re not attending. These are supposed educated professors who are charged to look after our health. They wonder why we decline when it states that for every person helped, 3 more get possibly over. Treated. Their figures it’s probably higher. We’re not talking a few. Antibiotics and painkillers, rather possible life changing surgery and chemo and radiotherapy. We read this and say no way and they wonder why? And they think we’re stupid and don’t understand about screening??

  39. Interesting find on the daily heil website. Article about the above drop in screening. A comment I take to be from a man saying he declines bowel screening because of the risks of heavy bleeding if more investigation needed (sensible).: also he had an elevated PSA level and hospital wanted to do further testing. He did his research and declined. However he states they are now calling him up via mobile and landline pestering him even though he’s said he’s not attending…!!

    • Interesting that some areas are also pestering men to get the bowel screening. I’ve read that GPs get bonuses, not just for screening targets, but for a wide array of tests. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they’re getting these bonuses for PSA tests as well.

      • You could be right AQ. I was watching GPS behind closed doors yesterday and a woman came to the nurse for her shingles vaccination. She asked the nurse if many people had it done. Nurse replied no, she doesn’t understand why everyone they “invite ” (that word again!) doesn’t have it, because of course it’s the best thing ever!!

      • Can you imagine an episode of “GPs behind closed doors”, which featured all of us from this site having a GP appointment? Now that would be great television, and so funny.

  40. I think it’s propaganda. They won’t admit that more and more women are becoming increasingly informed because that will damage their cause. At the end of the day, they don’t want us to be aware of the risks and harms, they have been forced to publish this information because of people like Prof. Michael Baum and Prof. Angela Raffle speaking out as well as a gradual change of culture and attitude and as with cervical screening, they are still resisting change wherever they can.

    It doesn’t serve their cause to say more women are weighing up the risks and deciding not to have screening because by doing so, they might inadvertently acknowledge that a third of eligible women don’t see the benefits of this programme. They’d rather instead insist that women are foolish, ignorant and are putting their health in jeopardy as they don’t “understand” the benefits of screening. That gives them the opportunity to justify these endless “awareness” campaigns about “educating” the public. It wouldn’t serve their interests to admit that women just don’t rate their service. This way, they don’t upset the herd mentality while hoping that the compliant women badger those of us non-attendees into going in the hope of getting those screening figures back up.

    • Ada I’d love it can you imagine?
      I’m hear for my migraine review
      Dr: best remedy is smear test!
      …what’s the latest on my red blood count?
      Dr ;..smear test!
      I’ve a pain in the top left hand corner of my right little toe nail..
      Dr :..smear test!
      I died last week and am back to haunt you..
      Dr:..smear test!!

      • Very funny Kat. I love this kind of stuff. Hope you ok. I’m glad the mammo pro us falling apart. I’ve been on the internet and am staggered by the harm thats been done to women. Breasts removed for nothing. My heart breaks for them. Its about time we all turned our backs on the medical profession.

  41. This is why Anne Mackie’s comments fall flat, if we were serious about informed consent we’d do a lot more, we wouldn’t send women an appt for a screening test she didn’t request, this is designed to pressure women to screen. The thinking: the woman will feel obliged to attend OR call to cancel, so they’ll have an opportunity to pressure her over the phone. It’s all carefully designed to get you into the screening room. Thankfully, more women are just tossing the “invitation” in the bin.
    This is a serious problem for them, when women stop feeling pursued, stop believing they must do these things, when they can’t predict what we’ll do…when more of us behave like individuals and not members of a herd.
    Someone mentioned a reply slip on the bottom of an invitation, “I’m not interested”, return the slip, end of story.
    Anne Mackie knows these things make it more difficult for women to refuse, to make an informed decision. We could also get rid of targets and target payments, celebrity endorsement etc.
    It CAN’T happen because the program would then fall apart, they couldn’t justify the huge expense, they couldn’t show the program was saving lives, even with their creative accountancy.

    When you introduce a program that requires a certain number of women to screen to make it viable, you can’t say you care about informed consent. You know at the outset that you’ll have to get a certain number of women into the program, if both programs have major problems, they know IF real information emerges and women can freely decline, these programs would fall over very quickly. This is why Anne Mackie, IMO, is just “talking” about informed consent, choice, it’s essentially a PR exercise.

    It says to me these programs should not have been introduced if they couldn’t operate legally and ethically and respect informed consent. (and consent itself)

    • Hi Kat. I’ve just finished the introduction bout 5 mins go. I would be more than happy for you to begin the article bout the historical treatment of women and how it lead us to the situation today with smears. I will email Sue to see if she is ok with us doing it. It would be too much to do on my own plus I suspect you’re all quite a clever bunch on here and more than capable of doing another book. The last one was ok but this will be even better.

      I love the way we do this.

      John has ‘man flu’ and has already gone to bed so I’m just thinking of ideas for the new book.

      • That’s great Linda, you were thinking of me taking the middle ages through to present day with mention of the camps? Any further pointers? I’m really looking forward to this! I know my spelling and grammar can go skew, but I won’t be offended if you tweak it! I’ve started jotting ideas…

      • Hi Linda and Kate. If it helps, please feel free to include the discussion we have had on these pages about the rise of gynaecology as a method of control as women were gaining increasing reproductive tights, equality in the workplace etc. I also have an old book in my room from my university days about the control of women’s reproductive rights. I’ll scour for it and post the title etc. I recall reading another medical law book which covered screening from a feminist perspective, not sure what the title was though. Perhaps worth mentioning that the HR Act emanated from the UCHR after the atrocities of WWII (which as we know, included a programme of monitoring female reproduction) however it is interesting to consider whether the HRA has afforded sufficient protection to women in this regard, which given the nature of the Nazi regime, is a fundamental right which the HRA was designed to (and should) cover.

  42. Hi Kat. What ever you do is great. Just do an extended para on each age. My fav subject is the witch trials. All of women’s history is relevant actually. It reads as one big narrative to how we ended up with smears. Its all about control of the female.

    Just write whatever you want. Embarking on a communal project means you have to accept the perspectives of others. There’s no room for ego or the feeling ‘well I could have done it better’ I am prepared to go with the flow. The most important thing is the message.

    I would like to write a piece on ‘working groups’ and women’s sites with the pro screening articles like ‘sofeminine.’ I would lso do chpter on my friend given test t 78.

    I ve sked Sue if its ok to get going.

    I will check spelling tho I do miss things myself.

    • Thanks Linda! Sounds great. I don’t know much about middle ages so can’t wait to start research. Then a bit of each age, victorians, and nazi Germany both camps, and arrange women encouraged to go to gyno for check ups ect, being encouraged to pop out babies for the reich. Even the young women who were encouraged to have babies by SS men to populate reich too… Through to today… Can’t wait!!

  43. Well since we’re assured screening is,our choice and we can opt out to avoid receiving “invitations ” today I wrote to the breast screening unit telling them I wanted to opt out with immediate effect and didn’t want any more pre booked appointments sent to me! Let’s see how I get on!

    • Good for you Kat. The more I read about this screening the more horrofied I am. Loads of women all over the workd have been tricked into thinking they are cancer victims and had all kinds of things done. The sheer scale of it must be enormous.

    • Screening for breast cancer via the vagina, well, why not?
      We’re all “used” to these exams, we’re always being TOLD we shouldn’t be concerned about invasive exams and tests (otherwise, there is something wrong with us)
      Breast screening for heart disease; I suppose the radiation is good for us too!

      I’ve heard they’re hoping the pap test can still be sold for ovarian and uterine cancer screening. Some American gynecologists defend the well-woman nonsense saying it’s only when women are in stirrups that they’ll open up about incontinence or vaginal dryness.
      Here’s an idea: if women want to discuss these things, we leave it to them.
      There is so much money tied up in these exams/tests/programs and so little respect for women, this is what we see…..vested interests desperately trying to protect their business/interests, they couldn’t care less about us, using us for profit is their main concern. Keeping the cash cows in place is all-important.

      • exactly Eliz thanks! I’m sick of being asked unrelated questions when I did go to the doctor.. Like did I want HRT in the middle of my migraine meds review! There’s no suggestions my migraine is hormone related, and I was being asked all the questions about menopause quite frankly I didn’t want to answer, if I’d wanted to discuss it I’d have brought it up! Similarly I’ve been asked if I’m working, full or part time, when I got penicillin for sinus (why? I hadn’t asked for a sick note and in fact I didn’t take time off) why not just throw us in a dungeon and throw crusts down til we submit to smears or disclose about incontinence or whatever???

      • I think the powers that be miss the point here. If a woman’s reason for declining mammogram is concerns about radiation are they really going to think a dose of radiation is worth while in the diagnosis of heart problems? When there’s blood tests, cholesterol testing that could do a better job

    • Why ask? If they said “no, it’s not”- aren’t you just going to transgress them? I really don’t mean to be condescending, but women usually seem to have a problem with outright “cancelling” someone else out- in truth, there’s a general trend of compromise here (in US). If someone wanted to cut two of your fingers off, would you let them take one? Of course not.

      For the record, I DO realize that they do things in a very “slippery” way (saying statements & not questions- that way a decommissioning reply is harder to “attach,” since answers typically follow questions). Saying “we need to (whatever)” is more like giving someone a “notice,” than asking permission. It certainly CAN come off like a subtle threat, by sounding like something the speaker & whoever else this “need” is ascribed to will fight for- because the term “need” frequently means “die without.” Makes it a bit confrontational to say the least, since blocking things off is potentially interpreted as a “screw you”- instead of a refusal of something being done to them.

    • Exactly, Kat.
      Only about 50% of men take up their bowel screening appointment. Have we seen anywhere in the press about silly, embarrassed men ignoring their invitations and risking their lives? Have any men been asked if they are virgins at any doctor’s appointment? On registering as a new patient, have they had to disclose when their last bowel screening appointment was, have they had to sign a form to promise to attend that appointment in order to register with the GP? Have they been threatened with removal from the GPs list, if they fail to attend screening or get their children immunised? It’s about time women were treated like adults and this patronising attitude is stopped.

  44. It’s much lower than that here in Australia, 53.7% in 2012-2013, they’re pushing like mad, but I can’t see that % going higher. Why? Despite their best efforts, more women are getting to the evidence and choosing not to screen. Spin away, but it has zero effect on an informed decision.
    A celebrity might think I should dash off for breast screening, she can have my slot, I certainly don’t want it! I also don’t want or need her advice, which IMO, is based on the screening story, it’s not an informed assessment of screening, even if it is, she has no right to tell me what to do. Screening is a personal matter.
    I’ve made an informed decision not to screen but would never tell another woman what to do, (I’d direct to real information though) I find it quite insulting that others think they can tell me what to do… (usually from a position of pure ignorance)
    Interesting that the highest number of women taking part in the program was 57.6% in 2001-2002, they’d like at least 70% of women walking through the screening door, no chance.

    Cervical screening – 58% of women aged 20 to 69 took part in our program in 2012-13, 3 yearly testing the % rises to 70.3%. It will be interesting to see the figures in the next report, I think we’ll see another fall in the numbers taking part in both programs. (we can’t trust their figures either)
    More and more I hear women talking about HPV self-testing, I certainly get the feeling more women will move to self-testing, the speculum exam is so disliked – even the propaganda saying self-testing is less reliable won’t put many women off. I also think some women are sick to death of this testing, by the time an Australian woman gets to my age she’s had a lot of pap testing (if she followed our program) about 20 tests! (and most will have had a colposcopy and biopsy, about 77%…the very unlucky ones will also have been over-treated, hard to know how many fall into that category but it would greatly exceed the number actually helped by this testing)

    • Because of everyone being registered with the NHS we have some of the highest screening rates in the world. The NHS has been used very effectively to round us all up, and put us under the scrutiny of the medical profession. A gross violation of our human rights. I think the screening programmes in the UK need to surpass a 70% screening rate to make them cost efficient, and the 70% rate is a minimum operating standard for them. I am convinced they’ve extended the breast screening programme to 47 year olds and 75 year olds to make up the shortfall, as the programme would probably have dipped below 70% without them.

      Cervical screening is also getting near the 70% limit. London is always below 70% and I just recently saw an article that in Bristol it is now 66% abiding by the summons. A statement has recently been announced that we are officially moving to HPV testing as the first test, but no time, date, year yet released, and absolutley no mention yet of self-testing.

      • I would say that, because these programmes use antiquated, unreliable tests, the screening authorities need vast numbers of people to comply in order to make the programme look good. ‘Not cost effective’ is just a term the politicians and health authorities use to cover the fact that they’ve got no more money to burn. When you attempt to inflict ‘preventative measures’ on large portions of the population, knowing that only a tiny minority of those people will ever benefit, it can never be cost effective. The initial cost of mass vaccination, mass screening, and mass medicating (statins, for example) is bound to outweigh any money saved by preventing actual disease, and that’s without taking into account the damage that’s caused to healthy people along the way.
        This is about dumb politicians who couldn’t find their own ass with both hands trying to make themselves look good in the eyes of the gullible public.
        And while the NHS (or rather, politicians) are busy providing ‘preventative’ services which achieve very little in the way of ‘saving lives’ but gobble up huge amounts of precious resources, people who are genuinely ill are dying through lack of resources.

        If I fall ill and feel I ought to see a GP, I will have to fight tooth and nail to get an appointment in the first place. Going by past experience, I’ll have five minutes in the consult room and a good chunk of that time will be dedicated to persuading me to have a smear test. They’ll probably want to weigh me and check my blood pressure and cholesterol and maybe a few other things the government thinks I ‘need’. Which leaves precious little time for dealing with the problem I came in with. Since I’ll be saying ‘nope’ to all of those ‘health checks’ the doctor might tell me to bugger off for not playing ball anyway. And they call this ‘care’?

    • Just over half (58%) participating in the Australian cervical screening programme. With such low numbers participating from a relatively small population, how on earth do they justify its continued existence?

      Ada – With the ever plummeting numbers of those participating in the UK screening programme and the threshhold creeping ever closer to the below-70% mark, it will be interesting to see how “authorities” respond. It’ll either be an ever increasing militant campaign coupled with threats to make it mandatory or harder to escape opting out, or some (maybe more so within the Government) may see it as an opportunity to quietly and subtly encourage the gradual decline until the overly expensive and inefficient “programne” eventually dies a death.

      • This is my own personal view of what might happen:
        Things will stay as they are in the UK for about another 5 years, allowing the vaccinated cohorts to reach age 30. They want to monitor the effectiveness of the vaccine don’t they, so they’ll keep the guinea pigs in the dark as long as possible to provide them with the data they are looking for. They also need to wind down the whole cytology business and shut down about 2 thirds of the labs and workforce, so that’s going to take a few years. They’ll then increase the interval for smear tests about 2020 to ages 30, 35, and finally 50 if all are negative and the woman is vaccinated. If only 3 negative tests are required in a woman’s lifetime, they will persuade women to bite the bullet and put up with just 3 tests. I can see a lot of women thinking that if they just get the 3 done in their lifetime they’ll be left alone and not have the GPs on their backs all the time. It will keep the GPs happy because if they can persuade women to put up with it 3 times, they’ll probably easily fulfill their incentive targets of 80%. I have a bad feeling that self test kits are never going to become a reality in the NHS. They’ll pester women in their early 30s that if they just submit to 1 or 2 now, they’ll probably never need to bother again, and I can see a lot of women giving into this, just to get them off their backs. I’ve also seen calls for women over age 50 with no abnormal smears ever, to be retired from the programme if they so wish, so I think in about 5 years time, the programme will be vastly scaled back, only, in a way, that enables them to save face, claim it has all been a huge success, and saved us all from a horrible death that we were all destined to get.

      • Ada – Yes, I agree. A quiet and subtle scaling down is what will probably happen.

        I do have my suspicions (owing to minutes of Parliamentary Screening committees etc) that the government wouldn’t mind seeing the back of this programme altogether. After all, given the high colposcopy referral rate that are harmful to around 88% of clients, it would be a massive cost saving in a time of economic woes.

        Part of the new found growing opposition to screening (as far as I have read), is not just the false positive rates (although it seems that is a huge factor) but also the invasiveness of the test.
        It is becoming increasingly old-fashioned to insinuate that a smear is “nothing”, “only takes a few minutes”, “painless” and acceptable to the female population.
        Women are beginning to see that other screening programmes are not so militant and therefore are asking why they have to overcome loss of dignity when they would be provided with real (or at least, better) information to help them decide whether to undergo breast and bowel cancers for example.

        While yes, to compensate for loss of Mr Music’s income (and why is a man in charge of fronting cervical screening campaigns anyway?!) and the rest of the motley crue, they may pressure women to succumb to the three a lifetime testing (and many inevitably will, even through choice). However, it will be up to women to continue to demand a better screening method and it will be difficult for the likes of us to raise awareness of the alternative methods.

        However, although infrequent testing may increase the pressure, it may also work to lessen it in another respect.
        For instance, I think it may be more difficult to capture women if they only require three tests with at least five yearly intervals. Also, these wimen will be 30 – less likely to be pressurised and accept nonsense!

        Another observation is that apparently, less and less surgeries are opting out of performing smears and of the points system. Do you envisage that counties such as Somerset will opt back in to the QOF points system once the new system has begun rolling out? Sometimes, once momentum for something has started to decline, it is very difficult to regain it.

        Even in the right wing female sections of newspapers, the commentators seem to becoming increasingly indifferent to the whole cervical cancer agenda, at least that is what I have begun to see anyway.

      • Ada
        That’s very interesting…
        It’s depressing to read articles about the new program here, so disrespectful, not even an acknowledgement that screening is a choice for women too. In 2016 we still face the same attitudes, there is not even lip service to informed consent or choice here.
        I read an article this morning meant for GPs, getting them ready for our new program, women are still viewed as compliant or non-compliant and it’s still all about forcing all eligible women into the program. Opportunistic screening, encouraging women to screen, help them to understand the importance of taking part in the program etc. etc.
        We have a lot to say about family violence and gender inequality, yet the attitudes behind the abuse of women are still firmly in place in medicine and in these programs. It seems very few can see that the approach taken by these programs, the attitudes expressed and actions that are encouraged, amounts to the abuse of women, our legal rights, and our bodies.

      • Hmm! I can see problems ahead! First they’ll presumably still try and round up all the women who weren’t eligible for the vaccine at 3@5 year intervals, then they will presumably have to keep track of all the women who decline the vaccine and round them up too. Could mean new computer software! Then of course nobody knows if the vaccine even works, then we have to hope that the virus doesn’t mutate and that the vaccine doesn’t cause problems later in life..
        Then,of course, they have to get us to keep smearing via the hated speculum, and it’s going to get out that in other countries women can self test…
        It’s really obvious now they really don’t give a stuff about protecting women, or else self testing would be offered. Even if it’s not as reliable (!) as the current test surely if previous speculum refusers self test at least they’d have a chance??
        Thanks to everyone for their kind words, in the end I kept guzzling ginger and lemon tea with honey and steam inhaled olbas oil, and I’m feeling better without the doctor!!

      • Elizabeth – As someone who works in the legal and political sphere of women’s rights in the criminal justice system context, I can tell you that although it SEEMS as though we have a lot to say about women’s gender equality in the workplace and in domestic contexts these days (and let’s face it, things HAVE improved for women in that sense), patriarchy and paternalism still pervades every domain of women’s lives.

        Women are much more likely to receive pro-active responses from Police who are now more subject to far greater scrutiny than they were twenty years ago, and less likely to describe things affecting women as just a “domestic” (which is good) however, so although assistance for women is better, our RIGHTS have not changed.

        If found to be a victim of domestic violence – even where safeguarding ISN’T an issue – the system is still patriarchal. A group of agencies will discuss you and decide what is best for you, even sometimes, where you are NOT deemed high risk and have specifically stated you don’t want the information to go further.
        In my line of work, I often find women’s words are not always taken as face value (whether that be disbelieving wonen or just disregarding their wishes in the name of misguided liberalism).
        There is a perception that all victims luve chaotic lifestyles and NEED help – whether true or not.
        Sometimes, circumstances are so dire that women do require all this multi-agency intervention, however many women just need information as to how they can directly procure assistance and be left alone with the information to empower them as to how they can leave safely, and without their whole workplace and village knowing.
        Instead, the patriarchal system doesn’t always seek to fulfill these wishes but becomes obsessed that DV is a taboo and that taboo must be broken through “awareness campaigns” and forcing everyone to be open and talk about it.
        The system just does not accept that all women are not like this and that many women just want to quietly leave their partners with no fuss, move on with their lives and forget about the abuse. It is paternal, patriarchal and believes it knows what is “best” for women.

        There is an act released in Wales now called the “Violence Against Women” Act – it is a patronising, paternal legislation where the merits are questionable. DV has become a gendered and political hot potato, rather than a vehicle for combating violence as a whole – such as violence agaibst men, against children, agaibst the elderly or just against everyone. The Bill has been devised because guess what? We are women – We NEED extra rights, extra legal protection, extra paternalism because we just cannot be trusted to govern our own lives.

        Guess where we’ve heard all this before? These are the same attitudes that are governing the cervical screening programme (attitudes held by BOTH men and women) and these are the attitudes we need to change.

      • Kat Rehman – I agree. I think the cat’s out of the bag about the self-testing kits as well as the false positive rates of the current programme.

        I’ve been posting like crazy in the last few months in newspapers (with special focus on the right-wing, misogynistic newspapers who seem to be aggressively pro-screening) on the efficacy of smears, the self-test kits and the importance of informed consent.

        I bet I annoy the pro-screening people as they see my name in the comments sections come up again and again but with every new post, the anti-screening posts get rated higher and higher each time. There are a couple of other pro-informed posters too which makes me wonder if they are affiliated to any of us here?

        There is a shift – not just in the comments but in the reporting. I am getting the impression that women are becoming increasingly indifferent to pressure, indifferent to cervical cancer, indifferent to screening and are just fed up of hearing about it.

        I agree with Ada, pressure will continue but I don’t think as many women today accept the blind rule that just because we are women, we “must” screen.
        There will always be a hardcore cohort of zealots who go on and on about the need for all women to submit but I think it may be harder to capture women if the test becomes more infrequent and less on the “radar” so to speak.
        Where I think many women will fall prey to pressure is as traditionally captured – through the pill and perhaps, when women (and men) undergo STI screening in new relationships for instance.

        I will continue and do all I can to raise awareness of the self-test method.

  45. Exactly Kate I’m in the situation now I’m flat out in bed atm. I know I need antibiotics for my sinus. I feel too ill to sit in the walk in centre forget a doctor appointment I know I’ll be told I need a smear far more than I do antibiotics, and why didn’t I attend my mammogram?? Then,do I smoke, how much alcohol do I drink, do I work, do I want HRT… Oh and why did you actually come today??!

  46. Well it’s a long time coming considering I contacted my breast screening unit at easter to opt out of screening, but today I received another pretty pink leaflet with the form to sign and return which I’ve already done! Breast and cervical screening opted out of, now just bowel to go.

  47. I have just been “invited” to attend an apt in August for breast screening……at the age of 47! This is a trial in the under 50’s and over 70’s, so much for informed consent/choice…making me an apt is an incorrect assumption that I would attend – not a chance! This made me furious so I will not attend nor will I cancel the apt, they should at least let me book a date IF I wish! This trial is basically to find out harms v benefits in this age group, but this means they will treat many more women that don’t actually need it, overtreatment & unnecessary treatment is bad enough in the 50-70 group!
    Oh and another cervical screen letter arrived with the new leaflet which is still crap and omits important honest info. I spoke to GP practice manager who said she can’t remove me but sent me a form to sign, however I will not sign this as I do not agree with their wording and the fact that I didn’t ask/sign to be on the programme/s in the first place. Maybe I will collect all the letters/invites/demands and dump them at my GP surgery….all 20 or so LOL!

  48. Chas why can’t they remove you from cervical screening? When iit is possible to opt out? The opt out i signed said id read the leaflet and understood and took full responsibility if i developed cc!.agree snout the breast screening, thought its a real cheek just sending the appointment. I felt obliged to cancel it but very annoyed and it was mainly because I don’t want to keep doing that I opted out of breast screening. At least they waited til I was 51 to summon me

    • Sorry for the late reply Kat – I did get the opt out letter to sign but the wording was just all wrong….therefore I refuse to sign it – I do not agree with the words they expect me to put my signature to and the leaflet enclosed was the older version not the new one. Also I did not attend the appt THEY made for me to breast screen and received another letter stating I did not attend and to ring to make another apt, meaning as usual it is assumed that I want this. This 2nd letter didn’t even refer to the fact that they are asking me to enter a trial re harm v benefit for under 50’s and over 70’s. As mentioned by many here before, there has never been such a focus on any other medical tests other than women’s private area’s, which will always shock me. What are we – easy money/targets etc. – clearly we are and nothing more.

      • Agreed Chas I really feel all I am To my surgery is a vagina! The opt outs I signed just said I’d read and understood the leaflets and accepted the possible consequences ! Still that didn’t stop them continuing to raise it and in over a year I’ve just been once to the walk in centre!! I was reading that the new trials for earlier mammograms has actually been deemed unethical because women weren’t being told even it was a trial. Pretty typical really as you say.we’re just pound signs to them!!

  49. Daily fail article yesterday. More controversy over HRT and breast cancer apparently now it does increase the risk of breast cancer even though earlier another study said it was safe. How can we ever trust anything they say?? I don’t want HRT but I feel for all the poor women out there who do. Part of me wonders if its a ploy to try and increase uptake of mammograms!

    • And surely the fact you didn’t attend your mammogram indicated you didn’t want it but really they don’t understand why we’re not queueing up outside begging to be ??…what’s the word???…nuked or scraped!?

  50. http://www.cochrane.org/CD000111/PREG_immersion-in-water-in-labour-and-birth

    Margaret McCartney is covering water birth this month, there’s also a Cochrane Review (link from her website)
    It seems clear that during the first 2 stages of labour the water helps with pain but not enough research to say whether it’s a good idea for actual birth, they need more research on morbidity/outcomes, both for the mother and baby.
    A family friend gave birth to her 9lb+ baby boy in a birthing pool – in a centre attached to a hospital. It ended badly with the baby partially born, it took a while to get the mother out of the pool/drain the pool. It was a traumatic experience, the emergency medical team arrived quickly but sadly, her baby could not be saved. I’m not sure if it was trauma or oxygen deprivation. It does make you wonder whether the size of her baby might have been foreseen as a problem, especially with the mother in water. (the mother is petite) I also wonder about women who suffer severe tears, couldn’t that be foreseen too?
    Anyway, thought some of you might be interested in the topic.

  51. So recently my Grandmothers doctors office has called her telling her that she’s due for a mammogram. She keeps saying she doesn’t want to do it. The receptionist told her that her insurance company wants her to have them. This bothers me and how can they dictate this . Now I’m feeling safer not having health insurance. If they dictate a Mano then they could dictate any follow up procedures. This has been annoying me.

    • sorry to hear about your grand mothet’s Dr. That is so wrong and dangerous.
      I agree for forced Mano is wrong!
      I believe forcd care will result in less women seekng medical care.
      Its terrible that the system just cares about money and paperwork.

    • Hi, Kleigh! If I were your grandmother, I’d call the insurance company and ask them about this. Or maybe you can do it for her? The receptionist has probably lied to her, and if so, you could file a complaint.

    • Great article, the conversation required for informed consent is nonexistent. A doctor commented to me recently that I’ll be starting breast screening in a couple of years. Not that it will be discussed or if I’m interested. Just the assumption that I’ll be getting mammograms.

    • They’re not interested, we’ve extended our program to include women up to age 74, I think they’d screen anything at this stage, they’re clearly desperate as more women walk away. Interesting…quite a few women now decline mammograms but still accept the need for Pap testing, of course, that’s after decades of propaganda, and most of these women have had a “scare” with quite a few calling themselves survivors.

      • I was chatting a while ago with another woman who thought I was insane to refuse smear tests and mammograms. She proudly told me she’d attended every one when called and felt it was a duty. Needless to say, she’d never heard of overdiagnosis, and was totally committed to the programmes, saying how lucky we were to have them and how essential they were. She thought I was running a huge risk.
        Well, then she hit 60 and along came the bowel screening test. She was horrified. In the UK it involves taking 3 swabs of 3 separate motions which you have to catch in a container, since the lavatory water affects the sample taking. She told me how disgusting and unacceptable she found the whole idea of it, and has told me she has refused the last ones, and has no intention of doing it. I thought it interesting that people can be so certain that some types of screening are essential but not others. I think it may be because cervical and breast screening are strongly promoted in a way that bowel screening is not, because they couldn’t get away with such blatant propaganda with men.

  52. I think that’s right, Ada.
    Bowel screening (yawn) very low key…

    I noticed that the Cancer Council has amended their breast screening recommendation, that’s huge, I’ve been writing to them for years, they took the attitude that breast screening saves lives so they’d recommend it. Of course, their advice was far more detailed with prostate screening, over-diagnosis and over-treatment are serious risks…hello, the same applies with breast screening!

    Cervical screening is unreliable and leads to lots of over-treatment, they’ve always simply recommended cervical screening.
    I wanted to wish you all a happy Christmas and look forward to seeing you all back here in 2018 for more real discussion, getting the message out to more women, and offering support to anyone who needs it.
    I’m heading to New Zealand for a week, looking forward to their fine food & wine….and tackling some nice walking trails.

    • http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/12/e017070

      This is worrying. Just when we think we’re hearing the death knell of the pap smear, they suggest trying to put it to use to screen for endometrial cancer. I actually found this very upsetting as I was asked where my smear test results were when I was undergoing tests for endometrial cancer and made to feel it was my failing. They’ll use any excuse to keep smear testing elderly women.

      So it’ll be back to the barricades next year!

      Have a wonderful trip to NZ, Elizabeth, and a very Happy Christmas and a healthy, medically-free 2018 to everyone on this site!

  53. Ada
    It just confirms the attitude we see all around us, women are simply expected to screen, it’s the responsible thing to do, it doesn’t matter that the law says informed consent is a must, that we have a choice. It doesn’t matter if we’re not satisfied with the evidence (we’re not supposed to have access to the evidence anyway)
    So it follows with this warped way of thinking that a woman who chooses not to screen will be blamed or questioned about her missing Pap test or breast screening records.
    Can you imagine how they’d feel about a woman who has never had a Pap test!
    I’d probably be referred for a psych assessment.

    I have always said…I made an informed decision, unlike most women who screen, I stand. by that decision and accept full responsibility. A diagnosis of breast cancer would not change a thing, I made the best decision with the information I had in front of me, and you couldn’t do much better than the NCI summary, along with articles by Prof Baum, Robin Bell and Gilbert Welch.

    So that sort of comment IMO, is based on ignorance and a blatant disrespect for women, the notion that women should do as directed or they’re at fault. The program and medical profession have promoted that attitudes for decades, it will take a long time before most view women as independent adults entitled to make their own informed decisions.
    We make decisions every day of our lives and we’re quite capable of making decisions about our healthcare, we don’t need micro-mgt by these programs or anyone else.

  54. I agree, they’re desperate to maintain the pap test business, all those jobs and profits.

    I did some research a few years ago, by the time a pap test picks up endometrial cancer, the woman would almost certainly be symptomatic. It’s mostly older women who get endometrial cancer, so any spotting/bleeding should be investigated.
    It would be cruel to put older women through pap testing as a screening test for endometrial cancer, speculum exams are very painful for many older women, they can cause damage/uti’s and false positives are even more likely…

    Pap testing should be offered to the small number of women aged 30 to 60 who test HPV+…everyone else should be left alone!
    Also, younger women who get endometrial cancer usually fall into a couple of fairly rare groups, these women should get some advice, even 2 opinions.
    “Endometrial cancer is uncommon in young women: 2% to 14% of endometrial carcinomas occur in women 40 years of age and younger. Most of these patients have an identifiable source of excess estrogen, while in a small subset the pathogenesis is related to mismatch repair abnormality and Lynch syndrome.”

  55. Interesting read, more time to decide
    The study’s author, Professor Diana Eccles, of the University of Southampton, said: “Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment.
    “However, our findings suggest that this surgery does not have to be immediately undertaken along with the other treatment.”
    Katherine Woods, from charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings “could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment”.
    “In particular, being able to give some women with triple negative breast cancer the choice to delay a risk-reducing mastectomy would allow them to take back control of a major part of their treatment and offer them more time to recover from their initial therapy.”

    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-42063704
      Chas, did you also see this article below the one you posted?

      She is 100% perfectly healthy, but:
      She had to have the double mastectomy “in order to save her life”. “I was a ticking time bomb”, but “the first surgeon she saw didn’t see the urgency…” Oh, and of course she had a relation with breast and cervical cancer.

      This kind of language is so wrong, yet it appears in all the press and media over and over. We never read about women talking about their hearts or brains being ticking time bombs or putting our lives at risk yet dementia/heart disease will carry most of us off. Women have been brainwashed into fearing our own bodies.

      This kind of language and brainwashing must stop.

      • OMG no I didn’t see this one, thank you for the link. Awful! So many women treated & the majority for no actual benefit, yet these women will still claim they are survivors!
        I have found it so difficult talking to other women about these 2 screenings, the response is pure fury at me for even trying to mention it. What can you do but hope some of these will find there way here. However, on a positive note, my niece who is 25 in Feb & received 2 Cervical screening letters has actually taken on board what I have mentioned & has decided a very clear NO. My 56 year old sister has also read up on the Breast screening & decided a big fat NO but she still seems to favour cervical screening, and of course she has been on that path to colposcopy having the horrible exam, biopsy & anxiety related to be told she was fine. Thanks everyone for all the valuable information I have got from this site, so very thankful!
        I am smoker but my GP has never paid any attention to that fact, has not even listened to my heart beat not once! Yet screening…….top of the list! Thanks again for the link that I missed, much appreciated.

      • Chas, what is so wrong is the language that these women use. They are always a “ticking timebomb” “would be dead now if hadn’t had that test/surgery”. And yet all are actually completely healthy and should be enjoying themselves, but these programmes convince women that they are ill and need rescuing. Many see it as a way to celebritydom on social media, writing blogs about their smear tests, and seeing themselves as “medical advisors” to peers and friends. Margaret McCartney was right that women are being encouraged to fear their own bodies. They are so obsessed with uptake, that balanced info just doesn’t get through. The Health authorities and charities need to be brought to account on this.

        Glad to hear that some of your family have listened to you. I’ve had no luck with mine. They all think I’m making it all up!

  56. Omg ladies I heard it all now. Daily fail yesterday.. A trans woman who lives as a man and registers male will not be “invited” for smears or mammograms in case s\he? gets offended. However a male born who lives and registers as a woman will be “invited” for smears and mammograms even though they never owned a cervix! Their leaflet states smears might hurt them! As Ada said so much money is wasted on these programmes ..and on people who never had a cervix. I wonder he many attend? And they give the number ofCC deaths at 900 a year

    • Kat, I’ve seen so much on So Me about trans people arguing about whether or not they get an invitation. Get a life people! Have you come across the fannies4facials campaign yet which is spreading across beauty outlets in various parts of the country? Bring proof that you have recently attended a smear test and you get a free 30 mins facial. Offer ends end of February. Don’t all rush, now…

  57. Hi Linda! Nice to hear from you x hope you’re OK yes this poor lady! The NHS seems to have mixed thinking . we are told we may request a female smear taker but then told medics see so many vaginas its nothing(to them) our feelings don’t count! Here’s another scenario and what ethics apply here. Woman requests female smear taker. Her taker was born biologically male but has had the surgery act and appears like a woman born as a woman
    Just had a email alert from they work for you cervical screening coverage in England 2016-17 was 72%
    Expect another scare campaign….

    • If a woman chooses to have a smear test, it should be about her comfort and feelings and not about the feelings of the smear taker.

  58. Ladies I’m hopeless about posting links but p 9/ today’s daily fail. Testing for the jolie gene could prevent80,000 cancer cases. Its suggested screening all women over30 instead of just those with the family mutation. They propose to do this through a blood tests. If every single one of the UK women over 30 tested 64,500 would be spared breast cancer and 17,500 spared ovarian cancer. Its expensive at£175 per test but it costs at least £30,000to treat a woman’s breast cancer. Only about 1 in 3women carry the genes.
    The chair of Eve appeal is all for whole population testing.
    They seem to not realise again some women might not want to screen and if there’s a problem showing up will they feel pressured to opt for surgery? What then if a cure is found..then how will they feel? But hey let’s round them up for this testing and we can also try to opportunistic smear
    test them too…..

    • Yes, it is very worrying. I’ve just been looking at some of the comments under the BBC article, and some of them are worse than the DM. They are complete Nazis. Some really extremist views. There’s a couple of people trying to put the case that screening isn’t all it’s cracked up to be who are being marked down. One person said that no-one would ever get health insurance if found to be BRCA+ This has all kinds of implications.
      I note they keep saying how cost effective this test will be. So our “caring” government will probably enforce a 90% uptake rate on GPs so that’s something else we’ll be pestered for.

  59. It makes you wonder where if anywhere this will go. There’s not a lot of money in the NHS At the moment anyway. If more cancers are added to the test and it’s extended to men as they have stomachs act too how will it be presented to them? On the PHE bog I asked how the “invitations” were managed for the flexi SIG you have at 55 and was told you would receive a letter explaining the process and you ticked yes or no . Obviously this is for the men’s benefit as its not the same for us with smears and mammograms…. Ada didn’t you suggest this option a while back?
    I’m sure all you ladies have already marked this very important upcoming event in your diaries lol but I’d hate for anyone to miss out so . next week is cervical cancer prevention week with all the associated silliness. I’m actually bricking it. I have to see the doc next week to renew my sicknote. I don’t think she’ll raise it but the receptionist might..

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