Cervical Cancer Compared to Other Things That Can Kill You

There’s a lot of pressure placed on women to have pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.   Some doctors give more attention to cervical cancer screening than to any health condition or concern a woman has.  Some doctors are more interested in finding out the date of a woman’s last pap test than they are in finding out about the reason for a woman’s visit. Medical organizations and the media also place pressure on women to have pap tests. Awareness campaigns and media reminders that “cervical cancer can kill you” are everywhere.

With all the pressure and the constant reminders it’s easy to mistakenly assume that cervical cancer must be a huge threat to women’s health.  But if you look at the statistics you can see just how small the threat from cervical cancer actually is.  The pie chart below shows some causes of death in numbers, and compares cervical cancer deaths with other causes of death of women in the United States (numbers in thousands):

cccCaptureNumber of Female Deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/womens-health.htm

Falls cause death about three and a half times more often than cervical cancer.  Diabetes, ischemic heart diseases, and other heart diseases are a much bigger threat than cervical cancer.  Deaths from cervical cancer represent a tiny slice of the chart. The chart below shows some other causes of death in comparison to cervical cancer:

otherCaptureNumber of Female Deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf

The natural occurrence of cervical cancer is also small.  The following chart shows the frequencies of some diseases in comparison to cervical cancer:

persCaptureFrequencies of diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_260.pdf

From looking at the numbers it’s possible to see cervical cancer represents a small slice of the bigger picture in terms of disease frequency.  Diabetes, heart disease, asthma, hypertension, and other diseases are much more common – and the charts above only represent a small number of the diseases that are far more common than cervical cancer.

The statistics indicate that the time and energy spent pressuring women to screen for cervical cancer could be better spent on the prevention and monitoring of other more common and more deadly threats to women’s health.


  1. This was a very good article. Women are far more likely to die from other things. Heart disease is very serious. Doctors should spend more time talking to women with history of heart disease or weight problems about how they can eat better and exercise more. There seems to be so much obsession with intimate exams.


    • There is indeed an obsession with intimate exams because it checks a lot of boxes where MALE sexuality is concerned. I know that’s gross but this isn’t healthcare. Young, asymptomatic women don’t face the threats claimed (mean age at diagnosis for breast, ovarian and cervical cancer is 63, 66 and 49, respectively) and the techniques used wouldn’t help any way (fingers are not a medical screen). STIs and even cervical dysplasia screening need not involve a clinician. So why did this happen?

      1. It’s a power trip. The woman is put into the most vulnerable position and the physician is placed in a position of power. Males are prone to sexualizing power differentials.

      2. Males can store and retrieve over 1,000 pornographic images. This feeds the library.

      3. We like looking at, touching and exploring the “black box” that is female sexual anatomy (tools included).

      4. This is lucrative. Not enough plumbing problems and babies.

  2. Great article. Makes you think…

    By the way, there is another common cause of death: medical negligence and malpractice.
    I cannot say for each coutry, but in Australa alone:
    * 80,000 Australian patients per year are hospitalised due to medication errors;
    * 50,000 people suffer from permanent injury annually as a result of medical negligence;
    * 18,000 people die every year in hospitals through preventable medical negligence;
    * The biggest medical negligence cases occurring in the areas of obstetrics, gynaecology and anaesthesia.

    As much as the above numbers are shocking, bear in mind that Australia is not the worst country when it comes to health care. Aactually, the medical bureaucrats and politicians are touting Australian health care system as one of the best in the world!

    Of course, most of our doctors are obsessed with pap smears, cervical cancer and womens genitals, just like in many other countries. Though, according to the government statistics, there were 229 deaths of cervical cancer in Australia.

    Which brings us to the question: what should we fear more and what is more likely to kill us? Cervical cancer or the medical system?

    • There are plenty of ways to die in the hands of doctors rather than due to a lack of medical services. For example:

      Each year over 14 million healthy Americans are getting screened for colon cancer. Of these, according to the report “Complications of Colonoscopy in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System” by the Annals of Internal Medicine, an estimated 70,000 are killed or injured by colonoscopy-related complications. This figure is higher than the total number of annual deaths from colon cancer itself, 22% higher.

      70 thousand deaths every year in US alone! And yet routine screening colonoscopies are insistently recommended. Same story with breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, and the list goes on…

  3. To see balance i would like to show that sime cases of cervicla cancer were treated and the patient survived. i suspect some cancer deaths were actually due to the cancer treatments.

    How many women were treated for “precancer” and never might have developed cervical cancer? These statistics i think are suppressed. I have read a few studies where women were followed who had treatment for various stages of CIN and how many developed cancer but these studies did not include HPV strain typing.

    Is there a recent study that shows which HPV strains and the level of CIN and which developed into cancer?

    • The cervical cancer rates in the pap smear screened population is better but NOT markedly so than in the unscreened population. Almost all cervical dysplasia resolves innocently enough. This said, HPV-16 and HPV-18 are not good news. These strains are more prone to reactivation (chronic infection) that over time can lead to cervical cancer. However, it’s interesting to note that women with immune problems (e.g. HIV infection) are disproportionately represented.

      The way we have historically screened for cervical cancer was never justified. It had a lot to do with justifying annual wellness exams (supporting even more ridiculous procedures like clinical breast and pelvic exams) rather than meeting the threat. This does not mean that screening every 5 or so years is a bad idea and such screening need not involve a pap smear (e.g. HPV DNA) and need not involve a clinically collected specimen (e.g. Delphi or Trovagene’s urine-based test). Naturally, no OB GYN or male practioner on the planet will tell you about your alternatives.

      • I agree that the rates of cervical cancer are only marginally better in the screened population – I read that in the UK, the average woman’s chances of contracting cervical cancer is 0.58% and this chance only declines to 0.35% with screening. Given these odds and the general rarity of cervical cancer, such invasive screening to me, seems unwarranted. Some women, given all the information, would continue to choose screening – and that is absolutely fine and their decision. But given the odds above, enforcing screening against informed consent is completely unjustifiable, especially as you state, alternatives are available in the form of HPV testing every five years. I agree that this test and its purported ‘benefits’ has been exaggerated to justify a whole host of other invadive exams in the name of ‘wellness’. Only women can put a stop to these practices by challenging this ludicrous system which devalues them and bills them in the process! Remarkable really that doctors can get away with such things in this day and age when they are meant to be providing ‘services’.

      • I accept a small number of women are helped by screening, but the way we’ve gone about it here in Australia, in the States and Canada, the UK and NZ (and elsewhere) maximizes the risk of a false positive, excess biopsy and over-treatment for zero additional benefit to women.

        The only people who benefit from mass population screening (this way) are doctors, pathologists, specialists, day procedure etc.
        We could have saved the same number of women (or more) if we’d adopted an ethical approach like Finland and the Netherlands, instead we’ve harmed the masses. It could so easily have been avoided, but no attempt was made, screening programs in most countries are framed for maximum benefit to vested interests, NOT women.

        Now we know that almost ALL women are HPV- and cannot benefit from pap testing, but will they change our programs to confine this testing? NO, we’ll make some changes, but excess will remain, when no one comes to this topic with clean hands, you can’t just switch to an evidence based program. If they did, vested interests would scare the herd and the program might never get them back. Keeping women in the dark has served them well, but also, creates a few issues for them too. If you suddenly say only 5% of women are at risk, that we shouldn’t test those under 30 etc. the Q will be: what the hell have we been doing?
        It’s important to conceal the harm they’ve knowingly done to women, that could lead to some difficult places and see their screening cash machine permanently derailed.

        The AMA is dead against women having OTC access to the Pill, their reasons smack of desperation, they know if they lose control of the Pill, they lose control of a fair number of the herd. So the reasons trotted out…women will “miss out” on pap testing, once again linking the Pill and pap testing, but they don’t link Viagra with bowel screening….why not get men into the consult room too, so they don’t “miss out”?

        Routine breast exams and advice on breast self-examination – neither are recommended at any age. It’s concerning that the AMA doesn’t seem to know that, of course, they know some doctors still do breast exams (if they feel like it) when a woman asks for the Pill, that should not be happening. I consider these unnecessary exams amount to an assault.

        Mammograms were mentioned by Dr Brian Morton recently (AMA)….this is a new low.
        Most women on the Pill are too young to be reminded of the “need” for breast screening.

        The only clinical requirements for the Pill – your medical history and a blood pressure check, and pharmacists could easily handle those requirements. So the woman completes a form, answers questions about her medical hisotry and someone takes her BP. Online pharmacies are already doing the job.

        I hope the powers that be can see straight through the AMA, they’re only interested in protecting their turf and profits, they don’t care about women.
        If they did, why have they supported and benefited from an excessive screening program for decades that resulted in huge over-treatment and excess colposcopy/biopsy rates?
        Their silence has been deafening except to urge women into serious over-screening and they happily accept target payments – this is why I have no respect for the AMA and don’t trust a word coming from them.

    • The biggest issue with over treating cervical dysplasia is probably infertility (cervical integrity compromised by surgery). But keep in mind the industry views this all as perfectly costless..the screen, the false positive, the surgical intervention, etc.

      Almost all cervical dysplasia will resolve innocently enough. It is true that there is some dysplasia that won’t. In general, the pathway from HPV infection (which does NOT just infect cervical cells) to CIN III+ (proxy for cervical cancer since it progresses to cervical cancer 50% of the time) is generally slow. Consequently, you would never hyper screen for this using an error prone diagnostic because of the number of false positives (that is if you gave a rip about women and their dignity).

      There are 15 oncogenic HPV strains. HPV-16 and HPV-18 are bad news.

      Look the right strategy here (and the strategy recently approved by the FDA) is

      1. Screen for HPV DNA
      2. If positive, take a biopsy (which is a pap smear).

      Now no physician is obligated to follow the FDA recommendation so you probably won’t even be told about this. Further, clinicians insist on screening for HPV DNA with a clinically collected sample. HPV DNA can actually be detected in patient-collected samples (e.g. livage). Trovagene can actually screen for oncogenic hpv using urine (acellular techniques). Again, don’t expect a male OB GYN (in particular) to tell you all this since cervical dysplasia screening is how they get women in stirrups (star diagnostic).

      I’ll close by noting that if you are negative for oncogenic HPV, you need not be re-screened for at least 5 years and the data suggests more like 6-7 is very safe. This is because, again, the progression pathway is slow.

  4. This our UK site & the figures I find shocking for this rare cancer & worth a look: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/searchcatalogue?productid=16474&q=title%3a%22Cervical+screening+programme%22&sort=Relevance&size=10&page=1#top
    Key Facts:
    At 31 March 2014, the percentage of eligible women (aged 25 to 64) who were recorded as screened adequately at least once in the previous five years (five year coverage) was 77.8 per cent. This compares with 78.3 per cent at 31 March 2013 and 80.6 per cent ten years ago in 2004.
    Although coverage amongst women aged 25 to 49 years (measured at three and a half years to reflect the three year recall interval) increased to 63.3 per cent at 31 March 2014 from 62.0 per cent in 2013, it was still considerably lower than in any other age group. Coverage amongst women aged 50 to 54 (which is measured over a five year period) was highest at 81.6 per cent.
    A total of 4.24 million women aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening in 2013-14 and 3.23 million women were tested (a fall of 2.9 per cent from 2012-13 when 3.32 million were tested).
    3.41 million samples were examined by pathology laboratories in 2013-14. This compares with 3.57 million in 2012-13. Of the samples examined in 2013-14, 3.22 million (94.6 per cent) were submitted by GPs and NHS Community Clinics.
    A total of 199,322 referrals to colposcopy were reported in 2013-14, an increase of 19.1 per cent from 2012-13 (167,394 referrals). The large increase in referrals is likely to be partly due to the roll-out of HPV testing.

    This last bit on referrals is quite rediculous as we know only a tiny few will benefit. What a fortune wasted and hospitals, surgeries and day procedure centres are packed. IMO Cancel all screening and let people act on symptoms and maybe our NHS will stand up a bit better, more money, space, time, care etc.
    I also found a page on this site about the sharing of data, what is shared and to who, again shocking so I’m glad I have opted out of data sharing, but then again how do I know that they have honoured my written requests, not really possible to have trust in the system.

    • That’s how the greedy money-making system used the HPV test to its advantage. Instead of saving women from unnecessary harm, they found a way to harm more: they now refer to colposcopy not only when Pap is “abnormal” but ALSO when HPV is found.

      Despite that they should only refer when BOTH Pap is persistently abnormal AND persistent HPV is present.

  5. sorry for the late comment, but i wanted to say thank you from the absolute depths of my heart for this blog. i’ve recently become sexually active–no piv–and obviously want to stay healthy but cannot physically accommodate a gyno exam or mentally withstand that level of abuse (not that any woman can, but you know). i really appreciate the follow and your list of alternatives.

    • It seems if you want to stay healthy, you should avoid the medical personnel & enviroments for the most part. Not exactly related, but I was reading a blog on ClubOrlov just recently about a drive to failure. Hear it out, because it kind of outlines how things seem to be going in general in this part of the world. The title was Financial Collapse leads to war.

      • i’ve had to be involved with medical personnel since age 2 due to a chronic illness, but i have realized in the past few months my body almost stops functioning after a certain point of medical interventions. i’ve taken my healthcare into my own hands and will see a specialist for perfunctory tests so i can continue to get the one medication i can take. it’s scary how much i’ve improved since avoiding doctors actively except for a few things now and then.
        i saw the post and what is really horrifying is you could swap “war” with “gynecology” or “medicine” or “physiotherapy” or “schooling” and still have it all make sense. that’s absolutely horrifying, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. i don’t live in the us so the perspective is appreciated.

  6. endlessleeper: You’re welcome. I think it’s a common thing with the “Anglo” countries, to be honest. I don’t know if it’sw a cultural thing from way back, or some kind of religious bullshit from more recent times, or maybe it’s something else entirely- but it’s something you see ALL the time & the America-esque countries do a lot of the same things. Although, it seems that there’s some variation among them. In Britain, for instance, it seems they aren’t QUITE as pushy as America, are more interested with actually benefiting someone, and see it as antithetical to that to cause problems. Another thing is that it seems that you can say things like “antithetical” and not have a knee-jerk mental shutdown as often.

    Here, it’s like if you don’t grunt & huff with the meaning magically conveyed, you’re seen as a liar- even when you’re pointing out how someone else is bullshiting people. You can’t easily elaborate how a liar is full of shit, yet they believe so deeply that everyone loves to scam. Maybe they just support these things & work against someone working against those sorts of things?

  7. Hello – I posted this on another topic – I think it is better suited for this topic. This is a letter I wrote to a director of OB/GYN not sure if she even received it, and I never received a response. Feel free to use if you need it for yourself:

    Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I have been a patient in the ….. since my diagnosis with Lupus several years ago. The reason for this email is to discuss improvements between patient and doctor communication during GYN appointments.

    During my young adult life like most seemingly healthy women your only trip to the doctor is for the yearly exam to renew the pill or other forms of birth control. As published studies have now shown that this yearly exam is being questioned for effectiveness and necessity. These quick exams may have been more productive and helpful for me and millions of other young women if the doctor listened and asked questions.
    Millions of women have been tested for cervical cancer by performing a pap smear. This test is given for a rare cancer that afflicts twelve thousand women per year, where lupus afflicts millions of women that go untested and unnoticed. Lupus mostly affects women during childbearing years and this disease is not usually discovered by the GYN or even discussed as a possibility for health issues. Lupus can develop into a GYN issue if this disease like in my case affects fertility.The other complications can occur if a women not knowing she has lupus is pregnant which can in some instances be fatal for the mother or the baby. This again becomes a GYN issue.

    In hopes that other women don’t have to go through a lifetime of anguish as I did, I am hoping that someone like you could take my suggestions in helping women get diagnosed earlier in their life instead of being told that your are healthy and it’s all in your head.

    Everything I have read about being diagnosed with Lupus takes years such in my case, however I believe that assistance can start with a normal visit to the GYN if there was better communication. GYN can assist women by identifying these red flags:
    – Identify infertility
    – Migraines
    – Fatigue
    – Face rash and sensitive skin

    Just these symptoms alone could hopefully result in a referral and a test to determine if these symptoms could be Lupus or other autoimmune diseases that affects more women than men. Instead of focusing on just the healthy cervix and reproductive organs more time should be spent discussing any other health issues that afflict women. Especially now that these exams are not recommended for younger women or be carried out annually.

    • The suggestion that an OB GYN provides broad / general healthcare is ridiculous on its face. Don’t take my word for it. The Family Practitioners published a study showing that the roughly 1 in 3 women who have only an OB GYN receive lower quality, “narrower” care.

      Think about how sick it is that the industry suggest a woman is “well” because her sex organs are “well” (nevermind that the fact that these sexualized exams cannot make even this determination). This is the thinking of adolescent male (I know… I was one). No wonder women drop dead of CV disease in numbers that absolutely swamp all diseases involving the female reproductive system (which by the way isn’t any more fragile than a man’s when you compare disease incidence).

      Women don’t need a specialist but if they insist upon one, let it be a cardiologist.

  8. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV.

    Almost all HPV induced dysplasia harmlessly resolves but all of it is treated as deadly.

    FDA approved HPV DNA screening as primary screen with Pap smears (error prone biopsies as follow up … This reverses the flow).

    HPV does not just infect the cervix. Women can collect their own specimens without being violated by a clinician (see Delphi and Trovagene’s urine based screen). Clinicians fighting to hold on since this is the star diagnostic.

    A disturbing number of women with sever cervical dysplasia were infected young and / or have immune deficiency. Viral reactivation is very rare ( a fact that is not shared)

    There is no question that the national Pap smear campaign false cost benefit …something it has never been subjected to.

    Screening by surgeons who benefit downstream is inherently conflicted.

    Men do like this clinical collection process (seeing and playing with vaginas with tools). It isn’t unpleasant to say the least.

    Wen are routinely cross infected via durable medical equiemtbahoced up vaginas, group glove boxes, etc. 10 oct of transvaginal ultrasound probes had detectable HPV viral loads pat sterilization. In the old days,neither metal speculums, cross infection had to number in the millions.

    • So a woman takes a self urine or swab test for HPV and comes out positive. What is she supposed to do? She can “wait” and obsessively take home test after home test to see if her body naturally clears the virus. If she sees a doctor for an inaccurate pap test or gets a biopsy the only treatment that a medical doctor will offer is cutting of burning out the HPV infected parts of her cervix. Some will even insist on putting acid on vaginal or vulval warts.

      There have been published studies on the effectiveness of green tea extracts on killing HPV infected cells and even cancer treatment. Only these are usually published using the technical names for the extracts from green tea: EGCG, polyphenols, catechins. There is only one product out there approved for use on vulvar warts that contains green tea extracts. It is expensive. I suggest making your own with some petroleum jelly (or other vagina safe ointment) and the powder from a green tea extract capsule. Some women have success with adding the capsule content to a some melted coconut oil and cooling it into a suppository shape for their vagina.
      It is also worth looking into traditional Chinese medicine for treatments that are based on herbs.

      Why is there so little research on these medicine based treatments? Because people are making money doing what they are doing now. Think about these three scenarios:
      1) women comes in to doctor’s office and gets a pap test with an HPV swab. She gets a positive HPV test and a bad pap result. She gets called back for another appointment to tell her this and referred for a biopsy. She gets recalled after the biopsy for a leep. Then recalled every three months until normal paps. What are the costs there? At least five consults, tests and procedure fees.
      2). Women goes to doctor for an HPV urine test. She gives the sample and returns when she has a positive HPV result and gets a pap test. Then go to option one. Not much better or cheaper.
      3). Women goes to doctor doe an HPV urine test. She gives sample and returns wheh she has a positive HpV result. She is given a prescription for a green tea extract vaginal suppository. She comes back in three months for another urine test.

      Which scenario do you like the best?

  9. The FDA recently approved HPV-DNA as primary screen, relegating error prone pap smears to secondary (follow-up) status. This is a blinding dose of the obvious. Relying on what amounts to surgical biopsy as a primary, mass screen was grotesque. Hyperscreening tens of millions of women when you knew the false positive rates were so high meant that you had no problem mutilating women’s genitals for fun and profit (rendering some disturbing number of them infertile by compromising the integrity of their cervixes).

    The HPV infection to CIN III+ (proxy) for cervical cancer is a slow pathway (think colon cancer and a 10 year colonoscopy. Further HPV does NOT just infect the cervix. You can collect cells from women using livage and other techniques for analysis (see Trovagene’s urine-based test… which still requires a PCP authorization unfortunately). Reactivation of HPV does happen (it’s a DNA virus) but the rate is greatly inflated because grandma didn’t want to admit she had a new sex partner that had infected her anew. With this as backdrop, how did annual Pap smears make any sense? Answer….they didn’t.

    • OMG that’s a tough one! After all, our bodies were designed for their regular smear test control weren’t they? How dare a rapist get there first and deprive them of control over our vaginas!

      By the way I noticed that the King’s Fund GSK Impact awards were doled out at a do last night.
      Now, what made me think that Jo’s Trust would be among the winners? That’s another £30,000 into their scaremongering (ooops, profile raising awareness) campaign…

    • Has anyone commented on this? I was appalled by the paternal, patronising tone of it and it assumes women have choice and equality in everything EXCEPT whether or not to undergo screening – after all, it’snecessary isn’t it and you ought to be forced into it as it is just so beneficial and in your “best interests”. I’ve had to sign in with my real name (Maria) and am ready for the onslaught from friends and acquaintances if they notice it’s me commenting!

      • AQ- thank you for taking the time to deal with it. I just could not bring myself into it. It is appalling, the whole thing. As it is the Guardian, of course you are supposed to be oh-so-polite and civil to be taken seriously, and begin the comment with words like “meanwhile” and with saying things like congratulations to the project, blabla, and I just could not make myself type up slobber like that, as I think the whole fucking thing is dumb and appalling. First of all, why on earth should a woman need to go through sexual assault, in order to access non-invasive and respectful healthcare? Are there any, any women living, who has not been sexually assaulted and traumatised to some extend? And the usual creepy pushing of the whole medical surveillance agenda… making sure there are “HASHTAG NO EXCUSES” to quote our very own NHS. I actually saw the student nurse who does this, a few days ago at some event, which was of course full of these young, naive libfems going on about how not all women have vaginas and check your privilege and all the usual trite. She seemed really nice, in a naive, clueless kind of way. I think I am going to suck it up and write her an email from my “business” email account, and try to shed light on certain things.

      • I tried a couple of days ago, but couldn’t get in, but just added a post a few minutes ago and it has come up. The Guardian comments pages are merciless, so I’ll check what replies I get. Good luck yourself.

      • I’ve been to check the comments – a few more are talking about informed consent since I brought it up but in the main, I’ve had two posters politely attack my initial post. One says my point is basically irrelevant since women are not forced by law to undergo them and another attacks the notion of informed consent for screening (but allows it for treatment) seeing as screening saves lives & should therefore be encouraged. This riled me so I signed back in to comment, and this time I was signed in under my pseudonym of AQ again for some reason (which isn’t too bad as this is when I seem to be at my most opinionated for some reason!).

        How is it that our wisdom is lost on the liberal, intellectual, left-leaning Guardian readers? I seem to have better luck with the right wing readers of the Daily Mail on this subject!

      • AQ it made me wonder where this nurse got the funding from to set up this “service” and whether it may be connected in anyway to a charity like Jo’s Trust. They are behind all the other media campaigns, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t have people trolling on sites pestering women to get screened with their “screening is empowerment” messages. Some seed falls on stony ground, but a lot of women read but don’t comment and your comments may have penetrated more minds than you think. TBH reading some of the pathetic accounts by some of the women made me see why their comments were ridiculed by others, and I could see why so many replies were deleted by the moderator. Married to a husband who rapes you, waking up naked in a car park? If these women have such a low opinion of themselves it is easy to see why lying half naked on a couch with a speculum shoved up you vag must seem like empowerment!

      • You raise very good points Ada and I never thought of it like that. Yes, looking at it like that, I suppose it would feel like empowerment to these women and some of the replies mocking them or questioning “why the hell did you stay in that relationship” would be seen as too “un-PC” and therefore deleted. In my experience, the women’s lib movement sometimes does far more damage than anything else to women’s “empowerment”. It is them who assume we are lesser than men and therefore need protection in the guises of all sorts of things like legislation, positive discrimination and screening (because as women we can’t be expected to make our own decisions can we and must have enforced mass screening programmes “for our own good”).

        The funding is a good point too – and what better way to herd more women (under the guise of “compassion”) into these programmes, and herding such vulnerable women particularly concerns me. None of this will be presented as a choice to them.

        I have heard of gov depts trolling sites, wouldn’t surprise me if Jo’s Trust was involved too.

        One final thing – why is a clinic like this needed at all? If women want to undergo these tests, then some of the options proposed in the article should be available anyway – like the option to insert the instruments themselves. Why is a brand new clinic at £££ needed for this? And most police forces have their own specialist clinics available for rape victims. In times of austerity, you would think that the focus would be on extending existing good practices.

    • Hi Kleigh – the link to the article is posted in one of Karen’s comments above (the article is in an online newspaper called The Guardian). It’s about rape and sexual abuse survivors being referred to specialist services so as to better enable them to undergo cervical screening – but they also support women who undergo sti and forensic tests for court trials too.

      I must admit I have been very cautious with my comment. I’ve started off saying it is a worthwhile project – as some women will want these services.

      However, I’ve also stated that the right to informed consent should be unequivocal, pointing out the efficacy rates of these tests and that in the push to get these women screened, informed choice should not be lost in the process. I’m expecting an onslaught from the other contributors!

      • HI AQ, I’ve seen the same names crop up regarding cervical screening in the media, and I believe the charities have people browsing to push screening at every opportunity. I’ve been getting into twitter lately to find out the views of the medical profession on all this. I’ve also looked at cervicalscreen1, which runs the Jo’s Trust NofearGosmear bollocks on twitter, although there is no mention of Jo’s Trust on the page. They target young female television news presenters, weather girls, glossy mag journalists and such like and send them this message:
        “please will you help raise awareness and share to promote cervical screening”

        They are obviously trying to get news items in wherever they can and persuade these people to do publicity for them. Rob Music, director of Jo’s also travels around the country meeting politicians, and persuading them to support their charity, by speaking up for them in one way or another, and of course there’s the obligatory photo in front of a backdrop of pink publicity propaganda.
        The money doesn’t all go into research for cancer or help for the poor sufferers!

      • So the story is (at least partially): “Oh, that poor woman- she can’t even get screwed-over medically because of what happened to her.”

        I can definitely see how someone would have a negative body image or start being self-hating, since them as a situation is horrible. Doesn’t have to be the whole life or even be as extreme as this situation, it could just be enough bad luck to get to that point.

        Something aggravating is that this “revelation” is never applied to people that have had iatrogenic attack happen to them. It’s never included in the list of affronts or as something that these ramifications can be a result of.

        I don’t figure it’s generally because it’s missed as a situation, I figure it’s because it’s liked. Maybe not by literally everyone, but I have to assume that since it goes on, that so many excuses are put forth on the behalf of the people that do these kinds of things, since the law doesn’t come down on it, and that seemingly none of this is even condemned verbally in general conversation- that it’s something approved of in a broader way than is presented.

      • Dear God in heaven, the website of the sexual violence survivor thing is up and running now. http://www.mybodybackproject.com/services-for-women/mbb-clinics/ It is beyond vile.
        “The SVHA will also discuss grounding techniques to make the test easier for you, breathing exercises, and optional aromatherapy services as some women have reported this helps them feel calmer during testing. You don’t have to have the smear taken in one go, and can use a series of sessions to work up to the actual smear. For example, you or the nurse can insert the speculum at the entrance of the vagina in the first session, then a quarter of the way in during the second session, half way in during the third session, until you are ready to have it inserted the whole way and have the smear taken. You are welcome to insert the speculum yourself if this makes you feel more comfortable.

        Before and after the test, we will offer you tea and cake, to ensure you feel calm and in a good frame of mind. We are also working with local businesses to offer a complimentary massage to every woman who uses the service.”

        I imagine all those poor, clueless, violated women turning up to be offered cake and aromatherapy instead of real information, ie that this is an inaccurate test for a rare cancer, and whether they have it or not, they are very unlikely to get cervical cancer. Will the procedures of informed consent be adhered to? I don’t see a word of it, just crap about cake and tea. And what about the home test for HPV? Also this grooming aspect- 3 visits to insert the speculum! Can you imagine someone going to this goddamn clinic in their lunchtime to have a stranger shove a piece of metal into them, 1/3 or something, all for making them comfortable with a piece of metal in their twat, all in the name of fucking empowerment? This is vile, vile grooming of vulnerable people. I bet that poor naive student nurse feels now that something good came out of her being raped, and in reality she is just another pawn in a sick game.

      • I’ve written a comment on that Sexual Survivors website. I’ve used my real name (Maria – so you guys know it’s me) to maximise chances of publication but needless to say, I don’t expect my comment to be published.

        I’ve been very careful what I write so as not to criticise the other aims of the project but have pointed out the importance of informed consent to screening procedures. I also haven’t been as detailed as I have in other forums so as to try and be as succinct as possible.

        Here’s what I have written:

        “This is very worthwhile – particularly for women who feel they need to test themselves for sexually transmitted infections and to aid forensic investigations that will hopefully assist the CPS in gathering evidence to initiate a potentially successful prosecution.

        With regards to cervical screening, I am sure the staff at this establishment are aware of the work of Angela Raffle, Hazel Thornton and Prof. Michael Baum and their findings into screening. Cervical screening is a screening tool which is heavily prone to producing a high proportion of false positives – resulting in cone biopsies and LLETZ treatments. These Cancer screening specialists are now advocating all women receive information concerning risks, benefits and harms of screening to enable women to make informed decisions on screening choices.
        As part of the services that you will be offering, can I assume the aforementioned discussions will also be undertaken with your clients to enable them to give informed consent to screening in accordance with the law and ethical conduct? Thank you”.

  10. Karen
    It’s using a vulnerable group to boost numbers in the program, most of these women are probably HPV- and can’t benefit from pap testing. (or are too young for any sort of testing)
    A simple HPV self test option for those 30+ would eliminate most of the women anyway…HPV-
    No, that’s too easy and compassionate, they’ll further traumatize these women to serve their agenda. It’s too cruel for words. So it’s an insult to our intelligence to market this as screening or healthcare, it’s more abuse.
    Abused women being further abused by the system.
    You may have seen the vile brochure produced by the UK Breast Screening authority aimed at women with Downs Syndrome. Prof Baum was disgusted with the brochure, especially when it’s well known in medical circles that these women rarely get breast cancer.
    Any vulnerable group though is viewed as easy pickings by these programs.

    • Guess who the suporters are: “Our Supporters
      My Body Back Project works in partnership with Barts Sexual Health Services (part of Barts Health NHS Trust), and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

      We also work closely with other organisations that support the needs of the women we serve. These include The Havens Whitechapel, North London Rape Crisis, Sh! Women’s Store and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.”

  11. I think that it is very strange that many women are so worried about their cervixes, but smoke, eat unhealthy, are sedentary. I mean if someone wants to accuse you of taking a risk with your health, most people do in some way all the time. For instance, my mom is diabetic and takes blood pressure medicine. she eats unhealthy and doesn’t exercise. She says she is going to enjoy life and she will go when it is her time. But, you better bet she will be there this year for her pap although she is 67 and had a hysterectomy 20 something years ago. I’ve tried explaining to my husband and her that I could die of a heart heat attack next week or an aneurysim tomorrow or a car accident. When you put it in perspective of other things, it just doesn’t make sense to make as big of a deal of it. I know a 39 year old woman that passed away last month from lung cancer. I bet nobody did a scan of her lungs “just in case.” I have a lot of trouble with my stomach. Several, years ago, the doctor wouldn’t do any test. Just wanted to prescribe me $400 medicine without an official diagnoses. When, you really have a problem they want to run test, but they wouldn’t have any problem doing a pap smear and pelvic exam although I am not having any kind of problems!

    • I know laurie. I.m no saint cos i don’t ex or eat properly yet i have allowed idiots to be looking for cancer in my most private place all my adult life.

      Ada thanked sue the other day for this site znd the fact so many woman are happy when they find it. I really believe things are changing. Not only are we becoming aware but we are becoming more vocal.

      I can report to you all that i have had a reply to my letter to the nhs. Ron collings minster for public health has apologised for the unaccetable treatment i have recieved fron the nhs. He has given me the address for public health watch team if i wish to take it further. I will be doing as rape with an implement is a serious crime.

    • I really hope that I didn’t sound like a smart aleck or judgmental. I apologize if I did. I started eating healthy yesterday, but ending the day eating pizza and drinking Dr Pepper. I was just trying to say they have many women so brain washed.

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