Doctors Need to Stop Pushing Pap Tests

sex-hurtsDoctors need to stop pushing pap tests, especially in light of new findings.  Some doctors have been getting away with the practice of withholding informed consent for a long time.  Women rarely get offered a choice about whether or not to have a pap test; they are simply expected to comply.   In fact, the withholding of informed consent has been standard practice for such a long time, and has been done so cleverly, that some women are not even aware that they have a right to choose.

The unethical practice of withholding informed consent has largely been ignored, partly because of the assumption that pap tests are for a woman’s own good.  Coercing women into unwanted pap tests has been considered by some to be an acceptable way to practice due to the belief that screening saves lives.  However,the belief that pap tests “save lives” has never been scientifically proven, no randomized control trials have been done that support this belief, and now there are new findings that  highlight this.

A recent article in the British Medical Journal titled “Why cancer screening has never been shown to ‘save lives’-and what we can do about it” illuminates the lack of scientific evidence in relation to cancer screening.  The authors state that cancer screening might identify site specific cancers, such as breast or prostate cancer, but that even when cancer is found early, it has not been shown to benefit overall survival.

Overall mortality is what people care about.  Healthy people want to live longer, and this is usually the motivation for undergoing cancer screening. But, as the authors highlight, important pieces are missing from the bigger picture of cancer screening.  For example, while there may be some gains in avoiding deaths from site specific cancers (e.g. breast or colon cancer), these gains may be offset by slight increases in treatment related deaths.

Basically, cancer screening has not been shown to reduce a person’s risk of dying.  The authors also suggest that the harms of cancer screening, such as over-diagnosis and unnecessary follow up interventions such as biopsy, radiation, and chemotherapy,  have largely been ignored and undocumented.  In some cases, cancer screening may increase a person’s risk of dying.

Pap test coercion needs to stop.  The mantra that coercion is for a “woman’s own good” doesn’t ring true, and doesn’t excuse it.  Some doctors don’t tell women the facts, such as the fact that cervical cancer is rare or the fact that they stand to benefit financially from testing women.  Some doctors don’t tell women about the inaccuracies of test results or the risk of over-diagnosis, unnecessary surgeries and other potential harms.  Some usually don’t tell women much of anything; the propaganda has already done the talking.

Media coverage and women’s own shared experiences continue to reveal a disturbing reality where women are being exploited and harmed by unethical medical practices.  When you strip away the context of so called health care and look at what is happening to many women you are left with coercion, bullying, abuse, rape, mutilation, and in some instances, physical and psychological torture.  It’s time to stop pushing pap tests, time to start paying attention to the harms, time to start telling women the facts, and time to let women know they are free to make up their own minds.

http://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h6080
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cancer-screening-has-never-saved-lives-bmj-study-concludes-1

323 comments

  1. Thankyou so much for this great article Sue. This site is so validating beyond words. I can’t thankyou enough for providing such a safe place for us to come to. Even I don’t have the words to express how I feel. There is no where else like it. I am sure many young women searching for answers find you. And it even has a handy little calander at the bottom of the page!

    What’s so strange about this site Sue is the fact until recently I didn’t know you and even now if I saw you in the street I would walk past you. I don’t really know any of you. Some of you live in other parts of England, others America, Australia and Canada yet in the past few months you have all shown me more kindness and consideration than any doctor ever has.

    The tyranny of Paps is coming to an end. X

    • My pleasure Linda, and thank you right back for your great feedback. I like how I never have to look far for new studies because someone here will let the rest of us know about them. I agree there is no where else like this site! The old Blogcritics was a safe haven and I loved hanging out there, but it was a dark day in women’s history when the owners deleted all the comments 😦 I can’t even find the original article now. This site stays strong because of all the comments, adding to the content and links, and helping it come up at or near the top in many searches. I forgot about the calendar and glad you noticed it 🙂 I get the feeling of strangeness in relation to not knowing who people are, at least not in the ‘real’ world. I agree it’s strange that passing each other on the street we wouldn’t be able to recognize each other, yet we are so connected in so many ways when we are here. I didn’t even know how much I relied on the connection until it was lost on the old Blogcritics. I appreciate how you put it Linda, there are no words but you managed to find just the right ones. I agree too that the tyranny of Paps is coming to an end!

      • “I didn’t even know how much I relied on the connection until it was lost on the old Blogcritics”
        I felt like I’d been wandering for decades looking for like-minded women, finally found all of you and next minute the thread with thousands of comments was gone, just like that…there is no doubt in my mind the site was pressured to shut down the discussion and get rid of the thread, it was far too damaging.
        The great thing, the empowering thing, they didn’t win, they didn’t stop the discussion, we’re bigger and better, more determined than ever…thank heavens Sue had the technical skills (energy and desire) to create our fabulous new home. It’s wonderful to hear from new members of our community and to keep in touch with online friends, share information, vent etc.
        I might not actually know any of you, might walk past you in the street, but we have a strong connection all the same…united we stand.

      • Elizabeth, it was devastating to go to our safe haven and discover all the blank space where the comments used to be. I have to agree, no accident. You might think I have technical skill, but I’ll always think of you as Queen Elizabeth! 🙂 saving one woman after the next. I liked your dream that you described in your contribution to the book because for me it captured the essence of your hard work and dedication.

      • Sue I’d like to add my thanks for creating this space. Losing our tread on blogcritics was frightening, that they could just (try to) erase years of comments and community. I think FWEO is getting a much wider circulation than the old blogcritics did, you’ve done an amazing job 🙂

      • Thanks so much Si. If I’d known I’d be getting such great comments I would have tried to get this post up sooner! Blogcritics had over 10,000 comments when it got shut down. It felt scary I agree, that they could just up and erase all of them. To us they meant so much. The loss of the space felt devastating too, like we had been targeted, captured, rounded up, silenced, and taken down. But you and Elizabeth are right, we are carrying on, bigger and stronger than before. We already have 8,659 comments on this site and it hasn’t been around as long as Blogcritics was. Plus, thanks to Chas for swooping in to rescue the comments, we managed to save those too 🙂

      • When I was in my very early teens my haemoglobin dropped to a very low and scary level. I was completely asymptomatic and didn’t even realise this was happening until I had a blood test for something else altogether. Luckily, the ER paediatrician gave me strong iron supplements and my level went back to normal in just a few weeks. However, the paediatrician recommended that my parents take me to the gynaecologist because my heavy periods were likely causing the iron-deficient anaemia (low haemoglobin levels), My dad wanted my mom to take me to this appointment, but when I said no she stood up for me. My mom really doesn’t mind gyn checkups at all, but since I was (and still am) a virgin and I have had a disability since childhood, she understood that I hated doctors and that I especially dreaded intimate procedures. i had never been to a gyn, but I KNEW what would happen if I went to one and this terrified me. My dad threatened to drag me for an appointment himself (my parents are divorced) and couldn’t understand why I was so terrified. In the end, dad did not force me, but I knew that legally he could have at any moment since I was under age. In the end, a female GP sent me for a pelvic ultrasound (with the wand on my stomach) and you know what? Nothing wrong with my organs. No need for a gyn.

        When I was 16, one of my disability-related specialist doctors told me that I should ask my GP to do a gyn exam on me. I asked her why I needed this, especially since I was still a virgin and generally healthy. She said, “just so you can get used to the idea of having it done.” I told her I didn’t need to get used to that idea. I already knew it would be horrible and I knew I didn’t need a gyn exam. I found out this doctor had given one of my friends (another healthy virgin teenage girl with a disability) the same advice. She refused. The doctor said she would bring it up again another time.

        In my late twenties. my hemoglobin dropped again (I must admit, I hadn’t been having regular bloodwork to keep a close eye on it). Again, I was sent to the ER and after an IV iron supplement along with daily iron oral supplements for a few weeks, I was back in top form. Again, my heavy periods were the suspected cause of the anemia so the ER doc gave me another ultrasound that day. My pelvic organs were fine. I just happened to have heavy periods.

        A week after my ER visit, I followed up with my (new med school grad) female GP. Despite my ultrasound results, she was insistent that I see a gyn for my heavy periods. The ER doc had also refereed me to a gyn and when I asked why this was needed despite the good results of my ultrasound, no one could answer me. When I asked my GP why she felt I needed to see a gyn despite the good ultrasound results, all she could answer was “because your hemoglobin was at 45.” I said I wasn’t going to the gyn and she kept asking “why?” We kept arguing this way and then I got really angry and said, “you’d better give me a damn good reason to go.” She was shocked, looked up at me and said “because your hemoglobin is 45.” Then I started to cry and told her gyn was really hard for me, She kept asking me “why’s gyn hard for you? Were you sexually assaulted as a child?” “No,” I answered. “Then why’s it hard for you?” I told her about my previous experience and the fact that I had enough simillar (intimate) medical procedures as a child that I knew gyn would be horrible. She said, “I’m not going to drag you anywhere. You’re not 13 anymore. You’re 28.” That day, she finally backed off.

        I had been having some consultation with a high-risk pregnancy OB to see how my disability might affect me should I choose to get pregnant in the future. I liked the OB’s personality and told my GP I would ask the OB some questions about my heavy periods. The GP asked me if she could write a letter to the OB. I asked her why she needed to do this since I was only going to ask the OB questions and I had already been reffered to her once by my previous GP. My GP said she wanted to send the OB a letter just to explain my current situation and I reluctantly agreed, but reminded my GP that I was only going to ask question and that I WOULD NOT be examined. My GP agreed and sent off the letter. A few days later my GP’s secretary phoned me to inform me that the OB replied that she no longer practiced gyn care, but would be happy to refer me to a practicing gyn. (Turned out my GP tried to refer me for gyn-what I’d asked her not to do!). I sent my GP a stern letter and requested that she put it in my chart. I let her know that I had refused gyn several times and had asked her not to do a referral to gyn. I reiterated a firm refusal to have any gyn care until I requested it do to pregnancy or gyn problems/symtoms/pain. I also told her she was extremely insensitive by asking me if I had ever been sexually assaulted and if not, why was gyn hard for me. She called me and apologized and said she was never trying to railroad me into anything II didn’t want to do. She offered to refer me to another GP because. I thanked her for her apology. In the end, I did leave her practice and returned to a male GP who cared for me in childhood. He respected my refusal for gyn and said that as long as I took iron pills and my hemoglobin stayed up, The OB also reassured me that I was just really unlucky to have heavy periods, but that I would be okay with regular bloodwork and iron pills. Interestingly, about a year after this incident, my male GP also informed me that since I am still a virgin, new guidlines state that I SHOULD NOT HAVE a pelvic exam/pap smear

        i love my GP and I’m really glad I refused gyn. Also, thank you for validating my feelings with this blog. I thought I was one of the only women who felt the way I did about gyn exam.

    • http://www.historyofwomen.org › cdacts

      Linda, you posted previously that you were interested in doing another book on the topic along the lines of women being treated like the Jews were in Nazi Germany. I’ve often found there are very many parallels with the UK Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860’s. I hope the link above works. The fact that these acts were brought in by stealth, and women suddenly finding themselves called up for enforced vaginal examinations… now where have we come across that before…

      • Thanks Ada. Yes I’m just putting ideas together for our new book. I will look at this later. I want to have a full historical look at womens treatment to tie it to how it all lead to this lifetime of unwanted paps. Kat has expressed an interest in writing this chapter.

        I would like to do a chapter on st helens and other focus group that are going to be runing a till receipt campaign shortly as well as handing out nail files through March . I would also like to look at the WHO manifesto for 2016 which suggests holding meetings in some parts of the world with the husbands to try to get them persuade their wives to get tested.

        If you go on the internet within the past day or two every local newspaper is running the same article- ‘women from (anywhere) urged to get smears.’ No matter where in the country it is the same article exactly with only the area cut and pasted in. Its deff the screrning gang having a go. I feel this situation needs a chapter. Could you do that one or this one – there are a lot of sites springing up such as sophaminie specifically aimed at teenagers? They all have the same article about smears. This needs a chapter a well.
        X

  2. Wow, this is in the British Medical Journal? I’d imagine throwing that in someone’s face after basically proving/announcing reality would be helpful when they start trying to pull their shit. In America, more or less anything from the Brits is seen as the “varsity” grade.

    Also, how is it “for her own good” when it causes her harm? Is it just them thinking harm to her is good? Maybe they just think that it’d be good for her (or someone) to pay them more? Because “money corrupts,” and such. Then again, how is a corrupt medical employee beneficial for her or anyone else? I suppose they could cost people money with repeated tests & surgeries. Not to mention follow-ups & such. I’d imagine lengthy hospital stays from “mistakes” would be quite expensive- especially if they contracted some kind of infection from that environment. So much good for them!

    Staying with people that think that they completely control their own behavior in the workplace & that nothing they do constitutes harm if they don’t declare it as such seems like it’s own issue right there. Wait, “benefit.” Not “issue.”

  3. The medical profession needs to stop recommending cancer screenings in general. The evidence is not there to support recommending them much less the pressure and even coercion to screen. It is shocking that despite the lack of scientific evidence the medical profession has convinced society at large that cancer screenings are a fundamental part of good health practices and that without them a person is sure to die from cancer. People are so convinced at screenings necessity and effectiveness that even if they find out they have the cancer that the screening test came back negative for they will still support the necessity of that screening test. Critical thinking about screening is not done by society or the medical profession and the new information coming out showing that cancer screenings are of low clinical value are ignored. Incentive programs are still being done and because of that I’ve heard of people being fired by their doctor for not screening. Will there come a time when the medical profession does evidence based practice.

  4. http://www.leedswestccg.nhs.uk/news/cancer-patient-battles-back-to-launch-cervical-smear-test-campaign/

    Here’s the classic campaign case: cervical cancer survivor leads campaign to get women to have smear tests, but scroll down past the article to read the details about this lady’s case. She DID have a smear test, and it came back negative. So everyone assumed all was well, and valuable time was wasted before a diagnosis of cancer was finally arrived at and this lady had to have a hysterectomy in her 20’s. This article clearly shows that the test doesn’t work and obstructed an earlier diagnosis. Instead they use this lady to promote and praise a test, which may have cost this lady her womb.

    • They did the same thing here in Australia to scare young women into testing…a young woman (early 20s) gave interviews and appeared in the papers about 5 years ago now. We were told a pap test saved her life but then I read she had a pap test, it was normal, (I think she was symptomatic at that stage as well) she returned to the doctor with worsening symptoms some mths later, (think it was about 6 mths) another pap test (it’s totally inappropriate to use a screening test on symptomatic women, these women need a proper investigation or referral) it was abnormal and the diagnosis was made shortly thereafter.
      I’ve heard doctors say that’s why frequent/regular testing is required, the test will eventually pick up the problem if it’s missed the first time.
      If we were being honest with women we’d tell them the pap test is even more unreliable in young women and that symptoms should be addressed, not with a pap test, but a proper investigation. (that’s persistent and unusual symptoms)

      So the reality is: the pap test may have held up her diagnosis and worsened her prognosis. I assume she had an adenocarcinoma, the pap test often misses this even rarer form of cc, and it’s the sort that usually occurs in young women. (but it’s still rare!)

    • Am I remembering wrong but was the pap smear originally designed to be a diagnostic test for a woman having symptoms indicative of CC and that part of the issue in it’s effectiveness is that it was not meant to be a regular screening test.
      Sadly few people will read that article with a critical eye and realize that the pap smear did not help that young woman. Why do they use women in their campaigns who weren’t helped by the pap smear. Is it because they can’t find a woman whose life was truly saved by having regular screening.

      • My local paper featured the woman who’s the poster girl for Jo’s Trust – just when I thought my opinion of that odious charity couldn’t get any lower! Yes, the article was urging our local woman not to be fearful or embarrassed and just trot along for this ‘fabulous’ test because apparently attendance is only 68% in our town.
        Not that these kind of articles ever give much information, but it sounds to me like this young woman was a victim of overdiagnosis. She says her smear came back ‘high grade abnormal’ which *could* indicate cancer, she went for treatment and a biopsy and two weeks later she got the all clear.
        The all clear from what? Sounds highly suspicious to me. But of course this woman thinks the test saved her life and actually says that she would drag non-screening women to the surgery if she could. Yeah, try it with me, love, and see how far down the road we get!
        Amazing how these charities select the most brainless people to front their campaigns, huh?

      • Just read your comment about the woman wanting to drag non-screened women to the surgery with her. THIS is what I hate about this particular campaign. The pro-screening women are particularly aggressive, militant and volatile and my personal decision not to screen has no bearing on them whatsoever. It’s like other highly emotive and controversial topics like abortion or the death penalty.

        What in God’s earth is wrong with these women? Being verbally aggressive towards other individuals because they choose not to test for something isn’t exactly a normal reaction is it?
        If she’d try to drag me, all I can say is that my taekwondo skills would be put to VERY good use.

      • Hi AQ, Good to hear from you again, and good to see your comments in the Daily Nazi. Going back to one of your points you raised earlier, I have been trying to find out for some time if those women who have permanently opted out of screening, are still included in the statistics of “no shows” when they bewail the fact that 27% of women do not attend screening. I wrote to PHE once but they told me they “do not hold that information”. I’ve since found articles, which conflict one another: some said yes they do, and others implied they did not, so I’m still unable to find a result on that. If you asked me personally, I’d say they did, because of the 30 million women in the UK, I’ve worked out that approx 4 million will be sent summons letters every 3 years, and they say that only 3 million are taken up. Also the fact that the uptake figures have dropped by 10% over the past 10 years is a clear indicator that many have discovered online that it’s not mandatory and they have got hold of the opt out letter and opted out.

      • Hi Ada.. Hmm interesting that PHE don’t hold this information? That’s quite unbelievable.

        I’m going to hazard a guess.. I think including these stats might depend on the specific agenda going forward. If it’s a media campaign moaning at the declining numbers of women being screened and saying at the same time, cc is up by 100% (“as a result” – of course), they’ll include the non-screened.

        But I would have thought, they wouldn’t always refer to this group in their stats because it doesn’t play into their propaganda. They may not want to admit that the numbers of those not being screened is as high as it is, because it implies that a larger number of women than previously thought are “escaping” shall we say and they might not want to have to admit that there are other reasons other than ignorance, embarrassment and fear why the screening numbers are so low.

  5. Got to ask: If a transsexual doesn’t get harassed about exams like these, is that persecution? What about a man that still has the “twig & berries,” but identifies himself as a woman? Because they aren’t treating them like women.

    • Hi All. I don’t know why some women are so militant about testing but it is a fact. I can see that over the years various posts on sites from the women here have been shot down in flames. It must be that some enjoy it and want it. If the nurses are nice and chat to the women then she might enjoy the attention as something may be lacking from her life. They may have had sex from a young age, smoke, many partners and believe testing is a good thing.
      However, we are going to change all of that because we will be more militant, more vocal, more aggressive. This site helps those like me who are desperate for answers and knowledge and safety. I think women find this site and whether they post or not go away more confident to stop testing. How else can we explain the panic over why so many women are suddenly overdue. Posting on other sites as Eliz does with her script about H PH and Scandanavian programmes has helped many of those who wern’t sure to go searching for the truth. That leaves to women who screen because they dont know any better and the militants.
      Did the Pankhursts give up because it all seemed too insurmounrable? Did they think oh well women don’t really want to vote? Did the womens lib movement of the 70’s give up because oh well women don’t need to earn as much money as the men because we had them to look after us?
      Eve Ensler quote – “a women who becomes an activist can’t help herself. She has been driven mad by some cruelty, some misdeed, she has witnessed and feel compels to put it right”,
      The women here are educated and intelligent and passionate we are all capable of producing books, articles, even poems (believe it or not my friend has written a poem) and flooding the free social media sites to saturation.
      Lets do it !

  6. http://doc2doc.bmj.com/forums/off-duty_general_should-women-feel-pressured-having-cervical-smear-test?plckFindPostKey=Cat:OffDutyForum:GeneralDiscussion:0f4ea92d-c2d9-49a7-a85f-2929238bcfdfPost:0db7d8bc-b08d-4c0e-bf3a-58b14a0cac9c

    This site had some interesting posts from doctors in it. I liked the last one, replying to one doctor who wrote she bled profusely after a lettz procedure. The doctor wrote that if she hadn’t had the smear, none of it would have happened at all. Too right!

    • Taken from your link-

      “Cervical screening needs to be positioned as a service that enables women to get on and live their lives.” [Lyons & Neary et al, 2009, pp.14].

      Or women can just forget about cancer and get on and live their lives.

      • Mint, that is beyond comprehension: first, the medical system goes out of its way to scare women into pat smears and stirrups by saying the outrageous nonsense like “cervical cancer is the biggest cause of death in women” or “my mum missed a smear, now I miss my mum”, and then they propose that “cervical screening needs to be positioned as a service that enables women to get on and live their lives”.
        A bunch of greedy, deceiving gynecological butchers!

    • This is a student dissertation, missing key pieces of information and overall fairly poorly written. She creates a blanket notion that ALL women are either too embarrassed or too deprived to submit to screening and discusses no other possible reasoning. I’d be intrigued to know what grade she actually received for this paper.

      My favourite part tho, re: opportunistic testing;

      “It does seem the best way of targeting women, as they do not have chance to become afraid and do not have chance to think about it.”

      wow.

      • Rei, I find the whole issue of “opportunistic screening” very dangerous and threatening. My ex-GP was one of these, and was always witholding whatever it was you’d come about until after the smear test. When you tried to stay on track of the reason for your appointment, she would constantly interrupt and say we’d deal with that after the smear test. It meant no access to healthcare for me. It is grooming and blackmail as far as I’m concerned.

        I saw a post recently from someone who had experienced abuse as a child. She said that when she finally was bullied into the smear test, the nurse used the exact same words as her abuser had done: telling her how to place her legs, telling her to relax, telling her that it wouldn’t hurt if she would do as she was told, telling her it was normal and had to be done, and that it would soon all be over.
        She said she could hear the words of her abuser all over again.
        Those GPs who use these tactics are using the same tactics as those who abuse. They do not have to groom anybody for this test. It is an elective test, and they should treat the public as informed individuals who have made a decision not to have it.

    • When they refer to those women who have never had a smear, I wonder if they include those who had formally opted out ? It made no explicit mention of these women either way and I would have thought it wouldn’t be ethical to hassle those who had signed the opt-out form – surely the receptionists and nurses wouldn’t be encouraged to call these women and opportunistically hassle them as that’d technically amount to potential harrassment. Furthermore, it would skew their own results as they’d have to acknowledge that an x amount of women were declining tests due to informed decisions – something they would never want to publicly acknowledge in their “research”. And to think they view opportunistic harrassment as “good practice”? What utter t@$#s!!! Pardon my language!

      • I’ve often wondered how they come up with their statistics, a lot of it (I suspect) is simply made up, they go to a lot of trouble to make it sound like cc is a huge threat, that screening greatly reduces the risk and that they save heaps of lives.
        It can’t be true, it’s a fairly rare cancer so you can’t save lots of women, these women have simply been over-treated.
        I know in the UK they really chase young women, I’ve read in a few places that “establishing” screening as a habit, a normal and essential part of your healthcare from age 25 is very important.
        They’ve found women who “miss” their first smear often end up non-screeners. (sensible women) Of course, these women may have made an informed decision not to screen or to screen later, but that is never mentioned as a possibility…heaven forbid!
        Of course, they know many of these young women will get false positive pap tests and end up having an excess colposcopy/biopsy or even a “treatment”, this usually scares the woman into future compliance and she might even scare some of her friends and family into testing…so a win:win for the program.
        We’ve known for a long time now that testing young women doesn’t help, but leads to a lot of false positives etc. but we’ve carried on regardless, it brings in a lot of money, makes it look like the program is working, with many women in the dark, it’s safe to carry on.
        They couldn’t really change the program here to something like the new Dutch program, it would terrify some women, others might smell a rat, so they’ve played it safe and will start HPV testing from 25. We know this is a bad move, it should be offered from age 30, our program will see about 40% of our young women testing HPV+ BUT then we’ve never cared about worrying and harming our young women. (or older women for that matter)

        As long as women are in the dark, censorship is still in place, the propaganda machine is still working, all or most doctors are silent or on board, the media stay out of it…it’s carry on regardless, worry and harm our young women (and other women) and call it cancer screening and healthcare.

      • I’ve had experience using and interpreting statistics in my current profession and past academic experience. What I can guarantee that they are doing is manipulating or misinterpreting the data. After all, if I understood correctly, the people they interviewed were nurses GPs and receptionists so if they didn’t interview women, there is a major bias and flaw in their research right there. If they did, they probably wouldn’t have given much consideration to the woman espousing “informed choice” in their research. I noticed some of the “never screened” women were either in the most “deprived” communities (how convenient) or the most affluent and correct me if I’m wrong, but they didn’t appear to have any suggestions or recommendations as to how to target those from the affluent areas – it was as if they simply glossed over this group.
        Interesting – perhaps they didn’t have any reccomendations as to how to target these women because they knew they were potentially the “informed” woman were never likely to screen. Disgusted that they seem to think bullying, harrassment and haranguing is justified based on someone’s socio-economic status.

  7. Thanks for these articles Ada. They always quote fear and embarresment for putting women off. They never mention girls are educating themselves via the internet and thereby taking themselves out of harms way.

  8. “Imperial College is conducting a randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of texting non-responders on improving coverage and uptake.”

    My GP has my permission to use my mobile phone number to remind me to attend a pre-existing appointment. If I was to receive a text message from my GP urging me to make a cervical screening appointment, I would consider this a breach of the Data Protection Act. In my view, prior consent must be obtained to use or disclose my personal data for a purpose that is additional to, or different from, the original purpose.

    • Mint, that’s precisely how I sacked my last GP years ago. I specifically told them, and put it in writing when filing the New Patient form, that I do not want to receive any reminders or have any sort of screening ever mentioned to me. Some time later, I got a letter in the post telling me that I am “due” to a pap smear. I phoned the GP and told them that, after their breached my privacy, misused my personal information provided to them for a different purpose, and disregarded my wishes, they no longer have my permission to keep my personal data, I no longer consider this doctor trustworthy, and no longer am their patient. I demanded to be permanently deleted from all their systems and files, and if I ever hear a peep from them, it will amount to harassment.

      I haven’t seen a doctor since, and never been happier.

      It is just outrageous that the medical system thinks it can extort people’s personal information and then use it in any way it pleases.

      • Good for you, Alice, that sends a message. I hope more and more women do the same thing, it doesn’t have to be face-to-face, it can be by letter, email or phone. (or go over their head and complain to a medical association, medical board etc.)

        I think choice and consent were taken away from women when this program was established, not that there was much of either to start with…everything about the program and its success is based on the abuse of our rights and body. The propaganda served them well for years but is no protection from informed women and our numbers get bigger every day.

    • Presumably, there would be the legally required “unsubscribe” button for you to press? Oh, but hang on a minute, our wonderful cervical screening programme is above the law, isn’t it, so there is no requirement to reply to their illegal pestering…

      I am just waiting to see what happens when they bring out our new primary HPV test. There have been no announcements so far, but there are big government drives to reduce paper in the NHS and switch to electronic reminders. How will they cope if they are legally obliged to add an “Unsubscribe me” button to their pesky screening recall letters?
      I also fear that when this new programme comes out, they may be obliged to offer the new test to those women who have opted out of the old, and many may find themselves back on the recall register, and having to opt out of the newer test as well.

      • Ada, I seriously think I will contact my doctor now saying I don’t care what happens in the future I still won’t screen and if necessary I’d change my numbers so they couldn’t call ‘
        I haven’t given them my email address so I’m safe there. I really am still fuming about all the bullying “invitations ” they sent before. I refuse to do all that again!!

      • Hi Kat,
        I wish we could find out what is going to happen to the future of our programme. The Aussies have already had their future HPV screening programme explained, the Dutch have got theirs up and running. What’s going to happen to the UK? We still don’t know how our new HPV screening programme is going to pan out. Did I pick up from somewhere that new invitation letters will be coming out in June? That might be a time when we get to find out more about the new programme. In the meantime, the researchers I’ve been reading, seem to be favouring a halving of the screening time with HPV, so 3 years will stretch to 6 and the 5 year recall will go to 10 after age 50, but does that mean one last one at 60 or another at 70? It has been difficult to find out. Will there also be the opportunity to self-test at home if you say no to the speculum test, as in Netherlands? If a self-test kit is put on the table, I feel certain that they will offer this to all those who have opted out of screening in the past, as at least some of them would take up this new offer.

      • Ada, the cynical part of me believes that I will be put back on the recall register. I have opted out of the “paper” system but not the electronic reminders. I also suspect that if a self-test is offered to all “eligible” women , a high percentage will have a referral for a speculum/colposcopy. All those practice nurses and clinics need to be kept in employment somehow 😉

      • Yes it will be interesting to find out. I heard that once you had opted out (from the old system), you’d receive a letter ten years on to ask you to re-consider your decision.

        I opted out in October 2005 and was looking out for any letters towards the end of last year – haven’t received anything to date (touch wood).

        Just as a sidenote, I went on the NHS cervical screening web page last night. The page has been drastically updated since I last saw it, however, it is still nowhere near as impartial and as rational as the bowel screening page (despite that being a far more common cancer) to my liking. The cervical screening page still contains old fashioned, out of date stats spouting “the benefits outweigh the tisks” and the line “screening is a personal choice” is at the end of the first or second paragraph. Does this page accept comments? Couldn’t see an option to submit comments and couldn’t see any others loaded to it either.

      • This is something I should probably be able to easily figure out…but I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far this morning. I am in the US. In the UK…how do electronic reminders work? Do they email you? Text you? Do you have your own NHS email address that you log in to? I feel like there are so many ways that we can be reached electronically in this day and age, that any one of the options could possibly amount to an invasion of privacy on the part of the NHS (although…I am not sure that they seem to mind invading your privacy anyway!)

  9. Almost all of the measures used to increase coverage violate some law and/or proper ethical standards. Once women start complaining and pushing back, they’ll have to stop and listen, they got away with it for years with the propaganda campaign passing as evidence and used to create a climate of fear, compliance, silence etc.
    I’ve always disagreed with target payments, it’s a potential conflict of interest, if you don’t feel you can tell women about these payments, it says something…
    I’ve mentioned these payments to a few doctors over the years, just in passing, nothing confrontational, and they all looked uncomfortable, even embarrassed, a locum doctor even said, “oh, how do you know about that? Not many women know that about”…
    I think doctors and nurses will be starting to feel the push-back, it will take them by surprise, it was all their way for far too long.

    • Precisely Elizabeth,
      I always thought that it is nothing to do with “screening saves lives” mantra. The real mantra is “screening gives the system access to people’s bodies, facilitates control over their lives, and makes huge money”.

    • Hi All. I don’t want more letters coming about self testing for HPV. I’m not interested. I’ve been molested enough I just want to be left alone. I am interested in seeing this new leaflet tho’.

      • Don’t hold your breath, Linda! I saw an early edition of this ‘new improved’ leaflet several years ago, after the informed choice consultation. Wish I’d saved a copy now because it quickly vanished from the web, but I recall it did acknowledge that screening was a personal choice and there are many valid reasons not to attend. It mentioned the possibility of being treated unnecessarily, and there was a brief mention of the risks of Lletz treatment. So there are the improvements. As for the rest of it, it may have been rewritten but ultimately it was the same old turd wrapped in shiny new paper.
        Same old made up statistics, no mention of opting out… not much of an improvement really.
        My biggest issue was this: During the public consultation they made it clear that these leaflets would present us with the NNT. The breast screening leaflet gives (dubious) figures, yet the cervical screening leaflet said ‘it is not known how many women are treated unnecessarily’. Now to claim that ‘screening saves up to 5,000 lives every year’ yet also claim not to know how many women are overtreated… that really takes the piss.
        To add insult to injury, they added a very simple line diagram of the speculum in position which apparently was supplied by Jo’s Trust.
        And how come it’s taking so freaking long to rewrite such a piddly little leaflet?

      • I would only consider HPV testing via the self-test/ DIY method and even then, I probably would only do it via the Gyne check method not via the NHS (unless I felt it was necessary due to testing HPV+). I wouldn’t want to even inadvertently present the NHS with the opportunity to store personal data about me for the future police state, and use that to hassle me because that is what I fear they would do. I know that it’s possible to hassle women that have opted out with the new HPV testing and they would certainly want to, but technically, I don’t think it’s ethical for them to do this – more women are aware of their rights which I feel is the reason we’ve reached this point and the authorities are scared of any mention of “human rights” and “data protection”. Technically, they shouldn’t really be hassling those who have opted out but we’ll see.

        However, when a self HPV test is available online, I think it’s unethical, unjustifiable and damn right disgusting to insist that HPV is still screened for using the old screening method. I believe this is to keep the vested interests happy and also to appease the pro-screening women who are very resistant and sceptical of change, hence, adapting them very gradually to the new methodology.

        Yes I agree. Why on earth is there all this delay to re-writing this leaflet? Are they that desperate to cling on to the screening programme (well, clearly so).

        Nevertheless, I’ll be doing all I can to inform women of the gyne check that’s available while the NHS will be busy promoting the old screening test as “necessary” to detecting HPV!

      • Linda
        I’m waiting to see what happens to me, I’ve never tested so my name doesn’t appear on the register or anywhere else. There’s talk we’re going to set up a UK style call and recall system. I’m not concerned about my GP, she won’t be sending me anything, but it will be interesting to see if I receive anything from the new registry.

        Just imagine the price on my cervix, how rare to find an almost 58-year-old Australian woman who’s never had anything done to her cervix, wouldn’t they love to get their hands on me or rather, my cervix.
        To think there is such interest in my cervix, it really is madness. I think the program can’t bear the thought that some saw through the lies and they couldn’t capture us any other way.
        So if I get a summons, “you’ve clearly had some sort of issue, but our new fabulous program will let you self-test” Of course, they’ll have to get in something like self-testing is not as good as a sample taken by your GP.

        I’ve read HPV self-testing will only be permitted for unscreened women and long “overdue” women BUT through your GP. (it sounds like you have to take the sample while you’re at the surgery) Again, control is the thing…

        I know my GP will simply cross me off the list.
        I do wonder what’s in my file, I get on well with my GP, but I suspect my file says something like, “Mention cancer screening at your peril”…

        Funny thing is, I don’t think I’m viewed as a difficult patient by my GP, she knows my decisions are based on the evidence, that I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions and taking full responsibility. It’s a concept foreign to the medical profession but as more women insist on being treated like a competent adult, hopefully, attitudes will change and they’ll see it’s offensive in the extreme to make decisions FOR women, to mislead and manipulate and to accept risk on our behalf.

        In a way I’m looking forward to a summons, I’m ready for it, actually, at this point in my life, it would probably make my day. I won’t be cowering in the corner, I have the evidence, I know my rights, I win!
        Incredible, though, that in 2016 I still have to stand guard over my cervix…

      • I’ve been thinking about the self-testing options a lot. I think the main reasons they are keeping it within the surgery are that it would be the only way to be sure that the sample belonged to that person. I can see some women getting a friend to take the sample otherwise, and sending it off as their own, especially if they’ve been called up to colposcopy in the past. There has been succesful research into developing spit tests and urine tests for HPV but I don’t think they’ll be sent off to decliners by the NHS. They’d have no way of ascertaining whose sample they’d got. I also think that they’ll do everything they can to prevent these tests becoming easily available on the open market. I’ve noticed that some private HPV testers are only offering the full pelvic examination and speculum test as part of a package, you can’t just order the HPV test on its own now. But there is little they can do with suppliers based outside the UK like UDoTest in South Africa. I noticed that they were still selling their product for women to test at home.
        I have read that the current call and recall system in the UK is to be entirely replaced, as is no longer fit for purpose, and the whole system is to be redesigned to be better suited to individual needs, but it still seems to be a big secret, what will eventually happen for the UK.

      • I just looked at the site. There is an interesting article about consent to medical treatments – docs have a duty to provide people with sufficient info to give informed consent. The law’s the law. Some exceptions to this is the Mental Health Act which has just made me wonder. The “requirement” by some docs for women to engage in “counselling” if they don’t want screening sounds very sinister. Wonder if it might be an attempt (in some circumstances) to bypass the requirement for consent based on someone being irrational or whatever? How far could an overly zealous GP go to bypass “consent” in this way?

      • Just published the following comment on the HR website. Owing to Linda’s experience, I was careful not to criticise the article so that the comment (hopefully) stays up. What I noticed was that the article was relatively old (2010) hence the high tone although this doesn’t excuse the fact it was published on a Human rights website though. The comment is as follows. Seems to be staying up (for now at least).

        Since the publication of this article, the NHS has since updated their information regarding this screening programme and are also looking to incorporate further changes. Some of the recommendations from parliamentary committee proceedings on cervical screening have advised that the risks and harms (as well as the benefits) of this screening be publicised as well as the fundamental principles of informed consent which is a fundamental conner stone of Human Rights principles and legislation.

      • Yes I saw your comments in the Daily Nazi last night! Yes, I agree they were very tame (in comparison to mine!) but well-written, comprehensive, informative and not at all patronising. I’m surprised mine get published as if I’m honest with myself, I do tend to bang the drum a bit and lose patience with the pro-screening militia (which I know I shouldn’t but it is so hard to remain calm sometimes!).

    • “Screening is a personal choice.”. Wow. I have never herd the word choice and pap smear in the same sentence before hear in the USA. Wow that sounds like a step forward . I just wish Americn gynos should stop telling woman we all have to go to them for check ups.

      • Hi Kleigh. Its hard to believe isn’t it. From what I read America is changing slowly. The gov already trying to move pap to three yearly. Forcing these U.G.E.’s on us is a major big human rights issue. Article 2 actually. The right to a private life etc. And the ability to choose who feasts their eyes on us!!

      • Hi Surrounded. GP’s sent out letters about 2 years ago asking for our emails and mobiles so called to make it easier to remind us about meds and appoints. But they want to use them for screening reminders from now on.

      • Hi. ApQ. Hopefully it will stay in place. Fancy a human rights organisation not knowing about basic human rights!!! It really does show the extent of the brainwashing programme.

        I have just had an email from Daily Mail to say they have put some of my comments up. That’s because I wrote an email askingwhy my comments never get put on. However they are a bit tame I think.

    • AQ I don’t think you can leave comments on the NHS cervical screening site. You did use to and of course they were all along the lines of how wonderful it was, then a woman posted as Ada said, saying her new practice insisted on smears and just after that all the comments were removed!! Free speech all the way

      • Hi Kat. I don’t know what happed to the NHS site. They just took everything off one day. There were loads of good comments obvi too dangerous for them

      • I’ve found over the years that most official sites don’t permit comments, it’s just too dangerous when you’re misleading women, you don’t want someone linking real information or talking about their bad experience.
        They don’t want someone contradicting them and they must always have the last word, I posted a comment on a Govt Health site a couple of years ago, they replied spouting the usual nonsense and then immediately closed the thread.

        This is why it was so important to conceal all real information and for everyone to be IN on the deception, censorship has always been a vital part of these programs. We know the “story” literally falls apart when the evidence emerges…so after years of hearing the story and no one saying anything else, the story has become the evidence.

        It’s all supposed to be fabulous so that means tight controls over the “information” they release to women and for everyone to play the game. That’s why I have enormous respect for Margaret McCartney, Michael Baum, Peter Gotzsche and others. There’s no doubt it would have been FAR easier to say nothing, like almost every other doctor, instead, they went out on a limb, doing the right thing. This is the way doctors are supposed to behave, it’s a sad indictment we have so few here in Australia and none as vocal, direct and confrontational as some of the UK and US advocates.
        Amazing that Gilbert Welch, Michael Baum, and others are very direct in their criticism of breast screening, that would NEVER happen here, our few critics are careful not to ruffle too many feathers so you find statements like, “although there are some benefits and the program means well, we know that screening also leads to over-diagnosis etc.”
        After decades of silence, I was delighted to hear anything, something…of course, silence still reigns when it comes to the cervical screening program, people are still VERY careful when it comes to any sort of negative comment about our program.

      • Hi All. Once the HPV pro is rolled out I think the pressure for us to screen will increase. We will get letters about self testing. They will ignore our opt out status (i don’t think this bit of paper means anything to them other than indicate the need to intensify the pressure anyway and I think you all know that as well)
        Eliz has spent her life dodging and evading the equivilent of big game hunters after that elusive trophy. Living her life like she was part of the criminal underworld. That is now how I feel and I’m sure many of you others do too.
        Ap Q is right. The past 40 years has been spent gaining equalty of pay, political and social rights is all for nothing. Our modern lives are now spent dodging lifelong U.G.E’s.
        I received a letter from the practice nurse this morning wanting me to go in for a blood pressure check. There is nothing wrong with it and I have never indicated otherwise. She must be born stupid if she thinks I can’t see this ruse. ‘Opt out’ status means sod all to this zealot. I’m just going to ignore it.

      • Perhaps you’re right Linda… But can you imagine the ire women will express when they find out that the unscreened or underscreened women will be getting the self-test option (I take it this is what will be happening with the new HPV programme in Australia – will be interesting to see how ours works out, if it indeed follows the Australian model).

        As the current screening programme moves to HPV testing, we could try to get the word out there about the option to self-test via gyne check instead.

        Just wondering as I live in Wales, will this new HPV screening methodology be rolled out across England come June then?
        For those of you in the know, please keep us posted. Things could get very interesting indeed..

      • And here’s me thinking it was just me that was blocked from the comments. Some of mine were put up but got some emails from them stating I am not allowed to “discourage” women……but of course I’m allowed to “encourage” them…………..shame on them! Since then the comments have disappeared including making new comments.

  10. Hi everyone. I’ve just come across your site. I turned 25 last year, 26 this year. I have always had problems with people touching me down there, I even had gas and air during internals when giving birth to my 2 daughters. I went to the doctors a few days ago due to extreme anxiety mainly caused by thinking about smear tests. I went in and sat down and the first thing I see on my notes was overdue smear test in red capitals. I just burst into tears and the doctor id never seen in my life was going on about how having a smear is like having sex and some other rubbish! I just thought to myself, I’ve only just,in the last couple of years been okay with my husband down there! I don’t really know why I’m writing this but you seem to be the only ones that would be on my side. My anxiety is so bad I’m thinking I’m going to die and leave my family if I don’t take the test but I don’t see how I ever could take it unless they knock me out! I’ve seen a couple of hpv tests but I’ve heard that most people under 30 would have hpv anyway so if it came back positive id have to have a smear anyway! What are your thoughts on the hpv tests? Has anyone taken one? Many thanks. Samantha.

    • Samantha
      Welcome to the forum.
      I think the pressure on women (the campaigns, reminder letters, phone calls etc.) to have these tests is carefully and deliberately designed to cause anxiety, fear and isolation…and hopefully, drive us into the exam room. Initially, I tried to turn my mind off whenever the subject came up, when there was something on TV or the radio. I ignored anything in the paper, posters in public toilets etc. I tried to put it out of my mind, BUT it did make me anxious.

      That changed in one day….I got informed.
      I spent quite a few hours reading up about this testing (in a Medical Library, this was pre-internet, in about 1978) and walked away a relieved woman. I had the evidence, I could make an informed decision. Now for me that was no screening at all, I’m almost 58 and have never had a pap test and never will…
      Back then women were routinely coerced into pap testing (and pelvic and breast exams) if they wanted the Pill so I knew the Pill was out for me, I didn’t have the confidence at that stage to challenge the medical profession/system.

      So just like that, the anxiety stopped, I listened to the misinformation, I saw through the campaigns, I listened to women spouting the screening “story” with no clue they’d been misled. I also knew almost all of the “saved” women had simply been over-treated and I saw the awful damage this program caused to women’s lives and health. (and that damage continues to this day)

      So that’s my advice to you, don’t act on fear or misinformation, make an informed decision.

      A couple of things to keep in mind: at 26 years of age, you would not even be invited to test under an evidence-based program. Not one country has shown a benefit from pap testing those under 30 but young women produce LOTS of false positives and that can mean excess colposcopy/biopsies and over-treatment. I’d say the risks of screening exceeds the actual benefit, but do some reading and make up your own mind.
      Damage to the cervix can lead to obstetric, health and psych issues.

      If you decide to test, you might consider HPV self-testing when you turn 30, about 5% of women will be HPV+ at that age, these are the only women who should be offered a 5 yearly pap test. (you’re right…before age 30 about 40% of women will be HPV+…transient and harmless infections that would clear naturally over a year or so)

      NOTE: the very rare cervical cancer that occurs in a woman under 30 is usually an adenocarcinoma of the cervix, this type of cc is usually missed by pap testing. (false negative cases) Young women should be advised to seek medical attention if they develop persistent and unusual symptoms, not for a pap test, but a proper investigation.

      I’d do my reading first, some women cannot bear the idea of a pap test and see HPV self-testing as an easier option, that might be the case (if you’re HPV-) but I think it’s best to consider the next step BEFORE you do the test.
      What would you do if the test was HPV+? Would you go ahead with the pap test or live in even greater fear, with more anxiety?

      I believe screening tests should be approached with caution, they can and do harm, and benefit relatively few people, VERY few with cervical screening. Cervical cancer is fairly rare so it stands to reason you can’t save droves with pap testing. (you’ll save more though with HPV testing used the right way)
      Women “think” it’s a serious risk because they see so many women dealing with “abnormal” results, having biopsies and treatments, but this is mostly about false positives and over-treatment. It’s called the popularity paradox, the more unreliable the test, the more false positives and over-treatment, more people will view the cancer as a serious threat. Dr. Margaret McCartney (Scottish GP) talks about this effect in her books on cancer screening.

    • Linda, last time I was at the doctor I tried a new tactic. I let him bleat on about smears as long as he wanted and remained totally silent. When he finally finished I still remained totally silent. It then fell to him to break it which he did by saying “NO? You still don’t want to have a smear test? ” I looked at him perfect calm and said why would I when I have OPTED OUT? Then the heavy sighs and head shaking at my stupidity before returning to the anaemia I had come about! This was last year. I haven’t been back. I feel he has no interest in anything apart from my vagina. I really think I’ll go doctor shopping as Eliz would say. Linda let us know what you do!

      • Hi Kat. I’ve not had a chance yet to have a go. Since I sent the form i’ve heard nothing only this one to have a blood press. I like the way you stood your ground tho in front of your doc. You did post this a while ago. Its a laugh isn’t it. Today i’m on differrnt websites learninv to be my own healer. This is the way forward for me now.

      • What a creep.. And to hear a man berating a woman about this makes me even more angry. What right has he got?!

        I admire your patience for being able to listen to him drone on and on without losing your cool.. And sounds like a good tactic too!

        What worries me is, if he is like this with you, how many women have succumbed under pressure? Thank goodness the age has been upped to 25 because can you imagine a 19 year old approaching him, desperate for contraception or just the pill to control painful periods or hormonal depression and PMT? At least (well going from my own experience anyway) 25 year olds are a bit more seasoned in that respect but no doubt, there are still young women complying with this arrogant male’s demands (of which he has no iota about).. Hope you don’t mind me asking, have you ever considered reporting him?

      • Hi Ap Q. I don’t think its worth the effort reporting him. Last week I left comments on the abouthumanrights site because in the article about smear tests it is written that it is an exam ‘required’ of all sexly active women !!! My comments have now been deleted and thats a human rights advice website. Also about two weeks ago I emailed Pub Health Eng to complain about nurse GG’s behaviour and that I wanted her reprimanded (i think shes retired tho) they ignored me as usual. I now believe this is some mass conspiracy perpetrated by some ‘very high ups ‘ to have every womans vag examined and that absolutely everone is in on it.

      • Linda – is that human rights site a British web site or a global one? Unbelievable! Docs might be put off being individually reported to the GMC though (depending on the doc I guess). Just a thought..

      • Hi ApQ. Its a britsh one. If u want look it called abouthumanrights.com. there’s a whole raft on smears and stuff. When I go on these sites I give my full name. I’m wondering if I’ve been blacklisted somehow all over the net as none of my comments ever get through anywhere. I think the prob was I was a bit over the top at first when I found out I’d been so had all these years and even tho I’ve calmed down now and my comm are more measured its too late.
        I think the GMC would protect their doctors over smears. They prob have some kind of understanding. Don’t forget this org sat back while Jimmy Saville was having a fantastic time of it.

      • Kat this was wonderful to read, and really brought a smile to my face! If it happens again, maybe you could check your watch, while he is ranting on, and say that you’ll be adding the extra time to the appointment, so that you get your full 10 mins to discuss what you came about!

      • Kat – or you could just stare at your watch, look bored, yawn continuously and roll up bits of paper all the while with a vacant stare on your face (haha, sorry if that might sound childish but it’s something I’d probably be tempted to do!) 😀

  11. Hi Samantha. When a woman finds us I jump for joy. Smear testing has never been presented to us a choice it has been presented as mandatory by law. Everything about the programme colludes to do this. Think about it – you would imagine an unpaid bill reminder having red demand letters across the page – but a healthcare test? Not only that but doctors telling you its like sex? Its nothing like sex. My husband has never scratched the sides of my vag so it bled, has never caused a miscarriage, has never put me in hosp for tests.
    Looking back over my life – i’m 51, i feel something was robbed from me, my privacy, the right to determine who looked at me and touched me, this thing is so important to us. Please don’t look back one day over your life and think well i went through years of medical rape.
    Read all the posts and articles on this website – grow strong so ypu can stand firm as they WILL start applying the pressure very soon.
    You are young and happy Samantha your whole life ahead of you – be free and safe and don’t let them worry you about having cancer in your private place your entire lovely life.
    The women on this site are all here for you. We want nothing from you other than to know you are safe from this unwanted medical intrusion.
    X

    • Also Samantha. HPV testing is the thing if the future. At the moment its a thing tacked on to a smear test to check for the virus. The technology exists for it to be done through a blood test or even urine but the powers that be at the moment are deliberately stamping all over this to protect the smear test programme. In Britain there are approx 100 000 involved in the smear test industry thats alot of jobs to suddenly go all in one day.
      The World Health Org say that HPV tesrs could possibly wait to be admined until a woman is 30 or 40 even so if you are worried ypu could wait but in all honesty i doubt you have this virus.

      • I really know this is easier said than done but my advice would be to stand firm. I used to spend my time in the waiting room of the docs dreading the potential questioning I might get.. I used to get really nervous and think about how I would respond if I was put on the spot but now, it makes me godamn angry that I even feel this way and it used to make me rage because in the wisdom of my youth, I used to think men would never have to endure this, but then again, not for nothing, do men have a reputation for avoiding docs like the plague.

        As well as standing firm (even if you’re cowering inside), give them minimal information such as, “I have made an informed decision not to screen”. This should theoretically limit the opportunity for getting into a lengthy debate with your GP as she may try to question your info/ sources. Just state, “I’ve read the research from the BMJ/ Lancet on screening and based on an evaluation of all the evidence, I have decided not to screen”. End of discussion. Print a screen shot from the Cervical screening website if needs be abd highlight the bit where it states “screening is a choice”.

        If this does not work, remind her of the law – she requires your consent to conduct this procedure. Without it, any attempt to get you to screen could amount to coercion and harassment. Anything beyond that, we could possibly be looking at assault and battery in civil law. If she hassles you or the nurses do – document EVERYTHING.

        If you need any more advice, drop another comment. I was away on a lengthy hiatus from this site but I’ve changed my email address now and re-registered here with it so should receive all the updates from this site regularly.

      • Hi Kat. I think its important also you changed the power dynamic in the room. For too long docs have behaved like Gods over women. It must have been a shock for him when you stood your ground. If more of us do this then soon it will be better for those younger ones coming along. Kudos to you Kat. I am going to scour the internet today for research. I hope to begin an article ‘medical rape – a new paradigm.’ I thought maybe we could aim for June. What do you think?

  12. Hi. Samantha welcome! Lindas right! You don’t ever have to have a smear test.. Some of the women on this site has never had them and they’re now in late 50s. I’m nearly 52 and it’s been nearly16 years since my last test. I’m still alive and kicking! If your doc likens a smear to sex I bet they’re single! The doctors receive a bonus payment if they get around 80% of the women on the books to screen. I walked out of my last test and thought never again! Please don’t be like me! Hope you heal really soon x

    • Hi kat.. its fantastic isn’t it? Something is really going on with women out there. Its like suddenly everyone is having the veil lifted from over their eyes. They’re looking for answers. Imagine a ‘medical man’ saying smear tests are like having sex. Who is this stupid man? How has he been allowed to practice medicine? There is no depth too low these decrepid beings will not sink to get women to submit. They are losing – we are winning I feel it in the air.

      • Thank you all. The doctor was a women funnily enough. She said if I felt that badly then wait until my anxiety gets better and try again In a year. The anxiety of having a smear test will never go away. It doesn’t help with it spread all over the internet and tv all the time. It seems they choose the most horrid story to make women go for their tests. For example, a 25 year old woman who finds out she has terminal cancer from her first smear test, and that she’s leaving her 2 little boys. Its making me ill thinking about it all. I cant sleep, keep on thinking I’m going to leave my children and husband if I don’t have a test! Lets just hope I get stronger because at the moment I’m not. Samantha.

      • If he would have told me that pelvic exams were just like sex, I would have said “you’re right, and why would I want to have sex with you? Stay out of my vagina and stay out of my bedroom, jerk!”

  13. Hi Samantha. I have days when I am not strong. We all do. A lot of times I read about women who don’t want smears because they were assaulted – you don’t have to be assaulted to not want smears. I haven’t been and I don’t want them. I am surprised a woman doctor said its just like having sex. This was done to patronise you and i’m glad you see it for what it is. You are a young woman out looking for real anwers that is why you found us. The internet is awash with the horrors women have endured and they just keep on ignoring us. I can not tell you the amount of times my comments have been rdmoved from sites.
    I was a young shy virgin when I married my husband but that didn’t stop them from making me have smears. I should have been left alone and so should you be. I often look back over things fuming with anger and a feeling they got away with raping me. I don’t want other women to feel this way. If you have read my previous posts then you know I am committed to protecting those I see as our younger sisters.
    Be strong! X

    • I know this has been said before but my instinct always told me that there was something very wrong with pap smears. s the nature of the screening the stirrups used hear in the US the way woman are told they have to have them. It seems like rape. And the no birth control until u have a pap smear is barbaric. It blows my mind this cray screening is still taking place in 2016. Absolutely disturbing in my book.

      • Yes I agree. A gentleman on the male gynecologists forum said the same thing. He couldn’t believe this procedure, the set-up in the doc’s room, the implements and the coercion were all “accidental”. Moreover, he couldn’t believe how so many women have been conned into this throughout their adult lives and have even paid for the “privilege”.

  14. Samantha, sadly people will always get illnesses at odd /young ages, my 19 year old was diagnosed very young with arthritis. She’s the exception though as are the young terminal cases of cc. A lot of the campaigns and posters and advertising to increase smear uptake are based on scare mongering however. Do your own research and make a decision you’re comfortable with.
    Linda yes you’re right! I hope this tide is turning! Slowly word does seem to be getting out! Wonder what it means for their programme!!

  15. Your replies have made me feel the least anxious I’ve felt in a week. I’ve searched many things to do with these tests lately and didn’t realise how many women do actually want to opt out. I’ve read that cervical screening could actually do more harm to the cervix than good. With the constant probing, not to mention the effect it has on a woman’s mental state. The female doctor was definitely patronising,like I was a little girl. Was asking me why don’t I like it? Have I been abused before? The answer is no but my.mum was at the age of 13. But what has that got to do with them? What women would like that sort of procedure, abused or not? Yes there are cases of cc and that is what they focus on and make public, not all the false positives they give.

    • Hi Samantha,
      Why the hell wouldn’t you have problems with strangers touching you down there? Isn’t that supposed to be a private part, to be shared only with someone you care for? (or at least fancy?) Isn’t that what we’re taught when we’re young?

      It’s the medical profession who have the attitude problem – especially that patronising GP.
      Yes, it’s just like sex. Except you don’t have get the dinner & movie, foreplay, arousal and enjoyment. And your womb gets scraped with a stick. Apart from that, it’s just like sex! *snort*.

      The cervical scrape is an ancient, unreliable test which has never been clinically proven to work. There seems to be a great deal of guesswork and very little science involved – frankly, I’m amazed that anyone benefits at all from this awful program. I’m sure some do, but I’m also sure that a great many more are harmed emotionally as well as physically, and that is simply unacceptable. Not to mention the huge amounts of funding and resources the program gobbles up, which could be put to better use in our struggling NHS. This isn’t about saving lives, it’s about politics and greed.
      If *they* cared about the health and wellbeing of women, this test would have been replaced with something far better a long time ago.

      You mention the media… isn’t it strange that, considering how rare CC is in women under 35, every woman who features in these scare stories is an attractive young woman in her twenties, usually with a cute baby/toddler? Never a woman like me – middle-aged bat with a face like a smacked arse. No adorable cherubs to sit on my lap for the photos either.
      The story either centres on how this woman was ‘saved’ by a smear or has developed cancer because she was denied one…
      Now, fact is, the type of CC which develops in the youngest women is almost impossible to detect with a smear, so these rare cases would not be prevented with regular testing.
      And the majority of women who believe they have ben ‘saved’ have been overdiagnosed and overtreated and don’t know it. Most of the journalists who write these articles couldn’t find their own arse with both hands, let alone do any medical research of their own. All they do is repeat what they’ve been told by the screening enthusiasts.
      Oh yes, we are always told how many lives are ‘saved’ by the test, but you never hear about the damage caused by false positives, and rarely hear of false negatives. This is where the test fails to pick up genuine problems – the woman can have many years of testing yet still develop cancer. This thorny little issue is kept quiet, so the public believes it’s a rare occurrence when it’s actually a common problem.

      One more thing: I’m guessing you didn’t read the Danielle Watson story. This young woman conned thousands of pounds out of her friends & family by claiming she had terminal cervical cancer, even appearing in local media. Just goes to show how ignorant people truly are if they can be so easily fooled, and I wonder how many of the stories we see in the papers are actually true.

      • Kate, that’s so funny, I’ve noticed they sometimes use young women in breast screening campaigns too. (women who wouldn’t be “invited” for screening)
        There was also an older male doctor on you tube a few years back demonstrating how to do a proper breast exam. This concerned doc selected a young woman for the breast exam, he claimed he wanted to make the point that young women get breast cancer too.
        I felt it was transparently about him…routine breast exams and breast self-exams were no longer recommended at that time, in young or older women, that point must have passed him by…

      • Yes they seem to like to scare you into having a test with the media. And me being anxious as it is, makes things a lot worse for me mentally. Why cant they come up with an easier solution? Self testing or something? I sometimes think to myself, why cant I just go in there and get on with it,like alot of women would,but then think why should I? If these facts and statistics are true then why aren’t more women against it? X

      • Agreed – if they cared about women, they wouldn’t think that the only health problems likely to threaten women’s lives involves just the breasts and cervix (doesn’t this fact in itself speak VOLUMES?!). Even a lady I work with (who I recently challenged regarding this issue) who works in some capacity promoting public health, stated that in her opinion, cervical smears were the most important test for all females (arrgh – keeping my cool was a task in itself believe me). The most important?! Can you believe this?! A disease which the average woman has just 0.58 – 0.76% of getting (and which only reduces to around 0.35% WITH screening)?!

        If we were ever going to have screening for anything at all, how about screening for conditions that are far more common and threatening to women (and men’s) lives??

        Why not screen for depression, diabetes, angina and heart disease?? How does cervical cancer beat all these in terms of importance exactly?!

    • Good grief – the GP asking why someone wouldn’t like to have a smear?? 😯 Good Lord, what a bizarre (not to mention, dumb) thing to say. I would’ve thought such a statement would qualify someone for a referral of some kind.. 😮

    • I’m from the US and I have had my share of scare tactics and being scolded by a nurse when I was 24 for not having a date to fill in for a PSP I had never had. Back thin it was 18 in the states and any age if u wanted the pill.

      • I’m 31 now and never had a pap smear. Makes no logical since to put every woman thru sushi a invasive exam for a rare cancer. Don’t let them scare u .

    • They’re trying to “gaslight” you (discredit you to yourself). This is to “kick the chair out from under your decisions” (disinvigorate your actions- like pulling the “battery” out of what you’re doing). I don’t mean to come off condescending, but it seems this sort of thing is not common knowledge- even though it’s apparently a very common situation.

      If they give you shit like that again, try telling them: “It’s antagonistic to my alignment.” When they start asking why, you might say: “I don’t need any “volitional funding” from you, so why try to audit my comportment?” If they CONTINUE to bust your chops, you might outright tell them: “You’re not the actuator of my agency.”

      Most of their bullshit revolves around the idea that when they do something, it doesn’t “count” as reality- so they’re not capable of being culpable. This is not accurate & shows an implied disconnection with reality or simple malice with a cover that’s deliberately confusing BECAUSE it doesn’t make sense.

  16. Hi Samantha. There are many women on this site who refuse smears for one reason or another. Ada and Eliz will deffinately take time to respond to you so watch out for them commenting – probably later this evening. They have been championing this cause for many years unlike me who is reasonably new here and they know a lot more than I do. Sue who owns the site also comments from time to time. Not all the women post here everyday unfortunately so you might think the community isn’t is big as it actually is – we even have a few men. Not sure where Alex has gone he’s quiet at the moment. You can chat to us whenever you feel overwhelmed by the pressure to test, as me, Ada, Kat and Eliz seem to check the to see what we are saying at least once a day . You’re quite young and might not be able to stand firm whereas we are older and can handle ourselves. Just spend time reading everything on thus wonderful safe site and learn what you can. X

    • Samantha, why should you go in there and get on with it just because some women do? Are you some women? No! Neither is anyone else. This is what the programme does. Yes some women say they’re fine with it and maybe they are. Good luck to them! We’re not fine with it. The programme say it’s just a test, medical, the smear takers seen it all before, and if you have concerns it’s you at fault. It’s not you at all! Please just get information, and make the decision for the woman called Samantha! X

      • Probably if more women knew the facts, they might not choose to test either. The programme does a very good job of whitewashing the facts while scaring us to screen. There is little information on their leaflets on how to opt out for a reason.. They don’t want us to!

      • Ask most woman why they go? Your not having symptoms. They all say BC “all woman have to”. How naive does that sound.

      • “Because all women have to.” Notice how they don’t seem to notice that an action has to be engaged in order to occur & if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t occur. I’ll bet these same women wouldn’t think getting punched in the face by their husbands is something “women have to have happen.” Wouldn’t think it’s not a broken jaw if the husband does it, either.

        I don’t get that- why is there such (at least in the West, from what I can tell) an adversarial attitude toward “relationship men” (boyfriend, husband, guy they’re sleeping with from time to time) & such suspicion toward THEM, but not toward people that are actually pushing them around & making their own decisions about what goes into her body?

        Not to be condescending, but are women just having a counterphobic reaction to all this? Like Gallows Humor or maybe Stockholm Syndrome? They try to soothe themselves by acting in accordance with a different situation- like a denial situation. You know how people sometimes freak out in disasters or whatever dangerous situation & make decisions that match something that isn’t true, but is what they would prefer. Not wanting to believe that help isn’t coming, so they don’t save themselves- for instance.

        Same deal with mommy or daddy being wrong, or anything similar. The mother or father acts like their kid is an asshole or whatever & they’re not, but the kid doesn’t want to believe that that parent is wrong or even COULD be wrong- so they start thinking badly of themselves. Maybe they even have their general accuracy impacted because of it. I think this happens with the “certified” not being what they hold these people in the esteem of being, as well. Especially since they might figure they might die or have a horrible life without these people actually helping them.

  17. Samantha
    When this program started they knew they’d need to test most women to stand a chance of bringing down the already fairly low incidence and death rate. An unreliable test to screen for an already fairly rare cancer means you’re looking for a few needles in an enormous haystack knowing you’ll have to worry and harm lots to find the few needles.
    That’s why this program was unethical and inappropriate to start with (i’d also say illegal and a violation of our human rights) it couldn’t respect informed consent or they’d never get enough women through the screening machine. Remember they had to justify the huge expense of this program.
    It ended up being worse than that…with consent itself often missing with women being coerced into testing to get the Pill, HRT and pre-natal care. Target payments to GPs put a price on the cervix so many women were bullied and pressured into testing.
    So extending an offer with real information was out, instead the focus was numbers, capturing women…creating a climate where many women would just accept regular testing,”it’s part of being a woman” etc. Censorship ensured any critical comment or real information was kept in the dark.
    So for decades, women only heard one thing…all women must screen! Pap testing saves lives!
    Also, lots of women end up over-treated and some call themselves “survivors”..they’re often fierce promoters of this program.
    The program is also careful with relative and absolute risk, fudge statistics (I think they just make them up, why not? No one challenges them) and they have enormous resources so they can spread the word using the media, “information” leaflets etc.
    This testing is never presented as a choice; we’re starting to hear a bit of talk about choice and informed consent in the UK now but until the approach taken by this program changes, nothing will change…

  18. I know that when cervical screening is mentioned, every woman and doctor I’ve met say, every woman has to do it or its what women have to go through. Until I found this site I thought I had no choice. Now I know that is not the case. I never knew there was an opt out programme in the UK and the way that gps make out that I’ve got to do it for my young girls just angers me. Not the fact that they’d have a mother who cannot function due to the thoughts of smear tests alone. Honestly for a week now I’ve not been able to do anything because I’ve been mentally drained thinking about it all. (it was cervical cancer awareness week so it was plastered everywhere).I even booked an appointment for a smear test it got to me that much! I then found this site and cancelled. So thank you. X

    • That was the intention…to make women feel they must or should screen, to take away choice, deny them informed consent (even consent itself) The language used is always “must” or “should”, never extending an offer…
      They got away with it for decades, that’s starting to change…
      You’re not alone, Samantha, there are women in their 50s who thought this testing was mandatory, a law etc. but these same women probably consider bowel screening a choice…(bowel cancer occurs more often than cc)
      http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/lifetime-risk#heading-One

      Bowel cancer – lifetime risk (UK) 7.27% (1 in 19 people)
      Cervix cancer – 0.76% (1 in 133 women)

      How many women do you know who greatly fear bowel cancer?
      Cervical cancer? I think women have been trained to greatly fear a small risk, a fairly rare cancer. I don’t see anywhere near the same level of concern about bowel screening/cancer, yet it poses a much higher risk.

      Using your girls to manipulate and scare you into testing is unacceptable conduct.
      Given your anxiety, I’m not going to suggest reporting the doctor or even to send them a letter of complaint, but when you’re feeling stronger, it’s something that might make you feel even better.
      One strategy: if the GP starts again, just say, “well, that’s curious, I spoke to someone at the Medical Council and they said screening is elective, my choice, I’m free to accept or decline as I see fit…but you’re saying it’s something every woman must do
      I’ll have to call them back”…then watch for the colour to drain away from the doctor’s face. (some doctors might not react so firmly do they believe they have the right to pressure women into testing)
      Don’t waste any more time worrying about this test, get on with life and to help relieve your worry, do your reading, then you can make an informed decision.

      Honestly…fear, anxiety etc. it all drains away when you become informed and you can challenge anyone trying to coerce you into testing, you won’t feel so vulnerable in the consult room. Doctors only do it because they get away with it, when something changes, so does the power dynamic and they’ll leave you alone.

      Keeping the evidence from us means most women don’t feel they can fight back, challenge, refuse, that changes when you get to the evidence and that’s why this program and the medical profession are so concerned about real information starting to circulate and reach more women. This WILL make it harder to reach targets and just push women into screening. Some women have a closed mind, they’ll refuse to believe anything other than the screening “story”, but more women are prepared to listen..that spells trouble for this program.

      • Have recently got hold of the book:
        “Screening -evidence and practice” by Angela Raffle and Muir Gray, 2007. Page 229 gives a table showing how the more frequently you have a smear test, the more your odds of getting a false positive test result. They are as follows:
        Smear every 10 years = 15% risk of false positive
        Smear every 5 years = 30% risk of false positive
        Smear every 3 years = 50% risk of false positive
        Smear every 2 years = 75% risk of false positive
        Smear every 1 year = 100% risk of false positive

        However, I have to say that after having waited to get hold of this book for so long, I am disappointed that public objections to screening are totally absent from the book. They both write at length about how the public are “all totally in favour of screening”, and simply gagging for every screen that’s going. There is no mention at all of those who have made an informed decision to opt out. In a section entitled “Does overtreatment matter if individuals are happy” they cite the story of

        “a woman whose entire life is dominated by severe intractable pain following prophylactic mastectomy and failed reconstructive surgery for carcinoma in situ. The distinct possiblilty that this pre-cancerous condition would never have caused her a problem and that her suffering is entirely a medically induced harm never even crosses the patient’s mind, or, if it has then she has quickly dismissed it.”

        Has it never crossed Raffle’s or Gray’s minds, that this woman may have been forced into years of propaganda, misinformation and bullying, leading her to think it was compulsory to go for the mammogram that left this woman with pain and mutilation for the rest of her life.
        Perhaps, they did, but they have quickly dismissed it?

  19. Yes Samantha. I’m so glad you freed yourself so young. Live your lovely young life free of forced genital exams. I look back over mine with sadness and anger. Its not just a simple quick procedure, its hurts, a nurse acted very innapropriately to me, and i’m sure one caused a miscarriage. When you go to the doctors from now on, as there will be occasions in your life when you have to, just remember to keep your underwear in place. Don’t be tempted to give away your bodily integrity away on someone else’s whim. I assure you it will hurt your soul.
    I’m still glowing with pride for you that you didn’t just accept the retoric and went looking for anwers for yourself. You are one of a very special herd of women now. You have the potential to be a champion for women’s rights. Grow strong and knowledgable.

    • Not to nit-pick your words, Linda, but “pack” might be better than “herd.” Try the words out for yourself & it’ll kind of be obvious why. Not for nothing, but they DO have a way of treating people that can’t fire them or easily kill them with immunity like herds of cattle or sheep.

      • Hi Alex. Yes pack is better than herd. A bunch of cows we are not! I think its better to think of us running as a pack. Like wolves. And we have fangs.

        Hi Samantha. I’m just outside of St Helens. We have some of the lowest rates of screening in the country.

        I’m still very pleased you found us. I’m 51 and I know you are about 25. It must anger you to know that even before you were born the powers that be had already colluded that one day you would begin a programme of 14 unwanted genital exams (the minimum) Just because you were born female. Meanwhile, nobody would dream of telling your Male partner that someone wanted to visually inspect and scrape the end of his penis every three years. He is much more likely to get this cancer than you are to get CC yet YOU are the one that is expected to put up with this.

        Because I was born in the 60’s I belong to the first ‘cohort’ of women that were going to be forced to have these exams. No doctor gave a damn about the long term psychological effect of this unwanted intrusion in our bodies. From what I read on the internet some young girls love having them. They should have profiled us more carefully and told us it was a choice. I don’t trust doctors and now view them as potential rapists.

        Before I succombed to mental health problems I was a teacher in a local 6th form for many years teaching history and sociology. I looked around and worried what was instore for the girls. Unlike many people I don’t see the young as ‘complete nightmare only interested in looking at their phones’ ‘ I know how hard young lives are and I know they are mostly innocent. When I know someone young who has seen the truth I am so happy.
        Please tell you Mum about us.
        X

  20. Long-time lurker here, I wanted to step out and say THANK YOU for continuing to put this information out there and keep this blog running. I’ve refused every single invitation that snuck through my letter box, ignored every phone call and brushed off every “YOU SHOULD GO” comment from those who think they know best because Jade Fucking Goody / their friend’s sister’s auntie ignored it too AND SHE DIED. Please, I have a higher risk of dying from rolling my eyes too hard into my head.

    • Beautiful! I wonder how many women died from having surgery over the years? Or from using pills? Maybe suicide from grief- miscarriages are rough, from what I’ve heard.

      Or just from simple murder? Yet, if you try to have a gun & a knife never mind use either to protect yourself, that’s not generally met with the same degree of approval. Never got why, as people always make such a big display of how much they support someone defending themselves & how much they’re against rape in any form.

      Definitely don’t think they’d get as pushy as they do if the woman had a license to kill & the means to do so!

      • Btw Linda have you heard any more about your opt out form you sent off? I remember your last “invitation ” said you were “due ” around now x

    • Except Jade Goody didn’t ignore it – she got regularly tested from the age of 16. It was the summons to colposcopy she ignored, and that was only because she’s had enough of the testing/treatment merry go-round. If anything, her case proves what a load of crap this test and program is.

      • Jade also had an adenocarcinoma, an even rarer type of cc usually missed by smear tests, so to use her case to scare young women into smear tests is unethical…more dishonesty, more misinformation.

  21. Sorry to hear that Linda. I’ve seen a few posts elsewhere that say they miscarried because of it as well. Where are you all from by the way? It will be interesting to know how many are in the UK where I am. I still can’t believe I’ve actually found women in the UK that refuse smear tests. I thought I was the only one. Something’s got to change if more women are refusing them or not turning up. X

      • Hi katrehman! I’m on the edge of Cornwall near Plymouth! Glad to hear there are women in the UK with the same mind as me. Although I was wondering does anyone here actually worry about getting ill? I cant stop thinking at the moment that because I refuse smears I’m going to ( or already am) get cancer! I cant live my life properly right now.

      • Hi Kat. I sent the opt out form ages ago. It was the one Ada posted the link to. I haven’t heard anything more yet. I hope you aren’t being hassled either. X

    • Samantha, think about it logically. Why do you think that we see a steady stream of scare stories in the media, that we are constantly reminded of the *importance* of this god-awful test, that we now have ‘cervical cancer awareness/prevention’ weeks?
      It’s because a significant number of women do not test. We may be in the minority, but there were a large number of women refusing the test right from the start.
      That’s why the government introduced targets and incentives for GP’s so they would bully us into submission and achieve the high rates needed to make the program (and the half-wit politicians who approved this crap) look good.
      Now the participation rates are in decline, the powers-that-be are going into panic mode and doing everything they can to scare us into submission.
      It may be that since the national press finally revealed – shock, horror! – that women might be subjected to cancer treatment they do not need as a result of breast screening (something the people running the program have known about for decades, btw), that the general public is slowly becoming aware that screening has its downsides and perhaps, hopefully, is a little more wary of these *life saving* tests. The breast screening rates are falling, cervical screening rates are falling, and bowel screening participation rates are fairly low.
      I think also the relentless and increasingly desperate campaigns (Crying child poster? Smear for a smear? NHS video with those girls prancing around a shopping centre in their undies?) to convince us naughty girls to comply with orders may be having the opposite effect on those of us who are strong-willed, since they can’t seem to come up with anything that isn’t misleading, patronising or plain offensive.

      • Samantha the stats from cancer research tell us we have a 0.65%chance of getting cc. Bowel cancer is 7%. Personally I don’t think about cc at all. It’s about a 1in 139 chance of contracting cc. I actually have existing medical problems that bother me far more than my cervix. Actually I’m more worried about breast cancer, but the screening programme for that doesn’t impress me either and I recently declined my first “invitation “) which was a pre booked appointment!!)
        Remember. The programme WANTS you to panic over cc and go for your smear. That’s how it works?!

      • Indeed. Only 63% of women aged 25-29 screened in 2014. Could be lower still now.

        Those women commenting in right wing publications (you know the sort – don’t like women working, don’t like women who don’t breastfeed, don’t like women who don’t have natural births, don’t like women who don’t have smears) like the Daily Mail infuriate me and are a huge part of the problem. The same type of women who no doubt refused to support the Suffragettes when they were fighting for the right to vote. Darn zealots.

    • Hi Samantha, I’m near the beach on the south coast of England. It is wonderful that this site provides such a safe haven for us, but a little sad it is so far from home. Many people have found that the NHS deletes posts which show the screening programme in a bad light. I try to dig out any interesting documents I find and post them when I can. Have you also checked out Margaret McCartney’s blog on screening. It is on the References section of this website.

      • Yes I’ve looked Margaret McCartney up before. Is she the only known gp with the same views as us? There’s a couple more women everyday I hear they don’t have smears for one reason or another, but most women will still say that you’re taking a risk on your life if you don’t. X

      • http://grassrootsgp.org/

        Grassroots GPs is a GP group, which is against over diagnosis and for patient-centred care. They are against vested interests running our healthcare. Also Sense about Science is another group aiming to educate the public about the limitations and truths about our screening tests.
        They have produced a booklet called “Sense about Screening” which you can download for free, but I’m unable to get a link to work here.

  22. Been following this site and others for a while now, but just reading. I love that I am not alone any more and have taken back my ability to choose for myself. Long story but after going through the system of being a good girl and going along for my smears every 3 years, having 3 fabulous pregnancies and births and kids by the way then about a year after my 3rd child was born, in 1996 out of the blue an abnormal result, then another, then various tests, prob over treatment for CIN 11 with loop under a general anaesthetic because I was diagnosed in my early twenties with generalised anxiety disorder so “they” thought it best because I was so traumatised because they had just about said if I don’t have the treatment then I would go on to develop cancer OMG. All in toll I had 4 years of misery, tests, treatment etc as well as the demise in my mental health and a complete breakdown in 2000 which took a long time without medication to get back to some form of normality(waffling sorry). So in 2004 after several more tests and all being normal I decided that’s it I cant take it any more and looked up the statistics and used my own common sense etc, i.e. my grandmothers never had tests and lived till well in their 90’s, my mother has never had a test she is 70 and so on. I became pregnant in 2007 had a miscarriage 10 weeks later, and all they kept saying was you should’ve probably had a smear before you got pregnant could be that, I then became pregnant again early 2009 and once again miscarriage at 14 weeks, I was devastated, I know for a fact its because of the overtreatment as I had a healthy unscarred complete cervix before and now I don’t. Anyway after 10 + years of not going to the doctors for anything apart from pregnancies and having lots of letters saying I MUST attend especially with my HISTORY. I did go along to my GP with what I knew was early pre menopausal symptoms as id kept a diary for 9 months but wanted to be sure, she had me and scared me so much that it could be CC that when I gave her permission to have a “look” down their she gasped said oh dear you have an awfully red inflamed cervix not sure what that is, oh and you have a funny looking cervix, sent me to hospital asap, you can imagine with my GAD how scared I was. My poor daughter had to hold my hand, comfort me like a baby, hoax me to get on the table so they could have a rummage around with a ultrasound and internal scan. Everything was “perfect” looked very healthy all my lady parts, oh apart from I have an ectropion cervix and an awfully nasty scar from the loop, they then said while your hear we’ll do a smear and did it because I was so traumatised to even speak by this time, because of GAD they did get the results to me in 2 days which I thank them for, which surprise surprise were normal, that was 18 months ago and now I’m feeling stronger and want to take back my choice when the letter arrived on the mat saying “because of my history” I should have yearly smears, OMG I’m sorry but for my own sanity and so I don’t die from stress before CC I am not getting into this continual nightmare again. Sorry for the long story but its been a long time coming and this is a big deal for me, sharing with people, but all of you people although I don’t know you all personally resonate and I know empathise with me. Thank you for this site. Knowledge is key and power always. Dee

    • Hi Dee Dear. I’m so glad you found us. Your account is deff not rambling. It is a true account of your awful experiences at the hands of people you should have been able to trust. I’m very sorry this happened to you. It’s great you are strong enough to share it here and I feel honoured to have read it. Every woman’s account of this terrible human rights abuse is important and must be told.

      Its happened to so many women but the machine keeps rolling on harming more and more of us. Cervical cancer is rare and even if it was rampant no one should have been given the power to decide that every women would be intimidated into allowing these stupid practice nurses to keep opening up our most private and sacred to look for it all our entire adult life. It should always have been presented as a choice. Its morally reprensible. I’m not afraid of accusing these peopke of rape.

      Everyday more women are breaking free of the tyranny of forced and unwanted lifelong genital exams (14 minimum if you are a brit) (26 if you are Aust) (48 if you are American) This terrible episode will go down in history as a period of shameful abuse that doctors commited against us. No other cohort of women in the whole of history has been to subjected to so much molestation as women have in the past forty years or so. No long term studies have been done on the mental health of women being subjected to this.

      It’s the sort of healthcare programme we should have expected had Hitler’s Nazis won the war.

      However, you are not free totally. It is only a matter of time before they start on you again to have them. Your GP gets paid by the government to keep forcing these on you. They will not let you go eadily.

      Because you have decided not to put up with this treatment anymore so you will need to be strong. I grew strong reading the articles and posts on this site and I suggest you do this too. You will need to educate yourself so you can stand your own in the consult room. We are all here for you. Please feel free to join are lively conversation. I assure you – you are totally welcome here.
      X

      • Reading your comment, I have always questioned why this rise in sexual monitoring of women (let’s face it, that’s what it is) coincided with a time when ironically, women were being increasingly liberated in other areas of life – such as better opportunities in education, better pay, rights to work, right to be free of sexual harrassment etc etc. I often read of some men who find out what the annual gynae exams their wives have been attending actually entails, and are flabbergasted at the extent their wives have been exploited and manipulated, often finding it incredulous that this is happening in the 21st century, especially as most gynaecologists in the US until very recently were male.

        Why has this sexual monitoring flared up in the last 40 years? I think 1.) This was instigated by a patriarchal culture within the medical profession (as women weren’t allowed to practice medicine), and 2.) after the advent of the pill and so-called “sexual revolution”, this practice might have been seized upon as opportunistic. Maybe I’m thinking tok much but I’ve often wondered that males who practice gynaecology (as opposed to all men by the way) might be a peculiar lot with strange ideas about women and their bodies who went into the profession for morally corrupt reasons (well, most anyway).
        Could it be that their strange ideas about women went so far as to feel contempt and resentment towards them for achieving more and more equality (both in the workplace and domestically)?

        Perhaps they felt they were justified in curtailing that “sexual revolution” by essentially putting a price on their access to the pill (which without the access of, would limit their educational and professional attainments as well as limit their rights to exercise control over their own fertility) and that price was the submission to pelvics, paps and breast exams. Perhaps as well as allowing men in this era to exploit women, it also enabled them to control them in other areas (because they could withhold the pill (perhaps the key to womens social advancement at this time) unless they submitted to their demands. I think there’s potential in this theory, seeing as the medical profession in the fifties and sixties (when smears started to become “all the rage”) was very much male dominated and over time, I think this culture is gradually changing with the admission of more and more women into the medical profession.

    • Dee, a cervical ectopy is a harmless hormonal condition, most likely triggered in your case by the peri-menopause. It is very common – I had one back in my late twenties and I’ve had two friends who’ve been diagnosed with the condition too. Unfortunately, I trusted the doctors and went along with *treatment* which has left me with problems, one of my friends had cryotherapy for it, the other friend was also urged by her GP to have surgery but I convinced her to wait and, surprise surprise, it disappeared all on its own.
      Just another example of greedy doctors butchering our bodies for no good reason.
      Anyway, I find it hard to believe that your GP didn’t recognise what she was looking at – an experienced GP will have seen lots of ectopies in their time – just goes to show that these people aren’t quite the experts they’d like us to believe.
      Hospital staff are as just as obsessed with this test as GP’s, forcing it on every underscreened woman at every opportunity – I guess that’s more about protecting themselves from litigation than anything else, but one thing’s for sure, they should NOT have done the test. If you didn’t give consent to the test in the first place then they took advantage of you, and most importantly, a cervical ectopy is one of the many conditions which can trigger an *abnormal* result (as it did in my case) and you know what would have happened next.
      This obsession with *prevention* seems to be lowering the IQ of the medical profession. What the hell do they think they’re playing at?

  23. Samantha, Dee and Rei, welcome to our group of mavericks. We believe in researching and deciding for ourselves what we want to do with our own bodies. Many, if not all of us have had disturbing and distressing encounters with the medical profession and we can empathise with your experiences.
    Linda, I hope you are feeling better now and kudos to you for your excellent work on the online book. I recently received another ‘invitation’ for screening even though I sent my doctor a letter requesting to be removed from the programme. It seems informed consent is meaningless to them if you’re a woman. It irks me that they are using NHS resources to pester someone who has clearly decided not to participate.

    • Chrissy
      I’d send the “invitation” back to the surgery and remind them that informed consent apparently matters in the UK…according to the Medical Council and Anne Mackie.
      If they’re unable to remove you from the call-up list, you’ll have to seek some further guidance from Anne Mackie.
      I think some of these surgeries choose to ignore women, hoping you’ll give up and keep testing…once they know that practice can backfire, they will hopefully start respecting our legal rights and wishes.
      I find it outrageous they send women pre-arranged invitations for breast screening and the woman is expected to call and cancel the appt. I know quite a few women who just tossed it in the bin, I didn’t make the appt, why should I cancel it? Exactly..
      How can they possibly argue informed consent is respected when they’re making appts for us (we didn’t request) and ignoring requests to be removed from screening records.

      As I said to Anne Mackie, we can “say” what we like, words are cheap, but the actions of the medical profession and others say it’s business as usual, women still have a target plastered (and a price on) on their backs (or should I say cervix and breasts)
      The current talk about informed consent is probably no more than damage control, a way of appeasing informed women, and it offers a bit of protection too…if the issue really hits the media at some point in the future, they can point to Anne Mackie and the programs “concern” for women and informed consent.

    • I wonder if there are any grounds to make a complaint (or at least threaten them with one) against your GP and/ or the “screening” jobsworths? It is technically harrassment.

  24. Hi Everyone:

    I’ve been reading the – very heart rendering, intelligent,supportive,educational comments on this site now, for about 2 years. Thank you, Sue. Thank you to all of you brave women – and Alex – the lone male champion on this site – who have taken up the fight to end this outrage. This site and other sites like yours (“Medical Patient Modesty,” “Women Against Stirrups;” ” Topix – How Do Husbands Feel About Male Gynecologists”) – have opened my eyes to a “world” that I didn’t know about. I came upon your site after doing research on women’s health. I’ve had a male GP for a very long time now and he’s very good, so I’m not against male doctors. However, they should’ve never stepped foot into the ob/gyn (male ob’s are another story…..) field and instead handed it over to up and coming women doctors. Their intentions are now clear and it’s – disgusting. Up until now I thought I knew enough. Once I started reading this site and other sites, I felt like Helen Keller at the pump scene in the “Miracle Worker” when she learned the word “water.” Once your site opened my eyes to the truth, like Helen, I wouldn’t rest and wanted to know everything about this “world.” I’ve stayed up for hours some nights just reading and reading. I feel like I’ve been saved – because I have – and thank you. I always knew that the gynecology industry was suspect. Not until reading so so much information have I been so devastated to find that it is just plain wrong; they are legally raping women by withholding evidence that would change their minds on the spot. And then there are the nonconsensual pelvic exams which are rape. These doctors think like date rapists with the date rape pill Rohypnol. They wait until their patients are unconscious by- not Rohypnol, but by anesthesia to let who knows how many residents and students go and violate these unconscious women. The invasive exams must stop and they know it, but as you’ve all so eloquently stated, their having too much fun with money, power, and pleasure.

    The exploitation of women’s bodies in the medical industry – which is supposed to be the last bastion of decency for the human body – must stop. It really hurts that our sexually charged society has made it’s way into the most sacrosanct practice on earth – the practice of caring for and saving lives. It doesn’t stop in the gynecologists’ offices. Urogynocologists use the pelvic exam and rectal exam to so called “diagnose” incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. You have to see some of the condescending sites for the private offices.They compare the women’s area to a car…they say that a mechanic has to check under the hood of the car to find the problem…so the urogynocologists contend they have to touch and feel up the women’s private areas in order to “diagnose.” However, it’s a useless and invasive exam….as in the gynecologists’ offices, because they can’t diagnose without an MRI or CT scan. Why not just have the scan or MRI? They justify molesting women in order to give them a pamphlet and a pessary(?!) Invitro Fertilization specialists are largely male – no surprise. Having unconscious woman with legs in the air in stirrups, at their mercy for impregnation must be almost too much to bear. Women desperate to have children are basically are turned into whores for that procedure – which include many, many pelvic and transvaginal exams. That is also a field that should only have women doctors. And who is the arrogant perverted doctor that invented the transvaginal exam? It shows the same thing as an abdominal, but from a different angle. There are medical shows on TV now that show patients being “cared for” in the ER in real time (not re-enactments). I’ve notice that they leave the younger attractive women exposed longer (parts get scrambled for legal reasons….) when they’re unconscious and cover them up very quickly when consciousness and movement are regained or their families rush in. They waste no time covering the men, though. This isn’t for when they work on their chest to do CPR, this is for when they come in with neck and leg injuries..no bleeding…what do their naked breasts have to do with their neck or leg; why aren’t they covered immediately after their clothes are cut off… One did a transvaginal exam on a woman instead of the abdominal…guess that machine just happened to not be available that day.

    There are childbirth shows that show the business end of a women’s body giving birth. Of course for legal reasons they scramble the area, but very lightly. Anyone can still see what they’re looking at. I checked – the cameras are operated by men – men who have no business in the delivery room doing a tv show. They prey on desperate women (and their significant others) who need the money, who allow themselves to be seen like that. I must’ve missed the date, but when did the ER and maternity wards become T&A displays for doctors? Why are decency and respect of the patient ignored because they’ve “seen it all”…on unconscious women who didn’t have a say, however. Plenty of male residents in the ER. From sites I’ve read, based on comments by nurses…those cervical checks aren’t necessary for laboring women and can and do introduce germs, and are nothing other than a pelvic – bimanual exam…and many mothers regret not speaking up. It seems male nurses are clamoring to get into the maternity wards because they can be “professional” there – and feel discriminated against. That is preposterous. why not clamor to get into the cardiac units and geriatric wards – and male urologists’ offices, instead?

    Please excuse me for going on, but this has been on my chest for a long time. Please excuse me if I overshared. I hope that the fight that you’ve started and continue to wage results in blessed changes – in the delivery room and the gynecologists office – including the banning of all male gynecologists, male ob/gyn’s and male nurses in the delivery room; self-swabbing instead of the speculumn and informed consent becoming the law of the land by Federal law.

    Thanks so much. Please keep posting. Keep up the good fight. Be blessed.

  25. hi these women are always under 25 and it’s the same old story I was to young for a smear test.They are so determined to get the age lowered.I’ve noticed it’s not just the daily mail it’s in a lot of the paper’s.How much longer are they going to keep on and on about this bloody test. sorry but it drive’s me mad.

    • Yes they are but good news is this age will probably not be lowered anytime soon or ever. Scotland and Wales have followed England’s lead (although why it’s taken ten years is beyond me). Furthermore, Australia will also follow suit next year and I’ve read promising reports of some places in US states trialling prescribing the pill online, start to respect informed consent and rational debate about the efficacy of cervical screening and reduce the incidence of screening on those still taking part (California was one such state I believe).

      Although raising the age of screening is not exactly a defeat for the programme – it is a start though. I noticed real and critical debate about cervical screening really began in earnest when the age was raised. The inevitable cries were “why” which then led to some subtle acknowledgements of the prospect of causing more harm than good by screening an age group that had been encouraged to screen for decades previously. The sheeple didn’t get it – just demanding that the age be lowered again. The more savvy of us figured out “well, they’ve been telling us all to be screened from 15 and now they’re telling us this test is no longer effective at screening for cancer in this age group. Hmmm, why’s this? How effective is this test exactly?”. I feel this has been a big part of why we are now at the point we are – also, I think charities and professionals like the idea of young kids being screened annually – 15 year olds are probably more easily intimidated (especially if they want access to the pill) and it “indoctrinates” them to the point that when they reach 20 years of age, they think, “smears are still horrible but I and all my friends have been gaving them since we were 16. It is just something we have to do”.
      A 25 year old starting the screening programme for the first time may not be as intimidated, may be more prepared to question, stand up for themselves and they’ll be more likely to have real life experience and a university-education under their belt. I really believe that this is a major factor as to the opposition to the screening age being set at 25 and why some vested interests want that age lowered sooner rather than later.
      It shows in the screening rates which are at an all time low in the UK apparently, with the lowest take-up in the (you guessed it) 25 – 29 age group (63% – if it falls even lower than that, they won’t be able to justify that screening programme for much longer).

      Yes, I agree that these articles are also in other newspapers but I find the Daily Mail most virulent in its insistence on women having to be screened (aling with the female contributors, to the point of being passive-aggressive, confrontational and downright offensive on the matter).
      But for a paper that is largely misogynistic (hates women who work, hates women who don’t give birth naturally, hates women who don’t breastfeed, hates women who don’t have smears (in short, it hates women who have choices)), this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    • I’d also think a woman that’s a bit more “seasoned” in how people might play mind games on her would be a little more aware when someone is trying to hi-jack her & play off of her fears. I notice women are more self-recriminating than men- that seems to play a major role & not just making sure both eyebrows are tweezed evenly.

  26. Torrance: Couldn’t find your other post again, but I just wanted to thank you & say you’re welcome. Besides a few people close to me having various things thrown at them (some things officially considered an issue, some things not), I DO worry about the environment I’d theoretically be starting a family in. Besides, something simply being fucked-up is enough- especially if it’s something serious & prevalent with a favorable environment fostering the occurrence of these things.

    Not for nothing, but this country has a cultural history of fucking people over & saying they were doing everything except that the whole time. Playing victim when blocked from “applying influence” is also a big thing- as if they are the wronged party when someone blocks them from doing something to them. Plus thinking that whatever they come up with is best & that it overrides whatever else someone comes up with because of that (“intellectual negation,” I guess would be the term for it). All this comes together in a worrisome way, especially when money’s involved as an added factor.

  27. On Feb 21 IMustBeSurrounded posed a question as to how electronic reminders are sent – I am posting this at the end of the thread so it’s easier to find.

    From other posts it sounds like they are sending reminders via email. If that is true the solution is quite simple – all you need is their email domain from which the eails are sent. Simply create an email filter that automatically deletes anything sent from their domain – end of problem ladies!

  28. Hello Everyone:

    It’s been a bit since posting. Alooooooot of folks have been commenting and I’ve been catching up on reading them. We have so many good soldiers here. To the new members – Hello and welcome!

    Apocalyptic Queen – your post on February 19th was awesome. I agree with what you’re saying; it’s as if you’ve been reading my mind this week and we haven’t met. You’ve touched on what’s been on my mind – the males in the profession. Female gynecologists are on the rise…can’t wait until the 80% that are currently in medical school for gynecology are out and practicing. I fully believe – fully contend that the eventual takeover of women in gynecology – and of course obstetrics; and all fields where the male doctors exploit women’s bodies for money and pleasure – is the hope of ending all of the exploitation; harrassment for screening; paternalism; sexual abuse; and medical rape of women. I have a male general practitioner – so I’m not against all male doctors – just the ob/gyn perverts.( My GP, who I’ve had for a very long time, now, would never do what a male ob/gyn would do – nor would I let him. ) We can’t just want pap tests out of the gyn’s office; we have to have all invasive exams eliminated from all of these fields that specialize in women. To do so, we have to strive for all male gynecologists and ob/gyn’s to be eliminated from these fields as they never should have been there from the beginning. I mean to include Urogynecologists – who work on women for incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse and IVF specialists. With all of this medical technology, invasive exams (pap smears, colposcopy, sigmoidoscopy, cytology, hysteroscopy, rectal with bimanual, etc.) – simply aren’t necessary – and do not diagnose anything – but they still do it for pleasure and power – and money. The CT scans, CAT scans, and MRI’s combined with self- testing really are the methods in which disorders (if any..we know cc is rare and breast cancer is misdiagnosed at alarming rates) are diagnosed. And even those, should be at the patients’ choice (we all know that). Transvaginals are just perversion (they use a lubricated condommmm on those things) especially when an abdominal shows the exact same thing from another angle. The pervert who invented those had the same idea as Samantha’s doctor (although a suppressed female..)- that it’s just like sex, so the arrogant pervert who invented it figured all women would be coerced into using it.

    You were saying Apocalyptic Queen, that women weren’t allowed to practice medicine before. This is true – women have only significantly entered science in this past late 19th and century and into medicine in the late 20th centuries. This means that if women weren’t pushed out from being in control of childbirth in the beginning – say 200 or so years ago, and the male ob’s hadn’t stepped in, better yet, if women midwife’s had progressed to being Ob/gyn’s, then we wouldn’t have the male paternalism, demands for screening, sexual abuse and medical rape of women in the delivery room or in the ob or ob/gyn’s offices. Men get pleasure and power from being in between women’s legs. I believe if women doctors were in the majority, they would have made/will make this field differently than how the current male doctors at the top of the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) have it today. Women doctors in this field get a bad rap. However, let’s think: they went to school under these male ob/gyn professors – did residencies under them in hospitals; they’re doing what they were taught to do. If anything, they are more aware than we on this site are that there is paternalism – so they feel the pressure to do as the males do with all this push for unnecessary screening or think they will lose their practices. IF they were at the top of ACOG, then I truly believe that all of these ridiculous guidelines and outrageous demands for screening wouldn’t be in place – because there would be no males at the top to implement anything.

    The practicing female gynecologists – if women were in dominance in the field – would not feel pressure to act as the males and deny what they know to be true about their patients’s rights and the faultiness/lies about screening as well as how pelvics are just plain wrong. They would be more likely offer choice if in the majority. Thank the Lord, there are women gynecologists and ob’s who have a heart and soul, and decide – like some of the brave doctors that one of our commentors mentioned – to not do as they have been told and allow women dignity. And I think finding one who is good and understanding – rather than giving up and going to a male ob/gyn is worth it. I’m sorry, but my idea of choice is not about risking being molested by a male (well, you technically are everytime you put your legs in stirrups…..) or go to a female who may not be rough/who may very well be the answer to a woman’s prayers. The women I refer to are the sheeple who still think they have to get screenings; who are still traumatized and lose sleep at night thinking they still have to do these things. If women are in charge of ACOG, then these women doctors would revise these outrageous policies. The sheeple who have been brainwashed will finally be led away from the stirrups – and towards peace of mind. How hard is it to say No? How hard is it to simply not go? If someone on the street (and not in a doctor’s white lab coat) accosts them to have them do something they don’t want to, then their response would be to show how strong they could be and resist. However, they cower in fear over the gyn’s office??? I pray I never come to personally understand this. Please check out “Medical Patient Modesty.” This site has valuable information to arm women regarding their rights for exams and links to actual news articles of male doctors – particularly gynecologists raping and molesting patients. THESE women (out of all the women still afraid of their doctors – who are afraid to opt out of screening…) weren’t afraid to stand up and have their doctors/rapists convicted, but I’m sure were sorry they didn’t choose a female doctor. It’s just not worth the risk to go to a male, especially in our highly sexualized society. Remember, male gynecologists are products of that society.

    We aren’t alone ladies (and Alex). Please check out – “Topix – How Husband’s Feel About Male Gynecologists.” It’s a very long site, with over 100+ pages of men who are as outraged as we are. They definitely see male gynecologists as what they are – perverts. The site started in 2010. Interestingly, most of the latest comments have been from two commentors who won’t lay down their swords – one is on our side – the other insists on getting the word out about female doctors – urologists – molesting males (which I think is payback for all of the male gyno’s in the field……).

    I know I have long posts – please excuse me. I’m just so impassioned – not just about pelvics, et. al, but about this abuse of women in our society – our world – as a whole…and I’m so disgusted – but still hopeful.

    Everyone be blessed.

    • No, not at all. Love reading your post! Feel like I’d like to write up a dissertation or a feminist “critique” of this topic.
      I have indeed read many of the topics on the How Husbands feel about Male Gynecologists page, and am so glad many men see it the same way we do. I don’t feel this is an issue endemic to all men, but men who voluntarily choose to go into this profession and as Alex has stated previously, many people in this profession (males and females) may have sadistic/ masochistic tendencies so I think it is a case of men happening to be sadistic unfortunately entering this “profession”. I think a lot of it has to do with kicks gotten out of controlling women, “monitoring” them, having easy access to view their bodies and easy money.
      As much as many women in this profession can and do behave inappropriately etc. I feel they are operating within what has been for decades a Male-Ob/Gyn domain and they are still operating within the social constructs of that environment.
      However, as endless paps bring in easy money, I wonder how long it will take for the profession to evolve under female leadership?

      • AQ I’m not 100% sure but I think the counselling and mental health act only relates to ppl who are sectioned with mental illness. They can be required forcibly if necessary to co operate with treatment related to the mental illness
        I think you might be judged as competent in other cases even then to make decisions about your physical health.. Say I was sectioned tomorrow, hopefully they would see I’d opted out of screening when I was in my right mind as it were. (0f course they’d probably force a smear on you even though you might threaten to sue them)
        I think you can only be forcibly sectioned if you’re judged a danger to yourself or others or so far gone you can’t care for yourself. Not having a smear is Ok at the moment!
        The counselling requirements I think have no basis in law and are used to coerce the uninformed into going so more pressure can be applied… Linda warned me my doctor might try this so far he hasn’t!!

      • Hmmm.. The only thing is that docs try to manipulate the Mental Health Act.
        One such example (and I know this might not necessarily be applicable as an analogy so I will use it as a stretch) relates to caesareans. I remember reading a number of cases where docs had overruled women to perform what they felt was an immediate intervention to save the life of the baby – all the cases were later ruled as violating the mother’s right to bodily autonomy and integrity by using pregnancy and the conditions of labour itself to try to negate competency to give consent.
        In other cases, docs have even tried to argue that if religious beliefs are so “irrational” as to prevent someone consenting to blood transfusions, then issues as to competency can be raised (it’s worth pointing out that such cases have been overruled by courts though).

        Not saying I agree or disagree with these decisions referred above though but just trying to point out the potential hazards of docs advocating “counselling” for their patients lest it be potentially used as ammunition to argue that a patient is “irrational” for instance. In such cases, I think counselling should be rejected point blank although granted, it would take a VERY zealous GP to try to go down this route.

      • Hi Apocalyptic Queen:

        Hope you’ve been doing good; been thinking about what you said. I think the idea of paps bringing in endless money would change based on the battles being fought now. For one, this site that we can’t thank Sue enough for, brings more and more women to the attention and knowledge – the truth of pap smears (cervical cancer being rare…false positives, et. al..). The news sites begrudgingly help with spasmotic news of updates…like the change from the 1 year to 3 years in between smears…as more women go less or stop going, the money can’t be but so easy to come by…which accounts for all the pressure. Hospitals and offices offer free testing. I don’t think it’s “free” the candidates pay for it somehow….I think they take the womens’ picture with one of those hidden cameras and post it somewhere, or use their medical information without their knowledge..they assume consent because the person signed up for it. And, then these women are put on the screening lists that the ladies here have mentioned. The biggest attack is from all of the news articles of male gyn’s being convicted of sexual misconduct. Losts of money must be lost each time a new and outrageous/sad story comes up.

        Interestingly, I’ve learned that the ACOG or ACOP policies define what health insurance providers pay. Oh wow…I have to look back and find that article..this was about 2 years ago I found a medical journal article on a breakdown of the costs of gynecological exams and procedures. Guess what rang the bell? Pelvic exams. The listing noted this based on the fact of the procedures the ACOG indicated as most vital or required to the practice. The listing was an actual shopping list with prices of gynecological procedures..can you believe it?! So, it’s no accident that paps are money makers based on insurance payments..the ACOG told the health insurance providers that they’re money makers! And guess who are at the top of ACOG – male gyn’s. Yes – they gotta go. Once women are in control, the self-testing kits, blood work,and non-invasive exams (they really need to get rid of the transvaginal….and stick to the abdominal…sooooo nasty) may become the standard. Since we can presume fewer women gyn’s are as interested as going in between women’s legs as men are, the choice for an exam and informed consent would replace all this paternalism. I think all the sado/masochistic tendencies and misogyny, like you indicated, comes from the field being male dominated. They have this attitude because they know they don’t want to follow what the male gyn’s do, but feel they have no choice, and unfortunately take it out on the patients…I wouldn’t go to one of those either….I know there are good one’s out there with an open mind and go against the grain. I think, once women take over things will change dramatically. We have to be optimistic, AQ. There are spectacular things that have changed in this past century alone..we can start with the women’s right to vote. It may take time, but I sense a blessed change in the near future.

        Be blessed – feel blessed that you are out of that wilderness.

  29. They seem to see themselves as an annexing army that doesn’t travel. They look at whoever comes into the hospital or office in the same way an army looks at acquired territory. They seem almost spider-like in a way.

    There’s definitely a demeanor that they totally control their own actions while in this environment & more or less chose what takes place in this place by themselves. This kind of “at will” philosophy is something that is hard to articulate & thus, hard to dispute verbally in an attempt to circumvent abuse.

    They do not exist in some kind of state of exemption from reality. Their actions, whether medical-styled or not, CAN be attacks. This does not have to be their stated purpose. This doesn’t even have to be their goal, just the manner they comport actions. If they were to so much as put a cast on someone’s leg when their leg wasn’t broken, much less break it themselves, they would be gone- as well the should be. Someone like that is not an asset, but a hazard.

    • On top of that, how are they going to differentiate which actions to apply if they think “it’s all good”? Where is the process of elimination?

  30. Anyone read the article in The Mail on Sunday “You” magazine yesterday and the headline in the paper which read “My cancer nightmare” made me so angry and is so misleading. Just more scaremongering, if you read the full article the celebrity who said she had been saved when she was 20 did not have cancer nor probably would of ever had it. Just upset me all day thinking back to my long ordeal, so pleased I have now educated myself.

    • Dee, as you pointed out, there was no “cancer nightmare”, but the Daily Fail won’t let the truth get in the way of an attention seeking story.

      • I read the article. Here are my comments.

        While she did have some symptoms: irregular bleeding, this is common in young women who are under stress. Being underweight and possible a vitamin deficiency (B group) could have contributed to her CIN 3 (if correctly distinguished from CIN 2). Likely if she had waited the HPV infection would have cleared up before she was 25. Also they never mentioned what strain of HPV she had. Likely that was never reported to her. You’d think she would would want to know since she was reading about cancer tumours.

        Everyone gets told that CIN 3 is the step before cancer so they are afraid. While a few studies have shown that not all CIN 3 progresses to cancer over time and many cases regress to normal. The truth is not out there. Most women choose the LEEP procedure (cutting off part of their cervix) just so they will not have to worry and keep testing every year. But since she had that CIN 3 then doctors are going to keep wanting to test her and keep her worrying that the HPV never went away. Maybe all she needed to do was take some herbs, vitamins, rest more and wait.

  31. Hi everyone. I haven’t wrote on here in a while but have been on here reading daily. I’ve been telling my 43 year old mum about this site. She’s always hated smears due to being abused at a young age. She hasn’t had one since jade goody died. Well she’s been getting calls from the nurse telling her to come in for one and she’s been saying no. However she needed to go in for bloods and ecg this morning. She was made to wait In the waiting room for an hour more as they were running late, which made her more agitated. Then when she went in, they had the wrong woman’s notes on the screen! Then after bloods done, she said, right then get on the bed. And then my mum said, I’m not having that! Then walked out! They try and get you in there to force you to have it done. It’s a disgusting system! But just glad she had the courage she said no! X

    • Hi Samantha…that is so wrong, and just shows that people just treat you like a number at times, just wanting to tick that box, improve their monthly pap statistics, they probably don’t look to good on their monthly bench marking map! Everyday their is something in the press/on the news regarding “our bodies” and what to look out for. I fear that a lot of people are doing just that checking and watching their bodies every day for some sort of disease, instead of having an awareness, being educated and informed and living their lives happy and to the full. Wish I had of had the information I know now many years ago, would’ve of saved me in a lot of ways. Well done to your mum though.

    • Hi Samantha just came across your post. I’m so glad you stayed with us. As a young woman you are bombarded with pro screening stories and it must be so hard for you to go against the accepted way things should be for women. Kudos to you for having your own mind and doing your own thing. I was 51 when I found out smear testing wasn’t mandatory. can you imagine that? I just did as I was told even tho I was seriously harmed by them. I could kick myself up and down the road for my stupidity. Of course you can imagine how angry I am not just only with myself but the way my docs and prac nurses lied to me.
      Because you are able to think for yourself you have probably also saved your Mum.

      Being able to see where we are going is a fundamental necessity to life but no optician has ever pretended it is the law to have sight tests. Or hearing tests. I could go deaf and blind if I wanted to. We all need to breathe yet no doctor has ever wanted to check my lungs are ok. its taken as a given all these things work fine, yet it is a matter of life and death that they be allowed to root around in our vagina.??????? to look for things wrong with it??????
      Once you take a step back you see this programme for what it is. x

  32. Hi, I’m 49 yo and have an intense fear of smear tests. My last one was 8 years ago, it was normal. I’d gone 11 years without one before that. I have health anxiety, mainly centred around cancer. I’m pretty sure I’m period menopausal as my periods have been few and far between over the last 3/4 years.

    I’ve read through this site and found some comfort in it but still I continue to obsess over cervical cancer and convince myself that I have it. I’m so scared that I have’nt had intercourse with my partner for over a year as I’m scared that I’ll bleed after. I’m so worried every day. I’be just started a period after about 9 months without and I’m in a state of intense fear in case it’s my cervix that’s bleeding. Irrational, I know but my rational side disappears when I’m like this.

  33. Hi. Tracey. I’ve not had a smear in 16 years. Truly cc doesn’t enter my worry list. I think it’s cancer research, states a woman’s risk of developing cc is 0.65%. Breast is 8% bowel is 7. You can Google and check yourself.
    Periods go erratic at the menopause, I’m the same, I go 5 months without and then have one. It’s normal and natural.
    Please don’t let fear of this very rare cancer spoil your life and interfere with your life with your partner. It’s criminal we’re?? I don’t have the word… Conditioned? By the NHS to fear this cancer so much. It amazes me that I’m more likely to die of lung cancer (and I never smoked!) than cc.
    Just remember all of us are here if you wanna come back and talk again x

    • Thanks for the reply. I really want to be free of this awful anxiety over cc but it’s with me every day. I have looked at stats and I think in my age group approximately 26 women develop cc in Scotland every year. I know that’s a very small number but it does happen and I think maybe these women are the ones who’ve never had a smear test.

      Medical testing of any kind terrifies the life out of me. I’m In turmoil over this.

      • Hi Tracey. I went on the scottish stats site last night and can assure you that the figure is about 9 not 26 and seems to be mostly in the Glasgow area. I am sick and tired of all these manipulated stats we get fed deliberately aimed to frighten people. They assume we just accept their lies and think crikes i better get tested. But if anyone actually cares to look in to it in any depth the truth is there to see. The office of stats keep accurate records of who died of what and when. This is not a top secret record that only some are allowed to see its there for eveyone.
        Its the same for England the screening authorities quote thousands yet only 820 women died of it Strangely tho they seem to be in the towers hamlet area. (400) Like Glasgow there is deprivation here. There must be a correlation.

  34. Hi Tracy. I totally agree with Kat. Please live your life free and happy. The NHS has greatly exagerated incidence of CC. They do this because it is cheaper to have every woman vaginally examined from time to time as treatment is expensive to do should someone get CC. Its not about caring for women its about keeping costs down.

    To undertake a massive programme of examining women like this they needed to lie to us as we simply wouldn’t gave gone along with it. If you are worried, I complained about my treatment to Public Health England a few months ago and they assured me personally in writing that CC is very rare and I had nothing to worry about and that screening is only offered as an optional healthcare test. You could go on the office of national stats or access the death records where you live. These are easy to do and I think you will be surprised to find very few women die of CC.

    I believe you found us because you saw through the lies and went looking for answers. Please read all the posts and articles here and grow strong and confident in knowledge. There are many ethical doctors speaking out about the appalling treatment of women.

    We are all here for you and we will support you in any way we can.
    X

    • Thank you, I really want to stop worrying but my health anxiety can drag me down into very dark places. I have 5 children, two younger ones that still need me. I worry so much about getting cc and the guilt that I would feel that my kids could lose their mum because I’ve been too scared/irresponsible to have a smear test.

      • Tracey what you also have to remember is smear testing doesn’t pick up every strain of cervical cancer anyway. Ada or Eliz could tell you better, but it’s possible to have cc and it’s not picked up during a smear. So the test comes back clear and more time is wasted trying other testing while the cc carries on!
        I think the NHS stats say 900 women a year did of cc in the UK. And there’s around 34 million women of all ages I believe. It’s hardly a rampage!
        I appreciate your worried but really the system has trained us to think this way. Linda wrote an excellent piece about anal cancer over on call to submissions, as many women die of anal cancer as do cervical and men die of anal cancer too. Yet we don’t have a screening programme for it. Truthfully, do you even think about anal cancer??
        As I said I’m amazed even as a never smoker, I’m more likely to die of lung cancer than cervical cancer!
        And a smear could also throw up a false positive result. You could have treatment you don’t even need which god forbid could lead to further problems as a result. I’m not trying to scare you, I’m just saying. I’m actually really worried about breast cancer but refused to screen because for every woman it helps around 4 are over treated, not by a few antibiotics and painkillers but life changing surgery and toxic chemo drugs. I can’t risk it!

      • Tracey, welcome to our community.
        My advice: Keep the risk in perspective, if you’re worried about a fairly rare cancer like cc, you must be beside yourself with things like bowel cancer, if not, why not?
        I’ve found many women greatly fear cc because of the pressure we face for most of our adult lives, the propaganda, scary stories and so many women having biopsies and “treatments”. (almost all are simply being over-treated) We hear about cc a lot and screening. I believe women have been trained to greatly fear a small risk while far greater risks go onto the back burner. It’s skewed women’s healthcare and resulted IMO, in a lot of waste, harm, and worry. (and a reduced quality of life)

        I also think stress is bad for our health and well-being, we only have one life (as far as we know) and I certainly believe we should seize every day. I could spend all day worrying about glioblastoma (brain cancer) or Ewings sarcoma, (bone cancer) there are lots of nasty cancers, some rare, others are more common. (e.g. bowel, lung)

        I could worry about these cancers, but I choose to focus on my life. My female ancestors lived long and healthy lives with zero screening and they didn’t worry about their health or dying, they just got on with life. The worried well would have been considered a bit odd back then, “I’m fine but going to the doctor to check I don’t have cancer”…what?
        I know these women didn’t give cc a second thought, they rarely heard about it, most GPs would have been lucky to come across one case in their entire career, So it would be like us stressing about a rare bone/brain cancer or cervical cancer.
        I also find when women do some reading and understand the ACTUAL risk posed by cervical cancer, the fear tends to fall away.

        If you really want to test but don’t want a pap test, you might consider using the HPV self-testing device, you’re likely to be HPV-…which means you’re not at risk of cc and cannot benefit from pap testing.
        NOTE: if you happen to be HPV+ this may cause even more worry for you and you may feel under more pressure to have a pap test. If you don’t want to have pap testing, then you need to think long and hard before you self-test for HPV
        Even if a woman aged 30 to 60 turns out to be HPV+ she still only has a small risk of cc, most women clear HPV in a year or two.

  35. Hi Linda. I’m sure the geniuses who gave the programme the go-ahead thought that it would be cost effective, but it hasn’t worked out that way. When you look at most preventative measures aimed at the masses – vaccines, screening, ‘just in case’ pills like statins – the reality is that they help very few. And the benefit is often offset by the damage it does to people who were never going to benefit in the first place. Just look at breast screening. Rushed in way to soon by Edwina ‘What’s DCIS?’ Currie purely to reel in the pink vote.
    Remember, there was no RCT, no pilot study, before the Pap rape programme was forced on us, no doubt for political gain. They believed it was a reliable test. They had no idea what was going to happen. They had no idea that the test would produce such a high rate of ‘abnormalities’, that so many women would undergo surgery… they didn’t have a fucking clue what they were doing.
    But I guess once this kind of juggernaut gets rolling, it’s difficult to stop it, especially when Captain Propaganda has climbed aboard. Especially when politicians’ careers could be at stake.

    Ok, so it’s estimated to cost around £10,000 to treat advanced cervical cancer. If regular screening could prevent this developing, then obviously it saves a lot of cash. But a) there’s no guarantee that it will (false negatives) and b) You have to screen and treat a hell of a lot of women to find that one beneficiary. That’s IF you find her. As Elizabeth likes to say, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack with a bent pitchfork.
    Let’s do the maths.
    If we take the NHS’s fantasy statistics as fact, then screening prevents 5,000 cases per year. Treating these women if they should develop full-blown cancer would amount to £50 million. Sure, that’s a lot of money. However…
    The Programme costs £100 million. That’s just the cost of the administration and conducting the initial tests. Add another £75 million for GP’s incentives. Consider all those colposcopies, biopsies, ‘treatments’, which are carried out on healthy women… all the women who experience mental or physical trauma and need further medical intervention… The cost of this awful programme must be mind-blowing. It’s a huge waste of resources.
    So it’s not about saving money. It’s about politics, power, and greed.

      • And let’s not forget the NHS was set up to help those who needed medical care get it. Free for all. I am bloody furious that I pay national insurance and tax, I fund the NHS along with many others and I don’t see my doctor because all he’s interested in is my cervix! Even if I was unemployed I’d still have the right to free medical care! I imagine many other women feel like this too! And ditto. If I developed cc… I’ve paid into the system! It should never be about cost for anyone
        We read people are being denied drugs due to the cost… Who are the government to decide what someone’s life is worth? Kates right.do away with the cervical screening programme and doctors bonus would free up a tidy sum of money!

      • Hi Kat. I paid in for years. There’s nothing free about it at all. I’m so sick of pressure to have paps its just not worth going anymore. The next time i’m ill i’m going to be one of those that go to walk in centres or call an ambulance. i’m not playing by the rules anymore.
        On monday i intend starting on a big piece for the new book. I think it will take a good few weeks to write as it incorporates loads about screening from all the letters to newspaper articles, to sites decicated to screening. How they all collude to take women’s choice away thereby ‘raping’ them. It will be an outrageous pop at the nhs. I intend naming my ex doc and nurse tho’ to protect the site i will not put them up here they will just be in the book.

    • As well as all these overheads I wonder how much is spent across UK by practices and screening authorities in chasing women by means of repeated letters and phone calls and how much wages in man hours have been wasted in pursuit of this. And the sheer waste of time it was when the employees could have maybe done more valuable work elsewhere.

      • It doesn’t bear thinking about. Must be millions. I thought they did it all to save money but I think kates right the programme surely isn’t cost effective with all the extras like bonuses and post prices. I want our new book to be explosive. The more articles attacking the NHS the safer women will feel breaking away from the stanglehold they have on them.

  36. Hi Linda! That’s a good idea. If the walk in says did you try to get an appointment with your own doctor you can say well they’re only interested in my cervix and it’s my…. That I’m here about today! Name and shame.
    Book idea sounds great. Explosive! I’ve asked my daughter who’s doing media at uni to help me with my segment and she’s well up for it. I’ve also asked if she’d consider doing a piece on a teens view of the programme and the HPV vaccine. She’s undecided at the moment. I’ll keep trying!

  37. Hi Kat. Off topic. But from what I read about media studies it sounds like an interesting course. Its not just watching films its about looking at media from a feminist/marxist/functionalist/modernist perspective. Hopefully your dort is a women’s rights activist in the making. x

    • Hi Linda! Yes she’s enjoying the course and with me a Marxist socialist and active trade unionist she knows exactly where she’s going! I pity medics in years to come if she decides she’s not screening and they persistently invite her!!

      • Kat
        Backed up your comment on the NHS site, if a woman wants to screen, fine (although most are not making an informed decision) but there is no respect for women who don’t want to screen. There are women (and men) out there who think we should be grateful for our fabulous program, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about misinformation, coercion, dishonesty, unethical conduct etc. In my opinion, it’s just another way of silencing critics of the program – the “you should be so grateful” angle. (some of these comments are definitely posted by vested interests)

  38. Thank you for the info, I have found it to be quite comforting. My health anxiety is starting to take hold and I go from thinking I HAVE to go for a smear to talking myself down. I am appalled at the overtreatment on women that have had abnormal cells. My daughter is one of them, she has had treatment twice now. The last time the consultant told her if she had’nt got it treated it would have most likely developed into cancer. She had cin111.

    Someone mentioned hpv testing, probably wouldn’t be a good idea for me, the very thought of any medical testing sends me into total panic. I read somewhere that a huge majority of women would test + but on here it says different. I’m peri menopausal so I think the chances of my smear coming back abnormal is higher because of that.

    • Hi Tracey. You sound exactly like me. I’m 25 with 2 young daughters and I’m petrified of smear tests and have health anxiety around cancers too. I think I fear cc the most because I fear the smear test. Reading comments on this site have comforted me slightly but the fear is still there. I’m glad I’m not the only one really. Id rather go to a &e and be knocked out than have one normally. But the ladies on here make great points. X

      • Hi Samantha, have you ever had a smear? Health anxiety is hell is’nt it?

        I’ve been reading through this site for a while now and I do find it helpful and calming but I do still worry to the point of obsession. I’m not totally decided atm if I will/ won’t have a smear test done. I just want to be free of this fear.

      • This is another huge negative of this program, health anxiety. (whether you test or not)
        Even those who test can produce a false negative, false positive, end up having an excess biopsy or being over-treated, that’s all very stressful and frightening.
        It must be a nightmare for those who don’t want to test but feel they should, IMO, fear (rather than the evidence) drives them to test. (and some just live with fear for most of their adult life)

        I don’t test and don’t worry about cc, I understand cc is fairly rare and that I’m not at risk anyway (HPV-) Even before I understood the significance of HPV, I still rejected the test and didn’t worry, why? I understood there was a near zero risk of cc or a MUCH higher risk of an excess colposcopy, biopsy or over-treatment with testing, so I made an informed decision not to screen. Testing carried too much risk for me, I’m not prepared to accept much risk at all to screen for a rare cancer.
        To be perfectly honest, I don’t worry about cancer or heart disease, I stay positive and enjoy my life and do what I can, some regular exercise, drink alcohol in moderation, get enough sleep, manage stress etc…all the basic stuff that still holds true but is now so often forgotten. I know some people think screening means they’re bullet-proof, that’s a false sense of security.
        I know female smokers who don’t worry about cancer because they have pap testing and breast screening…what about lung cancer? MUCH more likely than cc…

        The only time the propaganda got to me was BEFORE I did my own research.
        I pushed fear to the back of my mind, but it was still there, I felt guilty, worried and occasionally I felt anxious, that all disappeared when I did my own research and made an informed decision.
        I can understand why some women give in to fear and anxiety, the pressure is relentless, we hear so much about this testing (there’s your first clue, the pressure is out of all proportion to the risk, what other rare cancer gets this sort of attention?)

        Whatever you decide, hope you find peace of mind, but this is definitely another negative of these programs, health anxiety about a fairly rare cancer.

      • Actually, I don’t think I ever felt guilty about not screening, anxious and fearful are probably better words, like many women I felt the pressure. I avoided doctors so there was not a lot of direct medical pressure, but it was all around me, other women, the loud and proud screeners, the over-treated (I never believed these women were actually saved) the campaigns etc.
        I decided the Pill was out for me, it would have exposed me to medical coercion or a lot of pressure to screen. So I’ve certainly had to live around this testing, careful not to put myself in a vulnerable position.
        Now…bring it on! One of the advantages of age…being informed is one thing, but I’ve found with age that it’s easier to control the consult room. I can discuss screening calmly and rationally, I don’t feel embarrassed, I don’t apologize or feel like a naughty girl. When I was younger I always felt a bit concerned this topic might come up, on the rare occasions it did, I felt uncomfortable and judged in a way that doesn’t happen with anything else in medicine, not that I’ve come across anyway. On these rare occasions, I’d end the consult promptly and get out…to safety.
        Now I refuse to spend even a minute of consult time on this topic, my file is marked and it’s never mentioned unless I choose to discuss something with my GP. (we’ve recently discussed bowel screening)

      • Interesting…I was “chatting” with an Australian woman online yesterday, she had an excess cone biopsy when she was 23, it was such a traumatic experience she avoids doctors.
        This poor woman worries about getting something nasty, she might not see a doctor until the pain or the symptoms are unbearable. I wonder how many women suffer and even lose their lives because they avoid doctors thanks to pap test pressure or a past bad experience. I know some women self-manage real health issues, but it also means some ignore symptoms, that’s not good.
        Yes, a hugely successful screening program, for whom?

  39. Tracey your right about that, Ada posted some stats a while back. Menopause can give a false positive and I think she posted that a woman aged 50_65 and presumably menopausal had a 50% chance of a wrong result at 5 yearly screens.. Does anyone have the details / date / link?? As well you stand more chance of having severe pain if you smear and are menopausal. I found them agonising as a young woman!

      • Well, here in Australia with 2 yearly testing in place, the lifetime risk of colposcopy/biopsy is about 77%
        That figure certainly sounds right, when I look around me, at women my age, MOST have had something “done” to their cervix.
        They knew at the outset this would be the result of annual and 2 yearly testing, but biopsies and treatments were fobbed off as minor matters. The Finns back in the 1960s had 5 yearly testing so far fewer women ended up having biopsies etc. The shocking thing is overdoing pap testing does not benefit women, it just sends referral rates way up, so I feel it was probably a deliberate decision to boost profits for vested interests. (but they’d argue it was to save as many women as possible…) The Government takes advice from those with a vested interest and we get lumbered with serious over-screening. One sobering thought: we almost ended up with annual testing, some wanted annual testing, others 3 yearly so they compromised and settled on 2 yearly testing.
        Of course, the evidence showed pretty quickly that a lot of women, especially young women, were being referred but very little was done about it.

        All of this with no informed consent and often no consent at all.

        No one asked women whether they considered these procedures “minor” and I know many women view them as negative experiences – violating, distressing, painful even traumatic. My younger sister’s cone biopsy was a very nasty experience, one easily avoided, but when the medical profession doesn’t respect our legal rights and view our bodies as public property and a business opportunity, this is the result.
        So much damage to screen for a cancer that has always been fairly rare, but a brilliant way of controlling women and making a fortune.
        It’s also why they’ll fight to keep the Pill on script here…control & profits.

    • Sorry to keep coming back with questions but am I right in thinking that most of the women on this site are considered “low risk” as they have only had 1/2 partners? This worries me as I have had a few over the years, although I have had three long relationships in that time. I’ve also read that the amount of children you have can increase the risk. So am I high risk? Do I need a smear test? My life is being controlled by this fear and I feel scared that if I don’t have one I might have cc and die and leave my children motherless.

    • Hi Tracey and Sam. The cancer industry is a multi billion dollar business. They choose what we fear not us. It is surrounded by media, charities and even shops selli g second hand stuff to make it all appear respectable.
      Yesterday i heard about a woman who develped cancer in between her big right toe and the second one. It went to her lymph glands and then to the test of her body. Despite having all the chemo and everything else they decided there was nothing more they could do and sent her home. She has a few weeks to live. She is 75.
      I bet no one hear has heard of that. I was shocked.
      The western world clings to chemo like a life raft when the rest of the so called ‘uncivilised’ world treats cancer sucessfully every day. India could not scream their message any louder about how to treat cancer but no one is listening. Or the right people don’t want to.
      Live your lives doing the things you want to. Enjoy yourselves. Research benefits of sea kelp tablets which are very cheap to buy yet could save your lives. Stay away from doctors .

  40. Note: with our high referral rates and knowing that early screening and over-screening is a large part of the problem, we’re still urging women to have 2 yearly testing.
    Even at this late stage, we’re still protecting doctors, profits and the program and throwing more women under the screening bus. How could you ever trust these people?
    Of course, I’ve read this is to basically keep the herd under control until the new program is in place in 2017 (my words, but that’s basically what they’re saying…) and of course, the change is due to HPV vaccination and “new” evidence….nonsense. The reality is more women are getting to the evidence and refusing to follow the program, screening rates are falling and with more informed women around it’s no longer safe to keep giving women BAD medical advice.

  41. Hi Elizabeth. That’s what ill be like. I wont go to the doctors unless I am in unbearable pain which is sad I know. My anxiety is through the roof everyday due to praying I don’t start to show any symptoms of anything, especially down there. I’m in a vulnerable position at the moment and do not want to be pressured into these tests. X

    • I was wondering as well, do you all do anything in particular to keep your reproductive system healthy? Any secrets or suggestions? X

      • Samantha,
        I protect my reproductive system by refusing to have pap tests or pelvic exams or any other unnecessary medical interference. (screening tests are unnecessary if they don’t pass my risk v benefit assessment)
        Pap testing and my need (at that time) to avoid doctors probably made me focus more on my health too. I’ve never taken the Pill, that may have helped, I know women who’ve had investigations and procedures for cervical issues/bleeding caused by the Pill.
        Pap testing exposes women to risk from false positives, excess biopsies and over-treatment. Note that 77% of Aussie women will have something done to their cervix if they follow our program, almost all of it is unnecessary. (and avoidable)

        I’ve never engaged in casual sex, I believe this has certainly protected my health and life. I’m a control freak and wanted to achieve certain things in my life, an unplanned pregnancy or health issues might have made those things impossible. (the AIDS crisis occurred when I was in my 20s)
        I got into University and wasn’t going to let anything get in my way at that point.
        I was not prepared to accept risk to my health and life for a one-night-stand.

        Relationship sex, fine, casual sex…out. It turned out my first boyfriend became my husband and remains so after 28 years.
        I’m not judging women (or men) who make other decisions, not at all, we’re all individuals, but this decision certainly added another layer of protection for my health. (and life)
        I’ve never used the Pill, I studied the Billings Method, this gave me an intimate understanding of the normal functions of my body.

        I protected myself from cystitis by doing a couple of simple things, urinate after sex and always wipe from front to back. I have a friend who has always relied on condoms for birth control, she’s never had cystitis either. She advises women to at least use a condom if they have sex twice in 24 hours. My mother has a friend who got what was called back then, honeymoon cystitis, (it happened a lot back then) she had issues for many years, absolute misery.
        I know women who have home remedies for thrush, I must have had thrush at some stage, it’s so common but I honestly can’t recall having it.

        It’s a good idea to use non-perfumed things in the shower and douching is not a good idea. I know some women do it and some even steam their vagina, a new thing on the scene. I think some middle eastern women have been doing it for a long time – married women steam their vagina once a month, probably something to do with cleaning yourself after menstruation.
        The vagina is self-cleansing, it doesn’t need our help to keep it clean. (unless you do something extraordinary!)
        I allow my body time to sort itself out, it amazes me the number of times I’ll develop a symptom and before long…it disappears. So I don’t dash off to the doctor with every twinge. (speaking generally, I’ve never had any sort of gyn issue probably because I don’t allow medical interference so many of these issues are actually CAUSED by medical excess/interference in the first place)

        I view menstruation, pregnancy and menopause as natural things, not medical conditions. Of course, I understand some women need medical care – prenatal care, some use/need HRT, some need pain relief etc. for heavy periods.
        I could go on and on…I don’t really DO much, but don’t allow a lot of things.
        I also don’t view my body as pre-cancerous or pre-disease, so often the asymptomatic female body is viewed that way.

    • Hi Samantha, I’m the same as you, terrified of any symptoms in that area. This has pretty much taken over my life for the last couple of years. As I said before, it seems that a lot of the women on this site seem to be low risk for hpv so it seems fair enough not to worry about screening. I have had 5 sexual partners over the last 30+ years so my concern is that I’m high risk and that I’m being incredibly stupid to be avoiding having a smear test.

      Can anyone put my mind at rest over this please so that I can make the right decision. I’m 5 years overdue my smear, I’m terrified.

      • I’ve never had a smear test and I’m 26 next month. To be honest with you, I wont either unless there’s something seriously wrong with me or if I could somehow do it myself. Surely this day in age there could be a simple blood test or something to detect this sort of thing but like everyone knows its a money making thing. When I get days where I think about it non stop, that’s when I notice things down there, ie pain or something but its always been my mind playing tricks as that’s what health anxiety does to you. I’m on medication and it takes the edge off, but its never far from my mind. The media plays a big part in my worrying. Like everyone on here says, cc is very rare, and if you’re worried you can buy hpv self tests but if it comes back positive you’ve then got to have a smear test. So really id rather not know as if it came back positive, what then? Id then worry myself to death even though i may never develop cancer. Its easier said than done, to tell you not to worry, i know as I’m exactly the same. A couple of weeks ago i seriously thought i was going to faint with worry over this as it was on my mind non stop. But worrying only makes you even more ill id say. So just try to forget about it. This site helps me as before i never knew you could say no to a smear test. Talking to other women, even my mum, i know now that many don’t attend their tests and hate it as much as us for different reasons. I’m hoping one day they will come up with another way of screening just so women like us can have peace of mind. But like i said, until then i cant see myself having one ever. X

      • Hi Tracey, I do empathise with you, I live with generalised anxiety disorder, have done since a child I’m 47 now (but through education, knowledge, self help and a lot of exercise (I refused to take medication after a lot of fuss from my doctor saying I was being stupid and driving myself into a brick wall, nice advice to someone with GAD, but if I could feel that bad on meds I could take responsibility for my own mental health and feel just as bad or better without, tough though) I really feel knowing as how I’d react that even if you took the test and it was normal you would still worry/obsess, the absolute reassurance and certainty you feel you need to lessen your anxiety will be a vicious cycle ( I had an accompanying health anxiety with GAD in my twenties were I would check my body for lumps/bumps until it got to the stage that I would check 300 times a day making my body sore/definitely have a lump or bump, wanting that absolute certainty I didn’t have anything, of course I couldn’t have that) I sought help of a wonderful psychologist who in the same way as treating a drug addiction I had to go cold turkey, an in the same way as any addiction I made the decision where I don’t check my body at all ever. Of course I have GAD so I know my body in every detail and would see if something had changed.

        I guess what I’m trying to say Tracey is for your sake to make your life brighter/get tests into perspective/start living/forget about your body most days/accept uncertainty (was the best thing I ever did, for me not knowing what’s to come is a good place to be, there is something very positive in a relatively unplanned future, the endless possibilities (read some good books about this/look on internet some good videos out there). Get some good help for your condition Tracey, comments sometimes don’t carry emotion but I can tell in your posts that you are suffering. I feel if you tackle the health anxiety then you will be in a much better position to choose what to do with your health and tests in the future.

        Plus Tracey like others have said on this site if your presenting symptoms then a smear is no good, diagnostic testing is what you need. You take care of yourself, get yourself to the library understand what’s going on in your mind/body, first step is the hardest.

      • Hi Tracey. I’m so sorry you worry bout these things. I used to worry too. CC is rare, however, I would be wrong to suggest it doesn’t exist. Some women do get it. There are risk factors which are generally not given out in the media or even by NHS sites but they do exist. The site ‘medical modesty’ has some. Every woman should assess her own risk and decide if she wants to screen. The women on this site will never advise you not to screen as that would be very wrong of us. What we stand for is the right to choose. We feel that choice was taken away from us.

        It is your body and your decision alone. The conventional way of testing is not for me however some doctors are offering self screening and a HPV testing to determine if you are pos or neg. Why don’t you research into these methods. Be wAry of asking your doctor bout this whAt I suggest is you tell your doctor what you wAnt to do. However you must be careful of the problems that come with screening. Results may show something is wrong. If this happens wait a few months and try again. Dont just rush into further things like colposopy or anything else.

        For minor problems like thrush or itching I stopped using live yogurt years ago as this is rubbish. I use coconut oil which gets rid of minor irritants as soon as it makes contact. you can buy it for 2.99 from Aldi .

        I will be thinking bout you.

      • Thanks Linda, do you mind if I ask if you have ever had a smear test? I think I worry more as I’m peri menopausal and I’ve read that there’s more chance of an abnormal result during this time. I have had about 4 smears since I was 18, they have all been normal and I have been with my current partner for 16 years so not sure if that would make much of a difference to my risks of being hpv+ or not. Will need to decide one way or another before I drive myself insane x

      • Thanks anon,
        It’s kind of you to reply and thanks for understanding. I have had health anxiety for about 12 years now and I’ve gone through so many years of worry, always about cancer, ovarian, rectal, anal, cervical, brain tumour. Each time I convince myself that I’m going to die, it’s hell!

        I have had counselling which has helped and I think that’s what is keeping me from tipping over the edge this time. I want to live my life without worrying about my health all the time.

        I really don’t want to have another smear so I’m going to arm myself with knowledge and hopefully be able to live my life out of this shadow of fear.

      • Just realised I posted anon ha, I mustn’t of had my details in busy day. My lil story/ordeal is way above in the comments so I know where your coming from. I have recently purchased and I am reading the Screening : Evidence and Practice book, wish I’d read and been equipped with all of this knowledge before the doctors got me on that merry go round of looking for something that wasn’t there, an endless fear of “what if”. Dee

  42. Take your health into your own responsibility. You can use doctors without letting them use you. This takes some research, planning and discipline. Some of it is good nutrition and maybe taking vitamins which you will get minimal if no advice from a doctor. I was told if I ate well then I should not need to take vitamins at the next doctor’s visit I was berated for not taking prenatal vitamins if I was trying to get pregnant. It makes sense to be careful about sexual partners but almost everybody has HPV at some time but it rarely develops into cancer. If you are worried about your HPV status, order an online HPV test (depends on where you live). If you can do an online search for vingear cervical inspection (used in India). Regular vinegar can be put onto the cervix to see if there is cancer and seen by the naked eye (and these women were usually unaware and not dying). You can buy a disposable plastic speculum, use and flashlight and a mirror to look at your own cervix and compare to the photos in the literature put up online.

    Look up symptoms of cervical cancer and breast cancer and be aware. I am reading articles that make my blood boil that suggest some routinely prescribed medications for not life threatening conditions can promote cancer in the long term. I have found nonmedical ways to help my asthma/broncitis. I am sure most diseases can be helped but maybe not cured by alternative methods. No one lives forever but then I do not condemn anyone to never seeking medical care if they feel they need it. People die, period. Whether it is from cancer or from cancer with cancer treatment or a car crash. If worried about children set up a trust fund and make a will.

  43. Samantha, I don’t have health anxiety, so maybe I see it different. It must be genuinely awful for you. But really I think I’m like eliz’s aunts! I really don’t give my health a thought! I have debilitating migraine and I’m also anaemic which I treat, as it affects my life, but otherwise… Nah! I never had gynaecological problems really, extremely painful periods for a while, which sorted naturally, and never worried about reproduction health! I hope you can find peace and healing really soon x

  44. “Protect Your Body & Your Future- Say “No!” To PAP Smears”- good slogan, eh?

    Really, they go on such anti-drug campaigns & act like the whole “scene” is a situation that’s fraught with such danger that it’s like jumping into a piranha tank while covered in ham, yet they don’t get like that at all when it comes to drugs & situations that have an even higher potential for serious danger- if nothing else, simply because any claim of attack isn’t likely to be believed & unconventional attacks are frequently dismissed as non-issues.

    This is like saying getting slashed by a nut with a knife is an attack, but when one uses a scalpel to do it- it’s very rarely an attack, if ever at all. The argument amounts to saying that what these people do is NOT what happens, even though it occurs. How much safety can one be assured of in these environments if there’s such a mild response to failure & hostility? It’s no risk for them & they still get paid! Why would this NOT draw people that are inclined to do harm, even if it’s only sporadically & subtlely? There are even people that derive gratification simply from the deception, never mind anything else!

  45. “One concern about self-collection is that women who currently attend the mainstream program may switch to self-collection, and this could lead to a less effective program overall. The proposed model of restricting self-collection through a screening provider to under- and unscreened women is designed to reduce this problem.”
    https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2016/204/5/impact-hpv-sample-self-collection-underscreened-women-renewed-cervical-screening?utm_source=mja&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=related_content

    Hope this link works. Interesting statistics experimenting with different times of self-screening, but will only be offered to women after age 30.

    • This article is interesting. Self collection might appeal to many women who had the doctor taken pap test however if the self test does not give much information then they are going to end up with a colposcopy if they get a HPV positive. Is the test going to give information such as which HPV strains are found or if the HPV found is a high risk strain?

      I do not like a doctor or a government agency controlling access to HPV tests. I think they should be available over the counter. I can buy a pregnancy test over the counter or a urine infection test over the counter. Both conditions could be serious and even death threatening. Both might need treatment from a doctor or not. The cervical screening programmes will just not die will they.

  46. Hi Tracey. I’ve had 7 tests in all but have not had one for 6 yrs now. I detested smears but docs and practice nurse and those letters all had the effect of making me believe i had no choice. When i found this site i went into shock and needed a lot of support from the women here. For a while i was ill with it all. But i kept accessing the site until i read every article and post. Sometimes i would stay on for hours at a time just reading. I came to the realisation that i had been raped by the nhs.

    After i found this site i grew very strong. I took charge of my life. I do have down days tho. I study medicine on the internet and spend time researching indian and chinese ways of curing ill health. I learn about herbs and the importance of eating plant based diet.

    Like you i suffer with my nerves and have mental health problems. Its horrible and i can see you are suffering in your own way. I sometimes wish we all lived close to each other and meet for coffee and be there for each other in a real sense rather than just words on the internet.

    I’m a quiet person and live quietly with my husband and didn’t want children. We got narried in our 20’s and there has never been anyone else so i feel angry that the screening zealots should have left me alone. I feel as tho my vagina wasn’t my own and that the nhs could look in it any time they felt like it. I became disconnected somehow from my body and didn’t have sex for about 4 yrs.

    I’m in the process of writing an article for our new book about how colluding to make us believe testing is mandatory and that by fooling us into thinking our lives are constantly being saved by bossy practice nurses rooting around in our vagina, when we clearly don’t want them to, is most deffiniately rape. I will upload it in a few weeks as i’ve had a few probs with my comp and am a bit behind with it. I do this as I feel this helps me and others.

    I am also making notes for another book i’m going to call ‘Our Angels are Raping us’ when i will invite the women here to write about their experiences of practice nurses. Writing is such a great way of helping with stress i suggest you take it up as well. You could write about your health anxieties and what caused them it could lead to insight into changing how you feel.

    I hope you are ok. Women should help each other i think.
    Love
    Linda x

    • “You could write about your health anxieties and what caused them it could lead to insight into changing how you feel”

      That’s very good advice, I know it’s helped me over the years. I was asked to write a piece about being the first in my family to go to University, I was amazed at the things that became clearer and clearer in my mind.
      I’m a control freak, why should that surprise me? (It probably won’t surprise any of you…)

      This need for control is certainly partly why I questioned the need for pap testing, I want to control my body and health, handing anything over to others to control sets me off, I worry, it makes me uncomfortable…it’s probably why I’m a nervous flyer and why I prefer to drive our car.
      It was necessary to walk alone when I went off to University, it was unknown ground, so it wasn’t such a big deal to walk alone (that’s how it felt at the time) as the woman who’d decided not to have pap tests. I didn’t have the comfort of a herd when I went off to University so didn’t worry as much about standing alone as an “unscreened” woman.
      Of course, there were other women who’d decided not to screen as well, but the system was so terribly oppressive it silenced us. This was part of their strategy as well, to make women think everyone had pap tests, isolate and increase the pressure on “non-compliant” women. The idea was to create the impression all women must screen, to deny choice…

      So it’s great advice, the written word can sort out our feelings and can even be a healing exercise – it can also help us see the person we are and why we’re that person.

      • Thank you Linda,

        I have been coming back and forward to this site for quite some time now. I’be found reading the comments very interesting and also sadly very shocking. I really can’t decide what’s best for me, in my mind there are pros and cons. If I have the rest and it come back normal then I can get rid of this worry, stop being afraid of my body, not be afraid to have intercourse with my partner BUT if I go and it comes back abnormal, maybe because of perimenopause then I will need further testing, waiting for results, possibly yearly testing and my health anxiety would be off the scale and I would most likely become unwell and my family would suffer and my job would be at risk. What a predicament!

        I think writing things down would be very beneficial to me, I would have so much to write. My sister hasn’t had a smear for about 20 years now, her last smear showed abnormal cells which were treated, she was supposed to go back 6 monthly for a smear but never did, she seems to be getting on with life without worrying over it, wish I could be like that.

        I feel that my biggest worry is my kids, I have five aged from 31 to 9 and although the older ones would be devastated if I die they would be ok but my younger ones need me. I need to be alive for at least another 10 years.

  47. I feel at my age of 54 and being a widow for over 13 years and not sexually active for those 13 years and only 2 men in my life, I am saying NO to anymore pap tests it is my body !!. All my paps over the years have been “normal”.My 1st husband was very abusive and I am not comfortable with these tests. I have Medicaid and the last pap I had was 5 years ago and he was very rude ,spoke broken english, I could not understand him and very rough when I asked him to be very gentle with me . Most Medicaid Gyn offices I had been to ,have been filthy and the waiting is bad I waited over 2 1/2 hours last time I went and no place to sit .
    I cannot afford a Gyn on my own as I am on disability and I feel this pap test is not necessary for me , since I had only 2 partners in my life and no sexual diseases and the fact all my paps have been “normal” over the years and no problems.I still have my reproductive organs,I had 2 children and those where normal pregnancies with no complications and now going thru menopause with very few problems.So NO to pap test for me,this is my body ,and I will not be bullied or forced into pap tests. I still do my mamograms every 3 years .

    • Ty Linda ,I am so tired of being bullied into pap tests, especially Medicaid getting letters every other week stating “time for my womanly exams”,I have told them repeatedly, I exempt myself from these tests.As I stated Linda my 1st husband was very abusive towards me ,physically ,mentally ,and sexually, the main reason I am not comfortable with pap tests because of all of this,and you tell the Gyn Dr and they dont care or listen just brush you off.
      I am in control of my own body not them,it is after all ….my body my decision.!!
      NO PAP TEST !!

      • My 1st husband was very abusive and very mean , but when I met my 2nd husband he was my soulmate and we only had 9 wonderful years together he was a such a loving and a very gentle caring man , a car accident took him 13 years ago today , he supported me in any decison I needed to make,I miss him everyday, and if he was here today I know in my heart he would support my decision, for no more invasive & unnecessary pap tests.And for Insurance companies and Medicaid to force or even threathen you to get a pap tests is so wrong ,its our bodies and our decisions not theirs. .

      • Hi Kathleen. Its sounds like you’ve had a tough time of things. It will be better from now on because your collective experiences have made you very strong. I’m glad you found us. Women can be very supportive of each other. This site helped me get over a lot of things not just smears but other issues i never mention. I think its the advice and friendship. Tho we’re all from different places we share a common bond. God bless.

      • And another thing with Pap test, they like to find all kind of things wrong with your vag ,my best friend she is my age 53, she went in for a pap test and the gyn Dr told her she needed surgery she had some sort of prolapse she went and got a 2nd opinion and the Dr there, told her the same thing , do you know she had that same prolapse surgery 3 times now ? all of them failed !! and now she has huge medical bills to pay 😦 .I told her not to do the surgery, but the Gyn Drs bullied her into it, she could have easily said NO to the surgery and just continue with the Poise Liners she was wearing. I told her about this wonderful site and she read everything on here and today she took her body back!! she is not doing NO more surgery,paps or mamos thanks to this wonderful site !! I got raped my my ex husband for many years then the gyn Drs enough! I am in control of my body after all it is my body ! NO MORE PAPS OR MAMOS it is all RAPE !!

  48. Hi Kathleen. Welcome to this fantastic forum. I am so glad you found us. Its so empowering to take back what rightfully belongs to you. Your body!!! How dare these creatures rob women of power over our own bodies. Lie upon lie upon lie has been heaped on us over the years to make us submit to these vile exams. Finally we are freeing ourselves from this tyranny. We are are here for you. You may come under pressure in the future but be strong. Read the articles and comments and learn how to defend yourself. You will be fine. X

    • Hi Kathleen! I second Linda. I have no abusive hubby but.. I felt violated by smears as we say in UK. I wrote to my doctor and health authorities that I would NOT BE HAVING A SMEAR TEST and it felt so good to be taking control of what was mine!! just mine. My own husband respects me if I say not tonight. Doctor can’t show same respect? No means no! Sorry for rant I’m in mega pain atm with sciatica. I went to the walk in centre and got serious pain pills which makes me feel yukky and stoned! Kathleen this is a safe women friendly site and I feel safe venting here… Hope you stay here too..
      Ladies any advice on sciatica??

  49. Hi ladies! As posted I’m suffering atm. Sciatica. I’ve not even been to work for a few days and anyone who knows me knows that’s not like me. Any advice? Linda I know you said amitryptiline but I react badly too it it aggravated my migraine. Any advice gratefully received??

  50. Hi Kat. I’ve had it for 2 years. Its been hell. My elderly neighbour started banging about all the time. I began to hate her and then it started. Within the past few months i forgave her and it went away within days. Are you carrying any emotional issue? Apart from anger over smears that is.
    The Amotrip from the doctors is not good and it didn’t really help. I’m afraid only walking and time will help. You might try sleeping with the offending leg turned outwards this helped as well.

    I think about you a lot and always read your comments. I cant be bothered writi g at the mo but wilk get back into it doon. At the moment i’ve been enjoying going on conspiracy theory sites.
    X

  51. Hi Ladies! Don’t think I’m overly angry ATM just ratty with pain. I found a ladies only swim session I’ll start, bcoz I heard that helps…And a big thanks Moo, think I’ll try the curcumin. That’s a really good link..thanks again x

    • Hi Kat, stretching and exercise can help release the sciatic nerve, there can be a number of causes for ‘sciatic’ pain and sometimes (not always) simple exercises can make a big difference. myofascial manipulation and massage can help – do you have a decent physio or remedial massage therapist or a good yoga teacher? As Linda said natural therapies can help with reducing inflammation – TCM, acupuncture, naturopathy.

      Good luck, I hope you’re feeling better soon, sciatic pain can be intolerable.

  52. One of my friends girl friends on my facebook is a nurse and she posted a pic saying “the nurse is always right. ” Hmmm I have had a very bad experience with a nurse that story I have told on hear before. It was the first time i really felt shamed about not having pap smears and she made me feel like I was wrong. But anyways this girl works at a hospital as a nurse and keeps posting about being a nurse. I was just annoyed. And it made me think of the mentality of alot of nurses. They pnly know what there taught to push in school.

    • Yeah, they’re like car salesmen- they know enough about cars to make a sale, but there isn’t always a high degree of expertise. Even if there was, they can always lie- an expert isn’t always honest.

      Why not post: “What about iatrogenic attack? Like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle- it’s still murder. Identity doesn’t change output, same goes for cops & Catholic priests.” If you do, I’d LOVE to hear the reaction!

      • Well its funny you say that. A while back this same fb friend posted another pic of a nurses hand saying “you dont know where these fingers have been.” In a joking way. It didnt sit well with me.

      • She sounds like she’s trying to jab you. Ever see American History X? After “that scene,” you remember that guy with the shaved head patting the seat next to him when Edward Nortan’s looking for a place to sit down?

        It honestly seems like that- except maybe she’s trying to “gaslight” your alignment. Like a mockery of your concerns (which are of real things, whether or not it’s deemed significant by those of that community). After all, people ONLY get what they deserve & if you were right, you’d win the argument & she’d support you- this seems to be the exploited theme in a MASSIVE amount of situations. Also seems like a lot of people see agreement as defeat- something to do with what I’ve heard called a “negative identity.” They’re thinking about what they’re not, instead of what they are & it’s more or less that they’re “anti non-self.”

        Not for nothing, but how many times have there been outright serial killers in the medical professions? Wasn’t Jack the Ripper the royal physician or something? I remember hearing about those “Angels of Death” that would poison the patient, crawl into bed up against them & shake while they died. Another one was where the nurse was shooting bleach into dialysis machines & killed at least one person. Then there’s all the occasions of medical attack that run along different, frequently pervy, lines. I guess some people might only think of the expenses, but if someone ruins or mars your life for free- is that good enough?

      • Shes not a close friend Alex. I never talked to her about my feelings of gynocology. Side not tho , shes a nurse at a womans health clinic. I guess the pic of the hand was refuring to all the internals they do. She was popular in my high school and any thing she sees or post gets a ton of likes and suck ups.

      • OH!- I thought you had told her about that (I confused “hear” to mean “her” & not “here” in the post way above this one). I’ve got to ask: Is she pretty? I’m willing to bet she gets some of the “guy vote” if so- since a lot of men are, proudly, very base & actually make a point of displaying how little detail-ability they have.

        There’s a historical root to this, by the way. Strong & stupid going together seems to actually trace back to Samson from the Bible. He was incredibly strong & actually a legendary fighter, but he kept trusting the same woman that kept turning him & he finally got blinded as a result. In this case, it’s a little like when someone acts like they don’t have any fine motor skills because they’re so strong (“I can’t pick a lock because I’m so strong I have a paw” type of shit), but expanded to anything intricate- including noticing details.

        Ever seen skinny college-age guys posturing against each other? It’s pretty funny sometimes, even moreso because it actually extends into other realms besides fake clumsiness- they start talking in a “lumbering” way, too. Same deal with (pardon my crassness): “Pussy-Involved Situation = Turn-On & Good Thing.”

        Anyway, I figure an insight into a certain condition of male mind could be useful. These people might be assholes or idiots or simply be “stuck in gear” with not taking things literally OR seriously, but they also can & do have influences in some cases (jury votes in abuse trials, for instance).

  53. Hi all. I havent had to comment on here in a while but still check daily. Im still suffering with extreme anxiety due to the thought of these tests and health anxiety doesnt help matters either. Anyway, i went to the gp the other day due to having a tiny pea sized lump in my neck. However when i get there i see ” overdue smear” on my notes. I immediately start crying as i cant bear it. And the bloke said, yes i did notice that, well its just one of those things that youve just got to get on with. And that i need to not be an ostrich with my head in the ground. My reply was, well i cant just get on with it as you wouldnt physically be able to get my legs open. He just smiled and said yes well maybe we need to tackle why youre like this first such as seeing a counsellor basically. Gave me a number to ring and that was it. Why do i need to be petrified every time i need to see a gp? I had my bloods taken for thyroid anemia etc. Im so worried that the results wont be clear then ill have to go for more tests that ill be forced into such as a smear test. Making my life a misery at the moment again. X

    • Samantha that’s awful, I’d be reporting him if it was me! Would it help if you wrote to them saying atm you don’t want a smear, you can’t “suck it up” and you don’t want to! and that at this time you don’t want counselling?? Print off bits saying smears are elective and the risk of cc is 0.65% but atm you’re worried about the lump? Thinking of u xxxx kat

      • Thanks for your reply. I was told the lump wasnt anything serious and to keep an eye on it. I know the doctors in my surgery just seem to think im an idiot and that i need to get on with it. Well why should i? It does my head in that i feel i need to explain myself every visit. I might look into opting out. X

      • Samantha, you don’t need to explain yourself, take a print-out of the comments made by Anne Mackie with you, she’s always saying pap testing is a choice, your decision.
        This sort of attitude usually falls away when it’s challenged, when doctors are reminded we know the test is elective and we don’t have to suck it up or get counselling or anything else.
        I think the GPs comments were disrespectful and it shows he either doesn’t understand the principles of ethical screening or chooses not to know or thinks you will eventually give in to the pressure.
        If you don’t take some action though, I assume/fear you’ll face the same thing at every consult.
        If you don’t feel comfortable making a complaint or challenging him, yes, opting out might be the way to go.
        It’s disappointing so many GPs still try the “all women must have pap tests” line, once again, there is more talk about informed consent in the UK but it seems not a lot is changing in the consult room. Do they tell patients that bowel screening is a must and recommend counselling for screeners? I doubt it….
        These tests are options, nothing more…

        You could always send them an email saying you’ve checked with the Screening Authority and they’ve confirmed women are free to decline testing, inclusing prostate and bowel screening, they’re all optional tests. No, there is no law that says all women must have pap tests.
        This sort of reminder should make a big difference…they’re hoping you don’t know your rights. Let them know that you do. I know a woman who sent an email, she was “puzzled”…couldn’t understand why the medical association would say one thing and her GP practice another, problem solved. The practice manager apologized for the confusion and misunderstanding, of course, pap testing is her choice and yes, she could decline the test.

      • “Do they tell patients that bowel screening is a must and recommend counselling for screeners?”

        Meant to say “NON-screeners”…sure you all worked that out anyway

      • Im lucky i have such a supporting husband. He says the gps get peed off as they dont get their extra 50 quid, as he puts it lol. Im glad i have some proper knowledge of this from this site other wise id be even more of a mess. The gp also said im putting my health at risk. But because i know the facts, when they say that it doesnt scare me, it just makes me mad as theyre almost lying! Will get my blood results back this week then i will go from there. X

  54. Samantha u really should think about iit! I did and the written invitations finally dropped off. You could always do as Ada and eliz did and write asking that screening isn’t ever mentioned, nor is ANY testing unless it relates to symptoms you present with. You can always opt back in again if you want later. Its your body and you don’t have to get on with having a smear, or even explain why you don’t want one. Its your choice. You might refer the idiotic quack to Anne mackies comments on the phe blog. Its a choice.

  55. Agreed Kleigh, it is. The tide is finally turning and we’re taking control of our lives and bodies again. Since Linda found me, I realise how bloody angry I am at the whole system!! I also know the anger is healthy and that I can vent here in a safe place and heal. May all of u out there, do too x in solidarity, Kat! X

    • How are things going in the UK? Is Brexit having any effect on medical sitautions? I heard that there was more money for NHS, but that could always be a bad thing. Considering they push quite a few of their own decisions & simply bullshit, at the very least.

  56. Brexit..Alex as I understand it we were told if we came out of EU an extra 350 million a week would be pumped into NHS now that’s a no no ( how do you tell of a politician’s lying, clue he breathes)..some say we’ll never leave as parliament is sovereign and has the final vote, the election was just an advisory processes! Watch this space. I’m guessing women and screening don’t figure on anyone’s to do list……

  57. mammograms
    i don’t have mammograms. i one yrs ago, so humiliating. I read that they are cause unnecessary
    procedures i feel they also invasive. i recently read that mammograms have too many false positives.
    Are they another procedure pushed on women?
    i am Dr phobic anyway

    • Diane I was “invited ” to my first mammogram last year, actually a pre booked appointment, and I immediately phoned up to cancel it. The woman on the phone didn’t give me any grief. And I’ve not heard from my GP about it, but I’ve only used the walk in centre once in the past year and haven’t been to GP at all mainly due to smear hassle.
      The UK stats suggest for every woman helped by breast screening 4 others get treatment they might not need which I think is horrible. The mammogram procedure sounds barbaric too. Personally I think there’s less pressure to have mammography… I have now successfully opted out of the UK breast screening programme as well as the cervical screening programme

      • Hi Katrehman – Good for you!

        There’s information out there that says that mammograms actually can cause breast cancer. This is from all of the squishing of the breasts (it is barbaric isn’t it…….) in the machine. It can lead to cell mutations that cause the tumors – malignant, benign or otherwise. I believe breast cancer is real, but I think actual breast cancer is rare – maybe not as rare as cervical cancer, but the actual cases can’t be that numerous or our governments should be spending untold money to find the cause – because that means it’s an epidemic. I hate how they are scaring women into getting total mastectomies from just detecting normal lymph nodes; there are doctors that admit that all lumps are not malignant (thank the Lord for them…….). Lymph nodes are actually normal in breasts. Not all are cancerous. However, the big business that breast cancer is, they scare women into getting total removal. Oh and nowwww there’s this new campaign to get women under 30 in there. The campaign is regarding dense breasts (???!!!!!) Women with dense breasts and are under 30, stand a great risk of getting breast cancer (???!!!!!), so they should be tested as regularly as women over 30. Am I the only one that sees the perversion. Imagine these big breasted young women coming into their male gyno’s to get exams ( a male gyno who’s head of someone’s department at some hospital made the announcement…..); how much they have to feel their large breasts (while getting erections) to detect a lump. Of course they want the younger women because they think they are not just attractive and sexy, but gullible. And then, there’s the profits. No, this new generation is very sexually aware and aren’t having it, but that didn’t stop them from starting this perverted campaign.

        There’s also information about how may biopsies get ruined by sleepy lab technicians, which cause women to be diagnosed incorrectly. I believe the news show said that it happens about 24% of the time. But of course, are the gynecologists really paying attention. Where breast cancer is concerned, they treat women like cash cow science experiments, IMO. Do the gyn’s who make the profits ever consider the full impact on the woman’s life; her emotional state; her marriage? How often do they give the women the options for reconstructive surgery? why isn’t reconstructive surgery a part of insurance now, since doctors at the ACOP and ACOG tell the insurance companies what’s necessary and what’s not. Or do they just think – Oh they can live like that? Since it’s such an emotional disease, not too many people question the women’s decision to have a mastectomy. In the end, it’s the doctor’s responsibility – we know – to tell them the truth. There are also women with Munchausen syndrome who aren’t really sick – they just want the attention…that’s another story. However for those that really are sick and surviving, I support the women out there – I have my pink ribbon and pink merchandise with the funds going to research.

        I’ll never forget on a popular documentary news show in the U.S.- a real news show – the story of a woman who thought she had breast cancer – for THREE YEARS. She went through the tests; got “diagnosed” by two doctors (if you don’t go to independent doctors for that second opinion, you’ll get the same opinion as the first doctor). She went through the chemotherapy; lost her hair; got sick; started saying goodbye to her family. Then, one day – at her last chemo appointment, a nurse (she must have a halo….) sat her down and finally admitted to her that she NEVER HAD CANCER. Her charts were negative. Needless to say, the woman sued their pants off the first gyn. At the time of the broadcast, it was in litigation.

        I remember at my first mammography appointment, I was younger and was a sheeple – lol. I have to laugh now because the nurses and lab tech looked at me as if I was insane…..really…but they did it anyway. Then they told me not to come back until I was over 40. At least they were honest. My GP is a cool cucumber too. He only asks; never pressures me.

        Again – good for you, Kat. Be blessed!

    • Hi Diane:

      I saw Kat’s post, but didn’t see yours right away – I’m sorry; wasn’t ignoring you. Hopefully you’ll read mine: I understand where you’re coming from. That exam is humiliating – and painful – and I don’t believe that necessary. There should be new technology by now that takes the place of the squishing of the breasts. They’ll never make a man put his penis in a vise like that. There are news outlets that like to post pictures of women with the gown off one shoulder getting the mammogram. Since alot of places are declining showing pelvic exam pictures (probably because of the decline in “popularity” of the pelvic exam and the male gynos getting sued and prosecuted, we now see alot of mammogram pictures). Some are posed; some I think they just stood behind the unsuspecting woman and took a picture. – THAT is humiliating and an invasion of privacy…the medical reason is NO excuse. I wonder how many got sued – or had to pay the woman to be seen like that. It’s perverse and exploitation, because we know what’s on the other side of that exposed shoulder.

      Not sure what I sound like some days on here, but I’m not completely against doctors; just the perverted gynecologists ……and urogynocologists…..and internal pelvic floor therapists…(a sham – professional masturbationers for the gullible – or sexually unsatisfied…really….but supposedly they help women with pelvic prolapse – gullible women……there are external pelvic floor therapists – the decent ones who do exercise classes, but read some of the sites for those who do internal pelvic therapy…unbelievable…..).

      Please don’t be phobic of doctors. They actually do some good; they actually serve a purpose. It’s just that you have to be proactive; firm but kind when in their offices; be your own defender and champion. Think of your health first, and your shyness will subside. You don’t have to be combative – no – after all, they have to touch you and if they are good, you want to keep a relationship with them. Rather, just be sure you get what you need out of the visit. I do my research first and go when I must, but I have a litany of questions to make sure I understand what they say (what do I have…what side effects does the medicine have.. if the side effect is this bad, then would you recommend another medication…..what will this treatment do….etc.).

      If you don’t like the one you have in your area, then it’s worth taking the time to find a new one. I’ve been there.

      Be Blessed!

  58. Oh yes, too, Diane:

    If they want to do an invasive procedure – it’s not a bad idea to get a second opinion from an independent doctor. And bring someone with you that you trust to your consultation and if possible to your procedure – friend or family – that will help calm your fears also. They will be your second set of ears and eyes for important procedures – and a good witness – even if they’re just getting updates from the waiting room. It really helps.

    Be blessed!

    • Thanks i will great a second opinion if i need too. i have no one to go with me. i will leave if a dr pressure me to much. I am Dr. Phobic anyway. I do pray before i go a Dr. I have a Dr who is holistic. He treats the person.
      I have had P T SD and Dr. phobia since i was treated abusively by an abortionist at age 20.
      also the hospital where i had it i treated me very cruel.
      I find dealing with medical offices so difficult and anxiety producing.
      I know i am healthy it is the fear i get being in medical offices.

      I have had many bad experiences. i am just turned off by the U S medical system.
      You are nothing but a lab rat!

  59. One more thing – how can I be so remiss: not sure if you’re a praying person, but pray for strength and courage and wisdom and for things to turn out fine – before you even go to your visit. THAT really helps too.

    Be Blessed!

  60. I’m so very sorry about what happened to you, Diane. It must have been terrible. That is good that you’ve found another way to treat your health problems. It sounds as if you’ve found some measure of peace in having a holistic doctor. Good for you. It’s good that you pray.

    There is something about those white wall and that sterile smell. That sterile smell is a good sign that the place is clean, but it still tends to have something – for lack of a better term – sinister about it. That’s because that smell is a sensory trigger to remind of the bad experiences in a hospital or doctor’s office. If I remember all the messed up things that happened to me in the doctor’s office – and hospital – when I have an appointment, I’d never go back – and I’d probably have chronic problems because I didn’t get the help I needed. What’s happened to me is nowhere near what happened to you, but it traumatized me, just the same. Sometimes I draw strength from the fact that I Iived through bad experiences at the doctor’s and in the hospital, and even other bad experiences; sometimes it’s good to remember it that way in case I have to go again.

    It sounds like what happened to you causes you pain in your everyday life, too. Since what happened to you causes you that much traumatic memories, then maybe you can try compartmentalizing. Try putting your experience getting an abortion in a box in your head (notice I said your head and not your heart…..). I know that you’re not going to forget – and forgive me if I sound glib…. But at least for as long as you can, you can file it away…not deny it; not behave as if it never happened, but file it away. That way, what happened to you in that one office will only be one memory. You can kind of choose not to remember for a while if it will get you through. You want to focus on your present and not compound it with your past. Take things moment by moment. Try distracting yourself – perhaps with good smells. The smell of apples cooking is so refreshing (just remember to turn off the oven, take them out and eat them….lol….). Being holistic I imagine you know alot about herbs; I imagine you keep fresh flowers or crisp herbs (fresh parsley is a good wake up smell….) or some scented oils in a straw diffuser. Let the good smells distract you – breathe them in. Maybe you lose yourself in nature; something as simple as a walk will help (there aren’t any bears where you live, I hope…..). I do that sometimes and it makes me forget for a while. At the end, I feel so renewed. Sometimes easier said than done to compartmentalize – but it’s worth a try. You shouldn’t have to live with the pain and fear in your heart.

    ………you said that you’re Dr. Phobic…….can you imagine if there was an actual doctor named “Dr. Phobic?”…….just trying to get you to laugh…lol.

    Be Blessed!

    .

    • hehe that’s funny i do get outside alot. you are right about smells. yes sterile smell is a trigger.
      i didn’t like de smell in drug rehab. it took for ever to get rid of it.
      i am lucky i am healthy i do take armour thyroid ( small amount). i take ativan at night.
      i work out hard do sprint trialthons,
      thanks for your support

      diane

  61. Hi, I’ve read recently that the hpv lies dormant in our bodies, so anyone that has contracted it will always be at risk of it coming back. How true is this? Also in the UK the latest cc posters are stating that “4000 lives are saved every year because of the cc screening programme” is this just scaremongering? My last smear test was 9 years ago and I’m worried that I’ve left it too long and will now definitely have cc 😞

    • They say all kinds of shit. Ask yourself something, though- IF you DID have cancer, what would the response be? What would they “suggest”? Doesn’t sound like they tend toward anything other than the cliche- surgery, chemo, and radiation. It occurs to me that exposure to radiation & toxic chemicals is something that GIVES people cancer. Plus, this weakens the body when you’re in a disease-ridden environment, so you might not die of cancer & will instead die of whatever’s floating around the hospital.

    • Hi Tracey
      I don’t believe the dormancy thing, but it’s a convenient way of scaring women into regular screening, of course, you can get a new HPV infection.
      Take a look at the Dutch program – 5 HPV or HPV self-testing at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and only the roughly 5% who test HPV+ will be offered a Pap test. So most women are HPV- and having unnecessary Pap tests, biopsies etc.
      Some women might choose to test only once, those HPV- and no longer sexually active or confidently monogamous.
      I don’t test at all…an informed decision
      You’re most unlikely to have cervical cancer, it’s always been a fairly rare cancer.
      Also, be careful accepting any statistics released by these programs, I’d say most of it is misleading or incorrect, some is little more than spin.

    • If you are really worried and do not want to see a doctor, google vinegar (acetic acid) cervical inspection. This test is used in India by nurses and I even found an online manual with colour photos. You will also need to get a new plastic speculum, flash light and a mirror. So you can look at your own cervix and convince yourself you do not have cancer.

      Latency of HPV is a lie because otherwise how could the HPV vaccine work? Not all HPV infections turn into cancer. Most heal on their own within two years. Then a person with a normal immune system will be immune to that particular strain of HPV for the rest of their life.

      We have had many discussions here about these topics. Even posted up a few links to published medical studies.

    • Tracey you need to bare in mind that the “4000 saved” figure is simply a “guestimate” and can’t be proven but only “suggested”, also that there are 4 million tests (in the UK) performed each year, over 200,000 will have an abnormal result which can be caused by many natural hormonal reasons, then pushing them through to colposcopy with biopsy & a lot of treatment, over-treatment because of the usual “better to be safe than sorry” crap. I repeat the words – 4 million tests performed each year – to help you put this into perspective, so even if it were true that 4,000 saved it is not a lot out of 4 million, when you take into account the figures for many other health issues like heart/lung disease etc. In fact in the UK we have approximately 7,000 suicides a year, every year! I had an abnormal result 3 times one after the other in 2009…..and I’m not dead yet! No way do I accept being treated for a very slim “maybe” and remind myself that the individual risk is 0.65% for cc meaning 99.35% no risk – this is a rare cancer. You would find the references and education page on this site very useful, please have a look. Relax and take very good care of yourself.

  62. I just found this and I am RELIEVED to know other women feel the same as I do. I felt very alone in that many women I know seem unbothered by pelvic exams and paps, for the most part, or just feel like it’s something they “have” to do. I went once when I was 18 (because I wanted the pill, they insisted I have an exam and I didn’t know any better then) and I never went back. The doctor was cold and unfriendly, the stirrups had me in tears, I do not remember it being painful (though the whole memory seems fuzzy to me) but it was so excruciatingly embarrassing and left me feeling ashamed and abused. I will NEVER go back. I am DISGUSTED by the fact that I can’t even go the doctor for ANYTHING without them asking me to drop my pants. Like GTFOH I am here to talk about elbow pain. They could have easily had self tests by now, but it’s not a money maker sooo…

  63. Hi to all you informed women.I am in NZ and they have finally said that they are going to raise the screening age to 25 in 2018. They are looking at offering Self HPV testing to those women not on the programme or those who don’t screen regularly. This will predominantly be Maori, Pacific Island and Asian women. They are already doing research to see if self testing is acceptable to these groups.Self testing will not be encouraged for those women already screening. Good luck keeping it quiet, I say! I see from the Australian draft clinical guidelines that women who don’t screen regularly will be offered one self HPV test to “capture” them for the programme and thereafter, the invasive speculum test .Maybe Elizabeth can clarify this? No doubt we will be doing the same in NZ.
    My plan is to go to my GP and demand a self HPV test. I obviously won’t be using it, but will use it for educational purposes. It would be interesting if we all did the same. Women who choose to screen need to know there is something better. Our authorities are using the success of the HPV vaccine to justify raising the screening age. Unfortunately, for them, in NZ Europeans there is only 58% take up of Gardasil so the push is .most definitely on and boys will be included from Jan 2017, when Gardasil 9 goes on the schedule. They are so disingenuous and cannot admit that they have been harming young women for years by screening from the age of 20.We are also getting a new website by FCB media to “remove the barriers” women have about screening; a dumbed down website to appeal to those not screening.Obviously the information will be totally unbiased detailing the harms as well as benefits of screening and informed consent will factor hugely!!

    • Hi kiwicelt
      Welcome to the forum
      When you’ve been misleading women for decades, you have to cover your tracks, so we also got the “new evidence” line and the so-called benefit with lots of vaccinated young women/girls. Of course, I don’t believe a word coming from this program or it’s supporters, the evidence usually exposes them badly. They’ve known since the start of this program that they were seriously over-screening women and that young women (under 30) do not benefit from screening. We carried on regardless…worrying and harming huge numbers of women, many of them very young. MOST of this damage was avoidable, as Finland and The Netherlands have shown us. We also did all of this testing and damage with no informed consent and often, there was no consent at all.

      I understand a self-testing option will be offered to women who’ve never screened or who haven’t screened in more than 6 years.
      Women who are currently part of the program must decline the invasive HPV test for 6 years before they can have a self-testing kit, they probably hope most women will cave before then and agree to the invasive HPV test. (of course, women can order a self-test online at any time and pay for it themselves)

      We’ll also, use something other than the Delphi Screener, which is probably more expensive…they can also then tell women that the self-testing option is not as good as a sample taken by a doctor or nurse.
      They’ll put every barrier they can in front of self-testing, it will only be used to mop up those not already in the program.
      They hate women making informed decisions, it’s harder to protect the program with more informed women around, doing their own thing. It’s all about the program and numbers, they couldn’t care less and women’s health, well-being and legal rights.

      There has been on-line chat about HPV self-testing here, so they obviously had to keep these women in the herd, now when you order the Delphi Screener online, you have to nominate an Aussie doctor to get your results. So once again, it’s block, block, block, they have to get their claws into as many women as possible and drag them into the program.

      I don’t appear on any register, so I assume they’ll reward GPs for offering self-testing to women who’ve never screened. I’ll decline, I know the Delphi Screener is easy to use, I know several women who’ve already used it. (actually I doubt my GP will even mention it to me, she knows I have nothing but contempt for this program and it’s disgraceful treatment of women)
      I agree with you, more women are getting to the evidence, more women now understand if they’re HPV-…they can’t benefit from pap testing. (but can be harmed)
      Some women could test just once – of course, this option won’t be offered to women, the program will call for 10 invasive HPV tests, (when 5 would be plenty and HPV self-testing should be freely available) while many women could test just once – those HPV- and no longer sexually active or confidently monogamous.
      Yes, I know men can be unfaithful, call me strange, but I think that’s the woman’s call, nothing to do with the Govt, medical profession or the program.

      If I ever decided to test, it would be in Singapore, far away from our highly unethical program (I’d say it’s a LOT more than unethical!) but I can’t see why I’d bother, I don’t stress about getting other rare cancers so why would I worry about this rare cancer?
      If I was going to worry about anything, it would be heart disease, but I don’t worry, I do what I can and get on with life. It’s madness the negative effect that cancer screening has been permitted to have on our lives….it’s a joke to call it healthcare.
      Stress and worry about a rare cancer is bad for our health.

      Also, I know that I’d be HPV- so testing would be pointless, but even when I didn’t understand the significance of HPV, I still declined to test, the numbers were horrifying, 77% lifetime risk of biopsy (huge numbers were also over-treated) while the lifetime risk of cc was LESS than 1% ….0.65%

  64. The other reason why they’re against HPV self-testing, I know some doctors use the pap test to check for STIs. Sometimes it’s raised when the woman is in position, sometimes it’s not mentioned at all, the woman just gets the results at her next consult. This doesn’t surprise me at all, a GP once tacked the CA125 blood test onto my blood tests, thankfully, I noticed it and told her – don’t want the result, never test me again!
    I know some GPs are against taking young women out of pap testing, they know it doesn’t help them and may harm them, but they see it as an easy way to check them for STI’s
    Some say these woman wouldn’t ask, but agree to it in the pap test context or it can just be done, no harm done. (it might protect her fertility etc. is the justification)
    Once again they conveniently forget that the female body is not medical or public property, they should not be doing any tests without our informed consent.
    Also, where are the dirty tricks to get men checked for STIs, they get them too? (I don’t agree with dirty tricks for either sex, but annoys me the emphasis is so often the woman)

    • You are so right about dirty tactics. I had an IUD at one stage and was informed that the Dr was taking a high vaginal swab to check for infection. Turns out it was STI checks. I was appalled and very angry when I saw my notes some years down the track. I would have declined had I been given informed consent. I check EVERYTHING now, question everything and trust nothing. They tried to tack a PSA test onto a blood test my husband was having so straight in there on the form, “I decline PSA test.”
      We file routine blood test forms in the fire.I monitor my own BP occasionally and I will inform my GP if I think I have a problem.

      • I find that fasting blood glucose or other screening tests for diabetes or cancer ie CA125 are tacked onto the blood test sheet for when I have visited the doctor for something such as stomach ailment. I have also witnessed a man arguing with the receptionist at the blood sampling lab (yes, having to drive to another place to get a blood test is annoying) about the blood glucose test and he said he didn’t want it. The receptionist was telling him “but that is what the doctor ordered”. I am wondering if the legally correct way to refuse this test is to write in the form “patient does not consent to this test”. Does anyone know? Usually now I look at every test requisition form for urine or blood and copy it and look every individual test because they tend to use abbreviations with check boxes beside them. I would cross them out but I don’t know if that would be clear enough.

        Antoher reason why I decline using medical care is because these test results are never shown to me or they will not give me a copy of test results including xray or ultrasound reports unless I pay $30 per sheet of paper. I only do these tests to usually humor my husband such as the last time I had broncitis I had to get a chest xray (useless) and antibiotic which I threw away and used my own OTC cough syrup and herbal remedies, i got better just as fast and not with the side effects of the antibiotics.

  65. Diane,
    I agree, I’ve noticed rude and abrupt people (or just unfriendly) often end up on the front desk of medical clinics.
    A colleague was so annoyed at the rudeness at his local clinic, he complained to his GP and on the way out, after listening to this woman speak to an elderly man in a dismissive and patronising way, said… “you can drop the attitude, you just answer the phone and take appointments”.
    The receptionist was shocked that someone had called out her rudeness, the elderly man thanked him for his concern.

    My GP is one of the rare ones, but even she has some terse people at the front counter, she said they do get some angry and difficult people, but I would have thought helpful, friendly and firm people on reception would be a better fit.

    I’m not sure if my file is marked, “difficult patient”…I think that’s unlikely given my relationship with the doctors at the Clinic, I see two of them most of the time, the others occasionally. My GP is taking more time off, she’ll probably retire within the next couple of years.
    I do think my file is marked though, something like….”this patient has firm views on cancer screening, she does not have pap tests or breast screening, but I’m confident she’s made informed decisions”. That’s my guess anyway, of course, it might also read, “this patient is a huge pain in the backside, don’t mention pap tests or breast screening or you’ll be sorry!”

    When my GP retires, I’d like the option of a Clinic a bit closer to home, my GP is close to my last home, it’s not that far away, but through a busy part of Melbourne.
    BUT having looked at the new patient forms in two nearby Clinics, I’d be fired up to start with, how dare they assume we all have pap testing and breast screening, but of course, the Q is very different with bowel screening? Talk about an obvious double standard…like a brick on the head.

  66. Ladies I couldn’t help it. I just had a real rant over on the cervical screen 1 blog on the piece by Dr moron. Ďont know if they’ll keep it up or nor but I enjoyed writing it

    • Can you give us a link, Kat?
      Like reading rants, especially when they’re about the appalling way women are treated by these programs and the medical profession

  67. The food Dr moron made the point that its a very British way of speaking to ask a woman about to undergo an intimate exam to pop hwer clothes off and hop up on the couch. She also asked us to kwep calm and have our smear tests. So my reply
    I think the point about language being used is very interesting. Smear tests are elective, an option a choice. Never mind pop up on the couch how about the way women who. Choose not to screen are referred to…defaulters,non compliant, underscreenwd, unscreened, smear test skipper, non respondent. Womwn aren’t unscreened under screened or overdue a test. It’s wlexrice.
    We are told screening is a choice yet even on the new “invitations” we area not told how to decline or opt out to avoid receiving future ” invitations “. Indeed we’re not even told we can opt out!
    We never hear the language we make an informed choice not to screen. Instead its assumed we’re too embarrassed or too busy or too scared of the pain.
    For years we were told the teat wasn’t painful or uncomfortable. Now its admitted we might feel pain or discomfort but we should just accept it. Its for our own good. It’s all part of being a woman. Its ” only” every 3 or 5 years. Ddo it so your children don’t grow up motherless.
    We’re not told cancer research UK own figures suggest we have just 0.65% lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer in our lifetime.we have 8% risk of developing breast cancer but is the same pressure pur on UA to get mammograms? No. Could the reason for this be that doctors are paid incentives to persuade us to have smears?
    Its pretty common knowledge that most women hate smears. In Holland women are offered the chance to self test. So much money is spent here on campaigns meant to scare us into testing. Why isn’t this money being spent on self testing kits or improving the teat? Women who do find the test painful or embarrassing are told to grow up and suck it up. I’d the risk of cervical cancer is so great and the NHS so worried why are women being ridiculed? Why isn’t money being spent finding a suitable alternative? Instead we are supposed to be grateful for the fact we now have plastic speculum and brushes!
    Why aren’t we better informed about the drawbacks of screening? False negative and false positive?
    No. Let’s just keep calm and have our smear test!

    End of rant!!!

  68. Thanks, Kat, well done…I love the fact they can’t write any old rubbish and get away with it anymore, no wonder these programs have always fed women propaganda rather than the evidence, they certainly view informed women as a threat.
    I notice some sites and articles on cervical screening don’t permit comments….I wonder why!
    Once they could censor, ban, lie, mislead, close threads, now that’s getting harder and harder.
    It’s taken decades but I can feel the power dynamic starting to swing our way…

  69. Kat
    I was starting to think I might not see change in my lifetime, can’t tell you how I feel about the increasing numbers of informed women….those who see what’s been going on and why it’s completely unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if this test saves a fairly small number of women, that does not make the test…compulsory.
    For too long we’ve seen recommendations in women’s cancer screening being treated like laws, to the point were even consent could safely be ignored, in fact, it was encouraged. GPs are still rewarded for reaching targets, it’s treating women like numbers, cervix no. 256
    How dare they trample over our legal rights and worry, traumatise, harm and abuse huge numbers of women and say that’s okay (behind closed doors) because they save a few lives?
    I was speaking to a woman recently who lost a premature baby, he was born after her cervix failed, she had a cone biopsy at 20…it just makes me sad for her and her her baby born, they knew at the time that young women would be harmed by this testing, that the evidence really didn’t support testing them, but we kept testing and over-testing, massively over-treating…with devastating results for some women.
    Some of these women accept these outcomes, assuming they were saved by the Pap test…but more are certainly working out that was unlikely to be the case, esp. with young women and those seriously over-screened. Some believe the program didn’t know testing was high risk for no benefit back then, not true…and even now we’re told to keep up with two yearly testing from 18 until the new program starts next year. I wonder how many young women will have biopsies and be over-treated this year?

    • And of course none of those geniuses noticed that it’s stated in the article that screening ‘saves 2,000 lives a year’ when the official leaflet claims it’s 4,000!

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