Unnecessary Pap Smears Discussion Forum

This post has been created to provide an additional forum for discussion, and is a continuation of the old Blogcritics’ Unnecessary Pap Smears discussion.  The original Blogcritics Unnecessary Pap Smears discussion had more than 10,000 comments, but the comments were deleted following changes to the Blogcritics’ site.

Fortunately, the comments from Blogcritics have since been recovered and are preserved here: http://unnecessarypapsmears.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/over-10000-lost-comments-on-unnecessary-pap-smears-find-a-home/   This post also provides a ‘part three’ continuation of the ‘part two’ discussion forum that exists on this site: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/09/22/discussion-forum/

Thank you Alex for suggesting the addition of an open forum devoted to discussion on this blog.

1,878 comments

  1. Ada, an interesting article, I’ve read a fair bit about the watch and wait approach that was adopted in NZ by Dr Green.
    Dr Green was very concerned about over-treatment, he could see it was a huge concern with women having conizations and hysterectomies for CIN 3, including many younger women who may have wanted children.

    He was certainly right about over-treatment – I was astounded when I finally found some research showing the lifetime risk of colposcopy (and usually a biopsy) under our program was a huge 77%

    It explained why so many women were being referred with “abnormal” results. I’d like to know the lifetime risk of having abnormal cells removed, that must have been high too because it’s just so common – so many women have had “bad cells off”…

    I note they talk about ignoring informed consent back then, I’m not sure there’s more respect for informed consent these days, I think the profession has been very slow to view cervical screening as elective and one that requires our informed consent.

    I still see Clinics mention on their websites that women on the Pill “need” cervical screening…quite clearly, that’s completely incorrect, the two are unrelated and no one “needs” screening.

    There’s still a lot of resistance here, controlling women and their bodies is still firmly in place here, that’s why self testing is only for women who decline the invasive test, the so-called hard to reach groups, and the self test has to be carried out in the doctor’s rooms or in their toilet.

    It’s also why the Delphi Screener (last I heard) can’t be purchased by Australian women, if you want to self test, you have to self test within the program. I noticed the site was blocked shortly after the new program started, think it had been possible to order the Delphi Screener online for about 4 years – but (from memory) your result was sent to your GP. (so they could still control the woman)

    I do wonder how many women have actually been helped by all this testing, the cancer was always rare here and in natural decline – seems to me an awful lot of grief could have been avoided.

    When we’re considering tests to screen for a rare cancer, it’s important to weigh up the impact it might have on the vast majority who’ll never have an issue with the cancer – that certainly wasn’t done in cervical screening, harm was maximised with far too much testing and early testing.

    Yet most simply say the program is a success story – if you save some women, and the numbers would be low, rare is rare – how can you justify the damage this program caused to so many women, those who would never have had an issue with cc?

    I don’t think you can…it can only be justified if the health and well being of the majority of women is considered unimportant.

  2. I’m 32 years old i live in the US and I have never had a Pap smear or any of those procedures . I received a call from the clinic reminding of an appointment that I never made for a Pap . Since then I haven’t slept ate or maintain focus I’ve been stressing it I ended up in a depression because of that stupid call !!!! Ughhh pls ladies I need your support!!!!

    • First off, Esther, calm down. I’ve worked myself up into a sleepless anxiety-fueled depression over these too. Your body, your choice. No means NO. Cancel that appointment which they made without your knowledge or consent. You have a legal right to refuse any medical procedure, test, or treatment – and that’s much easier to enforce if you don’t go into the clinic, and don’t take your clothes off.

      • Yes I can’t sleep I wake up every hour I’m trying to be my old self but, the call got me really depressed! And not to mention anxiety . Thanks for hearing me out

    • Hi there Esther, I know how you feel, I’ve had pap smears since I was 19, luckily they have always come back normal, my last one was just over 3 years ago and I’ve decided not to have anymore, I’m 47 and have had enough of trotting of to the drs every 3 years, getting myself into such a state of anxiety, and then being anxious for 2 more weeks waiting for the results, I would feel quite liberated at my decision, but because I have health anxiety and have had some bleeding issues for 4 plus years, i worry that I’m doing the wrong thing, I hope I can put it behind me, but it’s now made me phobic about having sex because of a incident of bleeding after sex 7 months ago, unfortunately that’s the last time I had sex with my husband of 30 years poor man as it scared me, also i recently had a 7 week period, anyway sorry for going on to long, if there is anyone who can tell me about there issues and how they dealt with it, also I do not smoke, only ever had one other partner before him, but the drs and media make you feel like cervical cancer is rife, and theres also the conflicting issue, does hpv reactivate as you get older, all these thing just add fuel to my anxiety, I’m convinced i must have cc, as this is what we are being told all the time, i just need help to get over this.

      Thanks ladies

      • The way to get beyond health anxiety is with real information – such as from a reputable medical journal, and actual statistics. In the US, it’s slightly more likely that you will die of CC than die of being hit by lightening!

        A 7 week period, missed or skipped periods, very light or very heavy, is part of normal perimenopause, which I would expect at 47. I dealt with it by just “dealing with it” – always wearing a pad since I could not predict.

        If HPV “reactivated” after years of dormancy, that would fly in the face of the whole field of immunology or virology. Pathogens run their course. Sometimes, their course is a lifetime. If things could go away and reactivate, no one who had mumps, measles, chicken pox, etc would have immunity, nor could vaccines possibly work at all. Yet, at the same time they claim that HPV (uniquely) “reactivates”, they give people Guardasil vaccines. No, you might become re-infected, as immunity tends to fade with time, but does not reactivate.

        The more you look for CC, the more likely you are to find it. There are “incidentalomas”, which are cancer, but so slow-growing they will never bother you (but the treatment sure can!!!), or false positives. Do enough tests, even with low odds, and you’ll have a false positive. If a woman follows the current US guidelines on screening, even with a “low” false positive rate, she’s got a whopping 77% chance of having a “follow on test” over her lifetime – biopsy, LEEP, even hysterectomy – all with inherent risks and pain. Well, that’s better than the 95% it was with the schedule of “annual” from puberty to grave.

  3. Thanks for making me feel a little bit less anxious and less scared about the situation. I just hope I can get through this !!!! And be me again !!!!

    • Make it clear to them that penetrating your vagina is not something open for debate. Your refusal is final, and not open for discussion or debate. If they try to coerce you by refusing you some other medical care because you refuse a pap (an optional screening test!), that could be considered rape by coercion. It’s just as coercive if a doctor refuses to treat your real medical issue if you will not allow him to penetrate your vagina (by instrumentation) as it is if another professional will not provide their professional service if you will not allow them to penetrate your vagina, if an employer makes it a condition of your continued employment and paycheck that (he) will penetrate your vagina, or a firefighter will not extinguish the fire or rescue your children and pets if you do not allow (him) to penetrate your vagina.

      Get them on record. If it’s legal in your jurisdiction, record the conversation.

      • I’m going to do the no call no show and blocked them this is stressful for me . I want to smile again and all this got me sooooo depressed 😭

  4. Thank you
    I will do the no call no show better all of this is to stressful for me to deal with . Thank you for your kind and empowering words . Life in the US is very stressful and difficult. I can’t keep feeling like this !!!!

  5. I was just researching anti-fungal creams, and it brought back unpleasant memories of being absolutely grilled and interogated by a chemist/pharmacist as to WHY I wanted a vaginal anti-fungal cream.

    I used to battle ear infections a lot, and whenever I was prescribed antibiotics I always ended up with vaginal thrush afterwards, which scientifically was to be expected. I absolutely hated going to the chemist to get thrush cream because I was never allowed to just buy the vaginal cream. As soon as I said the words, ‘vaginal thrush cream’ the chemist’s ears would perk up and the grilling would begin –

    ‘How did I know I had thrush?’,

    ‘Have I seen a doctor?’,

    ‘What are the symptoms?’,

    ‘How long have you had the symptoms?’,

    ‘Have I had more than a few thrush inffections that year?’,

    ‘How do I know its not a STD?’,

    Blah, blah, blah blah.

    This always infuriated me no end. It’s a level of surveillance of my vagina (or any womans vagina) which is so unnecessary. Because the stupid creams are kept behind he counter, there was no way to avoid the ‘interview’ to see if I was a stupid, clueless woman who didn’t know what I was talking about.

    I always fought back with my own questions.

    ‘Why does what my vagina is doing matter to you so much?’.

    ‘Why do you presume I’m stupid?’.

    ‘Do you think I’m going to stick it up my nose instead of my vagina?’.

    ‘Do you think I’m going to stick it up someone else’s nose?’

    ‘Why do you think I don’t know what thrush is?’.

    ‘I’m a biologist and know a hell of a lot more about candida albicans than you do, so cut the crap!’.

    ‘Of course I’ll see a doctor if this dioesn’t clear up or I develop more serious symptoms, why do you think women can’t think for themselves and need to be told?’.

    ‘What is it about being female that you think means we’re all empty-headed?’.

    I used to send regular emails to the pharmacists guild here in Australia saying that treating women like stupid little children over thrush is quite offensive and not based on reality. I was always told the same thing – this is a controlled medication, you might have something more serious, we reserve the right to question you, what if you have diabetes, blah, blah, blah. So nice to know that the bad treatement of women coems from the top! Which is just a repeat of being treated like a stupid woman! As if anti-fungal cream is dangerous…. (big clue here – it isn’t!!!!!)

    I did used to try buying it on-line but when I did, I was either called or emailed the same stupid questions. Of course, sometimes I just lied and answered the questions like a good little girl with the ‘expected’ correct answers, using a bored robotic voice. And then say thank you for allowing me to have this precious gift of anti-fungal cream, and I promise to use it as instructed and not kill myself or anyone else, with it!

    Since I had several operations on my ears I haven’t had to deal with getting the cream, but I’ve just had a quick research of comparing vaginal and foot anti-fungal creams, and guess what? They both contain the same amount of active ingredient – Clotrimazole 10g/g. There is no difference between the two. The vaginal one, of course, is more expensive than the foot one. And the vaginal one comes with an applicator.

    So if you, like me, resent being treated like a moron, then just buy the foot anti-fungal cream instead. No questions, no problems. You might need to buy the vaginal one ONCE to get the applicator stick, but after that make sure you clean and dry the plastic applicator (some are paper, some are plastic).

    I think all of this is just an extension of the same old medical treatment of women. Men get respect and asked what they prefer or want. Women get TOLD what we’re having, and not allowed much say in it (especially when it comes to our reproductive parts).

    Anyone else had this done to them when they tried to get the cream?

    • YES! I only get the cream occasionally but the last time I did, it was so embarrassing. I asked for the vaginal cream (like you, kept behind the counter and brought out by the male pharmacist) and was asked if I would be applying it to the external skin, internally or both! What business of his is that!!??

      Thanks for the info about the foot cream similarities, that will make it much easier in future!

      • You’e welcome Bec! It’s so ridiculous. And asking if you were using internally or externally?! Holy cow. I have no words. Should have said, ‘Oh, did I say vagina? Silly me, I meant my big toe!’. LOL

    • Oz this is shocking, it’s also juse another big con by big pharma to rake in the profits, I remember over here I think it was Nurofen being told off for marketing Nurofen specially formulated to attack period or headache pain faster when the active ingredient was still ibuprofen, which can be bought even more cheaply as the generic ibuprofen! Obviously the “targetted” Nurofen was wayyy more expensive. ….

  6. I’ve never had a pap either, and I’m in my forties. After researching all the facts (which doctors never tell you) and finding out the payments which doctors get for performing a pap, I’ve always declined them. It’s a battle sometimes, and I get the disapproving looks/speech, but I will not jump on the pap merry-go-round for anyone. If I have symptoms, I might have one, but otherwise, no way. The risk of getting cervical cancer is so damn small, I’m very happy to forgo a pap test.

    Same for mammograms. I will not get routine ones and I wil certainly refuse to participate in the screening programs. And I look forward to the day I turn 50 and start getting the automatic appointments and demanding letters, because I’ll give them hell!! My body, my choices.

    I believe that as long as you research the pros and cons, know what the symptoms are, know what the diagnostic tests are, and make careful choices about how you will procede, this is the best thing to do with paps or mammos. Don’t let yourself get thrown under a truck with painful testing or demands for this-or-that. Be informed and tread carefully, and stop seeing a doctor that demands your compliance!

    • Oz, no one ever gave me a hard time over mammos, at 51 I got my first “invitation” , pre booked summons actually, with a request to please cancel if I wasn’t going, which I did purely so someone who actually wanted it could go, opted straight out, never a word even though at first I was still hassled about smears after opting out.
      The topic came up incidentally when I sought help for menopausal sweats and flushes and was emphatic, no HRT. The doc asked why no HRT and I said: not convicts safe and anyway I de idea no cancer screening and there’s a link btween HRT and breast cancer? She asked from curiosity why I didn’t have any screening and I explained my reasons for both smears and mammos. She couldn’t actually disagree with anything I said and I left with clonidine. There’s less pressure here for mammos and the one off bowel scope, and after covid I think they’ll strugg9to get smear uptake back to even before it was pre lockdown!

    • Thank you OZ I thought I was alone yes I’ve never had a Pap reading a lot of testimony of all the lady’s that have never gotten a Pap is making me feel better about myself !! And less anxious

  7. I have to say, when I had very serious bleeding problems with heavy periods, no doctor was ever concerned with that. I was refused help over and over again. Its amazing what ‘things’ the doctors treat as serious and what they don’t, because theire doesn’t seem to be a lot of logic in it, and they’re still guided by out-of-date ways of treating women.

    My heavy periods started in my teens and I would regularly miss school because I could not leave the classroom often enough to change a tampon and pad every 15 minutes (teachers would get abusive and derisive and say I was ducking out of work and should go to the toilet before or after class! And these were female teachers). I was abusively told by doctors that I was whinging whenever I asked for help with the heavy bleeding. I was even denied blood tests to see if I was low on iron when I was becoming absolutely exhausted! And that is ridiculous.

    I had a nervous breakdown and became suicidal when I couldn’t finish my university degree and graduate because my periods were so heavy, I physically could not sit through exams (which were 3 hours long) if I had my periods. A super tampon and super pad would last 15 minutes – if I was lucky. Sometimes as soon as I changed myself and stood up, the blood would flow straight out and I had to start over again.

    I did end up getting my degree, by appealing and obtaining special permission to have exams re-sceduled whenever I had my period. It was a battle though. The admin staff always gave me disapproving looks. I felt like a bad student for causing a fuss. I should never have had to go through that but I have no doubt some women at uni still have problems like I had and they struggle to get help.

    Becase of what I went through, I now treat doctors and the medical profession as more than a bit useless, and I carefully pick and chose what I will or will not do.

      • Hi Kat, yes, I was seeing a lovely psychiatrist and she put her foot down, saying this is ridiculous that you can’t get help. She found a gyno who would perform a MEA (microwave endometrial ablation). Then it was fixed! I now have very light periods and one mini tampon will last for 6 hours.

        The whole point was that no one would help me because ‘help’ consisted of making me infertile (which the MEA does, up to a point). I’m childfree and have never wanted kids, and we all know what doctors are like about THAT when women say they don’t want kids. Women are still not allowed to decide that they won’t have kids. Your reproductive rights are not yours.

        The gyno that did my MEA told me I must not mention her name to anyone as she could get in trouble for doing it on a woman in her thirties with no kids.

        It’s the same problem that women have when they want their tubes tied. Oh, we can’t do that, you must first have X number of kids, and X of each gender, and you must be over X age and your husband must give you permission! It’s just insane.

  8. Oz just glad you got it sorted it’s disgusting what we have to put up with! I’ve always said if men had periods they’d be given free period products on the NHS or at the very least wouldn’t pay tax on them as they’re classed as a “luxury “ item apparently!!

    • Hello Esther. I have been reading some of your comments with regards to screening and the hassle you seem to be getting from your healthcare provider.

      I couldn’t agree with BethKZ that the most potent weapon in your arsenal may be reputable medical journals.

      Thinking of ways to dodge medical professionals’ inquisitions has been a feature of all my surgery visits during my reproductive lifetime (a sad reality, really).

      What has helped me the most is refusing to engage with them in a firm, but polite manner.

      Whenever the point has been raised, I have found ways to shut down the conversation as soon as I have been able to do so.

      Telling them, “I have made an informed decision not to screen” has usually worked.

      Medical professionals – particularly nurses – often whittle on and on. They sometimes don’t take no for an answer and will try to keep the conversation going as long as possible in order to get the answer that they want.

      They often lull women into a false sense of security, who may divulge sensitive non-health related information during their consultations.
      For example, they might discuss their current relationship, how long they have been sexually active and how many sexual partners they’ve had. Many women are naive to the fact that this information is often recorded. They are not friends and they are not to be trusted.

      Be mindful that some of them may try to discredit any sources that you provide them with.

      When I was once asked why I didn’t screen, I told them that I had researched the evidence and had made an informed decision not to screen. She accepted it. Another doc tried pushing further but backed down when I politely repeated the fact that I had made my decision.

      I give them no excuses, no reasons and no justifications because they don’t need to know.

      If you do choose to confront the situation, perhaps a short telephone call or brief letter would be sufficient.

      It isn’t easy to confront this of course. I avoided docs throughout my late teens and twenties but felt confident enough to say, “no” when I reached 30.

      I thought what is the worst that can happen? What can they realistically do if I refuse screening?

      I readied myself for the foot-stamping and the toy-throwing that might ensue, but being firm worked for me. I use the approach during my work settings too if I’m dealing with representatives from partner organisations who try to bend the rules or blame me for things that do not go their way. I find it largely works and it can feel empowering once I’ve gotten over the daunting feeling of having to challenge them.

      Back to screening, if they were to get tetchy, threatening or abusive, you could always politely remind them you have a right to decline under the law, and if they persist, you will consider legal options.

      Deal with the situation in the way that best works and feels most comfortable for you. I just thought I’d share my experiences and what has worked best for me.

      Good luck and keep us updated as to how the situation is going for you x

      • EDIT: I meant to say that I couldn’t agree *more* with BethKZ’s comment in my 2nd para. So sorry 😲

      • You read the actual science and medical journals for yourself – to help you decide that screening (or any other medical test or procedure) is not worthwhile – or you might decide that something IS something you want and would help you.

        When you’re in the room talking to them, you will lose if you start debating the research and science. They have spent years reading it, and looking at it, and siding with that which will make them the most money or sides with the medical status-quo. They don’t want to rock the boat.

        When you’re actually IN the office, you give them a firm “NO”. Penetration of your vagina is not open for debate.

      • Thank you Apocalyptic Queen
        I’m glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t had a Pap smear I’m 32yrs old and I’m petrified of just thinking about it I needed up gettin ptsd because of that stupid call !!!! I’ve been searching for ppl like me one lady said that Pap smear is slavery shit and that she refuse screening !!! But still they shouldn’t be scaring women to getting this scary painful test !!!!!

      • Ah, the “Pap smear is slavery”. There’s something to it. Look at the background of how the pelvic exam was developed, and how the speculum was developed, and who the test subjects were. They were literal black slaves in the southern US. The speculum exam was used to effectively torture (poor) sex workers in the UK before 1900… many of them chose to forgo this “exam” and just spend the time in Old Bailey. If you look at how the speculum was developed, it’s got its origins in The Pear – a torture device used in the Middle Ages when looking for witches/heretics – They expanded the orifice (mouth, vagina, or anus) painfully, and caused tears.

        The similarities to slavery are striking in that they feel entitled to your body – as if THEY own your body. I’ve mentioned that back to the 16th century, one fundamental right of a free person is bodily integrity and bodily autonomy. The medical field has a strange idea of what constitutes consent – different than in any other situation.

  9. Reverting back to the issue of Covid-19. As you are probably all aware, there seems to be a lot of people challenging what they perceive to be, as “excessive” control by the authorities in an attempt to reduce incidence and transmission of late.

    I do not personally agree with all their arguments especially given the prevalence of Covid, put the point being put forward is a familiar one (to us).

    “Why should medical and governmental bodies have the right to store sensive information about us, and monitor our data, when the risk of dying of Covid is in the region of 0.6%”?

    They say, that as it is a disease which primarily affects the older population and those with co-morbidities, then the level of monitoring is excessive.
    80% are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of the disease.

    Given the fact that around 40k deaths have already been partially or fully attributed to this illness since the pandemic started here in the UK alone, including around 2,000 people under the age of 65 who apparently had no underlying health conditions, then it is difficult to fathom how virtually no one has asked similar questions of cervical screening.

    When you consider the lifetime risk of contracting cervical cancer is 0.58%, the risks posed by further treatment, that only 5% of CIN I and no more than around 31.3% if CIN III ever progresses into cancer within a 20-23 year timeframe, the invasive nature of the test, lack of informed consent, that NHS Trusts stores data on our health profiles including sexual health etc, and that they need our addresses, contact numbers etc to mount a successful screening programme, this programme is excessive by anyone’s standards.

    While I don’t necessarily agree about the arguments concerning Covid, I do wonder how a programme that is far more excessive and intrusive than track and trace, seems to have escaped scrutiny, and even wonder whether people might see screening in a new light or whether they will predictably, plod on as usual, and fail to recognise that the screening programmes and the surveillance that comes with it, are far more intrusive than track and trace.

  10. Hi ladies I’m still trying to overcome this anxiety I sign up to the website women against stirrups !!!! I just want to be me again and forget about the Pap test or cc but it’s hard !!!! You guys words id wisdom help a lot pls keep giving words of wisdom thank you

  11. Beth
    Thank you for the information
    I’m still a little anxious trying not to think about it !!!! I hope I overcome this depression…. pls give me words of wisdom!!!! I’m tired of thinking about paps and crap like that !!!!

      • Esther sometimes there are lapses here where no one seems to be posting- that is partially due to the fact that many of us live in different time zones in the US as well as the UK amd Australia. Just know that we are all here for you, supporting you. You’re stronger than you think and by sharing your experience with us you have also helped others with similar thoughts know they are not alone.

  12. Awww thank Judy
    I really need every ones support and words of encouraging I never thought this was going to affect me sooo much i hate the feeling of not being able to control my mind! The system is corrupted and is harsh !!!

  13. Are mammograms really necessary in a healthy over 55 women? I am healthy had no mamos since 2000 , my body my choice, but my sister is a chain smoker and now has lung & breast cancer because of this, I have been getting pressured by my family Dr and as well my Insurance company and the mammogram place.
    They all said because my sister has stage 3 breast cancer , I need to come in right away and have a breast exam and mammogram because I have breast cancer as well, does this seem right are they trying to scare me? There is NO history in our family of cancer of any sort, my sister got cancer because she is smoker and didnt take of herself,what are the chance of me having breast cancer being related ?What should I do? I dont do paps or mamo’s as it is my body and my choice.

    • You don’t “have” breast cancer just because your sister does, unless YOU have been diagnosed, using such things as exams and biopsies. Yes, they are trying to scare you – the #1 product that medicine has to sell healthy people is fear. “Health scare” is a better term for this.

      It is likely that your sister got breast cancer from smoking – possibly mestasticized from lung cancer. It is possible that it went the other way, possibly caused by genetics that remained recessive in your family for generations.

      Yes, it’s your body and your choice. You don’t need to be hounded in the name of “health care” to be sold some tests and treatments.

    • Hi Kathleen! There is some evidence to say breast cancer runs in families because of a certain gene, but it’s not absolutely certain, and breast cancer can happen for many reasons, not just a faulty gene. It is entirely up to you if you want to have a mammogram or not, it is YOUR choice, not theirs.

      I would skip the manual breast exam entirely as it is incredibly unreliable. Mammograms are not good at screening either. I would sit down, go through the evidence for and against screening and make an informed decision. Don’t be swayed or bullied by doctors or other women who say you MUST get tested. Make a decision that seems fair to you (test or don’t test) and stick to it.

      If you decide to have a mammogram, you will also have to decide what to do if something is found. Breast biopsies are pretty barbaric and often not necessary.

      You can decide not to test and instead be aware of anything that changes with your breasts like an inverting nipple, rashes, orange peel skin, breast shape/size change, nipple discharge, things like that.

      Treat doctors like used car salesmen – don’t believe everything they tell you and do your research so you don’t get conned into something you don’t want or need. That’s what I do.

      • What I dont get why do they think I have breast cancer ? because my sister does? Are the chances really that high that I have breast cancer because of my sister ? I do my own breast exam every month, there is no lumps bumps anywhere. Confused by all this but, I do not want to be dictated or bullied by the medical community into getting a unnecessary mammogram.

  14. What I don’t get what if my sister did not smoke and yet she still had cancer in her lungs and breast but no family history ,does that mean that I have a higher percentage of having breast cancer? how do they base this ?

    • Statistically you are indeed more at risk of breast cancer since your sister has it. However that does not mean you will get it too and you should still study the harms vs. benefits of mammography and make your own decision without being pressured. Google “harms of mammography” and it should show articles with more balanced info instead of the usual cherry picked stats put forth by radiologists and others with vested interests. Stage 3 breast cancer is still considered early stage that hasn’t spread to other parts of the body so therefore your sister likely has two primary cancers, breast and lung.

  15. Off topic flippant and irreverent but I can’t stop laughing! I’ve been binge watching a show called Tattoo Fixers where dodgy and offensive tattoos get covered, this woman came in wanting the letters TOLO covered up! I had no clue why it’s offensive, apparently it means, TITS OUT LEGS OPEN!!
    That’s offensive? It’s what is victims of bikini medicine are expected to do, it’s a vital part of our “ healthcare” we’re told!!!

  16. Some women are extroverts and don’t mind exposing their private parts to anyone. Be it for tattoos, jewellery or any other reason they feel is viable. TOLO is just a big laugh.

    Many of us are not like that. I was a young woman of 22 who had just got married looking to refill my pill prescription.

    The doctor insisted on giving me a smear test that I didn’t want and was unready both mentally and physically for it.

    The repercussions to my life have been enormous. That is why I post here often. And I’m sure you’ve all read my comments filled with anger over what happened to me.

    I was made to feel I had no control over my body. The doctor, his practice nurse backed by the NHS could do whatever they wanted to me. I was made to feel I shared my vagina with these people.

    No man would ever be made to feel as though he shares his penis with the medical establishment.

    When most of Britain was out clapping for our so called heroes I did not. I would not clap these people. They are not my heroes Carona virus or not. The hurt, anger, hatred runs too deep.

    Their mantra is very much ‘Tits out – legs open’ At the moment they have been shut up because of the virus but as soon as the virus is under control they will very quickly return to this modus of operand i.

    My love to everyone who comes to this site.

    • Made my day too! No mention that cc is rare and the test is inaccurate. COVID is a killer, it is stupid to say women should not let it stop them coming into a healthcare setting. The nonsense about smears just keeps rolling on…

      • If they would just tell it like it is:

        CC has always been a rare cancer, and it presents symptoms before death. We have a very inaccurate and uncomfortable test for this – and because of its inaccuracy, you’ve got to be re-tested frequently. We understand that going into a healthcare setting these days poses a significant risk of COVID-19, a disease which is deadly to a measurable percentage of the population. Nonetheless, we urge you to come into our clinics if you are well and have been taking prudent social distancing, masking, and hand washing steps to avoid COVID-19, so we can be sure that you do not die of CC, but take an unnecessary risk of a pandemic which has killed over a million people.

        Note that if you die of COVID, you will not die of CC! Moreover, if you are in the US, you will have the opportunity to spend an additional $100K for COVID treatment, in addition to the $30B which the healthcare industry spends to evaluate this one rare cancer.

        We understand that you may be apprehensive. Don’t be. Just have a cigarette or three before coming in, as lung cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer of women, as well as men. We won’t evaluate that one. Thank you for understanding.

    • Ada made my day too, what next? Health bosses having Zoom meetings to discuss how to increase uptake, and a socially distanced awareness campaign??
      What flabbergasts me is that nurses are doing smears at all! In between each patient her room would have to be completely wiped down and aired out; it means she sees less patients include in the asthma clinics diabetes clinics etc….. ppl who REALLY need her time!

      • I’ve been unable to get the results for the UK, even though the new Key Performance Indicators for up to April have been published. They are usually about 6 months behind in cervical screening so will be out in November. Prepare to be inundated with propaganda campaigns to get the punters through the doors in November, although we may be into a whole new lockdown by then!
        Figures for up to April 2020 are available for breast screening, however. Overall uptake for England is 55%, with regional variations but no place even reaches 60% uptake.
        I think they are concerned about being overwhelmed with uptake in the periods when COVID figures are low, but I think they flatter themselves. I don’t think the breast screeners were overwhelmed with uptake when they had a cockup with the letters last year. I think it’s more a case of women realising it may not be that vital after all, and prefer to leave it.

      • I do sometimes wonder if nurses like the power that comes with something like being a “cervical screening champion” or similar. Many have made it their mission to bully and push patients so they wouldn’t want their “thing” taken away from them…especially after years of saying how important it is.

        I completely agree though, time and resources should be moved to those that actually need them. Focus on the sick, not the worried and paranoid well.

  17. I have been lurking on this website for a while now without posting. I just wanted to say how refreshing it is to find a community where I would not be considered irrational and some kind of dangerous extremist for having misgivings about screening. I’ve decided to post here because my eyes were opened recently to the fresh hell that is young girls being indoctrinated in school PSHE (personal, social and health education) lessons in Year 10 (age 14-15), to sign up unthinkingly for the smear test. I came across two lesson plans, designed by Jo’s trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust, to be delivered in school to Year 8 and Year 10. The lesson for Year 8s (12-13), focusses around the vaccination, and does state as part of the learning objective that girls should understand it is their choice. The lesson for Year 10s around cervical screening, though, is solely focused around helping girls ‘understand how important screening is’ and ‘increasing uptake’. No discussion of informed consent and bodily autonomy, no information about risks and benefits, no information about the true prevalence of cervical cancer. There is even a section for boys, where they are taken to a separate room to discuss how to encourage girls to go for the test. One of the most disturbing things about the lesson is the ‘what’s stopping you from going?’ resource, pink-washed of course, complete with pictures of handbags and speech bubbles with “I just don’t have time” and “it might be embarrassing”. It’s just priming young girls to have unkind and shaming conversations with their peers as they get older.

    I would always support someone to access screening if they have made an informed decision and decided it is what they want. I would even go with them and hold their hand. However, I am horrified by the way women are coerced, bullied and fed disingenuous information by GP’s, PHE and cancer charities and now our young people are being brainwashed in school. The worst part of it is that if I were to even mention this to the women I know, I would get the same horrified, quizzical expression I do when I say that I don’t believe screening is as simple a choice as it’s made out to be. It seems I can only watch from the side lines as more young women are herded unthinkingly towards screening and the potential complications that can arise.

    • Gem, that is absolutely horrifying. Oh my god. Teaching boys how to bully their girlfriends into having the test? That is truly pathetic. Talk about brainwashing the young into obeying the system!

    • HONESTLY! Teaching boys how to pressure their girlfriends to open their legs for TESTS? The line, “‘what’s stopping you from going?’ (to bed with me/down on me)” is as old as time, but this shows them more effective ways to get a “yes” or at least “okay” from the girl.

    • Gem, I saw one of these teachers who appeared to have used one of these “lesson plans” in class, boast on twitter about it. Another male teacher appeared to have passed by at the time of this lesson and told the class how his partner had been identified with “abnormal cells”, which teacher said made a big impact on the class. I had to challenge her, and said if my daughter had been in that class I would have made a complaint to the headteacher. The test is a choice, and school teachers have no business terrifying girls into seeking medical overtreatment they likely don’t need. Uppity teacher got back to me in a patronising way. I replied with the truthful medical statistics they don’t want women to know. Never heard from her again.

      • Yes, I saw a similar thread on twitter recently. It was full of teachers talking about their PSHE lessons and how they are ‘normalising’ screening and trying to make sure the girls all comply when it’s time. I lost track of the “I wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t found my pre-cancerous cells, I would be dead and wouldn’t have my wonderful husband and children”, the “I just don’t understand why it’s such a big deal”, “having a smear is much better than cancer” and one teacher who said “I tell my Year 10s if they are ready for sex, then they are ready for a smear”. When it was pointed out how comparing sex with a medical procedure was inappropriate for numerous reasons, the teacher recanted it and said that the point they were making was about being “responsible for your own body”. When they were challenged about implying that women who don’t go for screening are irresponsible, they disengaged from the conversation, although at least they did say they had taken the points on board. Having a screening is a personal choice and a nuanced decision that carries risks of overtreatment and associated side effects, as we all know. If I had a daughter who was told what to do with her own body in that way, I would also be writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to the head teacher.

      • @ Gem:

        Heck, at least they backed off and said they were taking the points on board. Maybe it was deflection,maybe they were honestly understanding that it’s not a binary good/bad issue, but time was there just dogpile any dissenters with near-hysterical accusations of being a diseased, irresponsible whore whose very refusal to screen is callously costing other women their lives, as if your lack of a pap test can physically cause other women to develop cc or as if cc is some kind of toxic pixie dust that unscreened women literally emit from their very pores at all times.

      • Gem: Yes, the saying, “If you’re mature enough to have sex, you’re mature enough for a smear” is a real set of bovine excrement. One thing has nothing to do with the other, although I do feel for women who have the first other-person penetrate their vagina being a doctor. As others have said many times, consent is lacking for this test. The saying is much like, “If you could have sex with Person X, you must be willing to have sex with me too!” It’s a line and both coercive and abusive.

        Demonhype, I literally laughed outloud with the notion of CC being caused by a cosmic pixie dust that comes from the pores of unscreened women, and threatening the lives of others because of our choice not to screen. It seems to be the notion though that the pro-screening hysterics have though. How are WE costing THEM their lives?

        As I’ve said before, if someone wants to avoid contact with any pathogens or abnormal cells which may be present in my vagina, they are invited to stay OUT of my vagina!

  18. Actually, they do mention the risk of cervical cancer. This is how they frame it:

    In the UK, the lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer is:
    • More than 1 in 100 (1.65%) without taking cervical screening (smear test) or the HPV vaccine into account
    • 1 in 142 (less than 1%) for women who go to cervical screening1.

  19. Oh dear ladies looks like a colleague of mine could be the next victim of the Cervical screening programme! 59 and found a lump down below (Bartolin cyst?) by time she saw doc it’s gone but doc referred her to hospital, that doc couldn’t find it, but of course did a smear! It came back HPV_ but abnormal cells! She is confident monogamous and has been for years and has one letter saying , your negative at no risk of cancer and then another “ inviting “ her to colposcopy on Monday! She doesn’t know what to think!!

    • This is the very problem with screening. It puts you on a conveyor belt of harm and they won’t stop investigating her until they can find nothing over a period of years. The GP doesn’t want to be the next evil doc in the Daily Fail who missed a cancer, the hospital doesn’t want to be the next in the news for missing a cancer either or there will be an investigation, so even if they find nothing there are likely to be follow ups until they can cross everything off their lists. All this, and we have COVID escalating and putting more wait times onto those who have already been diagnosed with a disorder. Screening creates patients and women who no longer trust their own bodies.

  20. Ada I think she’ll go, I was very careful what I said , and reminded her abnormal isn’t cancer, and that most abnormal cells go back to normal on their own, suggested she looked at CRUK for stats and left it at that. She knows I don’t do the screening thing….

  21. Update, my colleague talked to her GP who advised her to have the colposcopy as apparently they might need to go further up as they saw something. So tomorrow she has to have a covid test, then isolate for 3 days , then have her colpo!!

    • First Dr says couldn’t find anything, but now they think they might have seen something! They always seem to see something. However, I hope it goes well for her. I hope it doesn’t lead to a hysteroscopy. This is where they put a long narrow camera through the cervix into the womb, and can take biopsies with this. I follow the UK hysteroscopy group and they are strong advocates of women being given full information about this procedure which UK hospitals are financially incentivised to do with no anaesthetic. About 25% of women suffer severe and traumatic pain. Women are supposed to be fully informed and know that they can stop the procedure at any time and request a GA, but women are rarely informed of their rights, and the procedures have been nicknamed Trick and Treat procedures.

      • Wel update on my colleague ladies!! After all that, they didn’t do the colposcopy! As she’s HPV – and then they decided the cells were ok after all, they just checked for any more lumps and bumps of which there were none! Bikini medicine at its best

      • Glad your friend is OK, but how much did it cost your friend in time and worry, how many NHS staff were involved? There have been a few petitions set up by women demanding to have cell testing brought back as they don’t think a HPV test is enough to confirm no chance of abnormality. Just goes to show how unreliable the whole thing is and how they make up this abnormal cell rubbish as they go alomg..

  22. Ada thank you, I was wracking my brain trying to remember what hysteroscopy was called of that makes sense! She talks to me, and I’m her Union Rep too, so if further tests are mentioned I’ll bring up the cons of hysteroscopy…:

  23. Does anyone follow lalalaletmeexplain on Instagram? She has an absolutely massive following of women who hang on her every word. She has just done a whole story about smear tests, as well as a podcast with Eve Appeal. She does acknowledge that screening can be difficult for survivors of sexual violence but says that survivors just needs to find a way to make it more tolerable because a smear is “still better than having cancer” due to missing a smear. It also contains such gems as “if you can have your vag waxed, you can have a smear” and how sad it is that women will tolerate painful sex but will miss a ‘vital and life-saving test’ just because it might be painful. I just don’t understand the constant conflation of smear tests with sex and can’t bear the patronising comparisons to cosmetic (non-penetrative!) procedures. The inference that anyone who ‘misses’ a screening is doomed to be struck down is so misleading and manipulative too. At no point is there any discussion of risks vs benefits, prevalence, nor any respect for the right to bodily autonomy. The fearmongering and incomplete information make me so angry.

    • I think they’re really working on the younger women right now, and finding screening champions who can get a following. I think a lot of them are planted. It’s all screen or you’ll die messages, no evidence to allow young women to think for themselves. I don’t do instagram, but I do twitter, and is full of women boasting how they’ve gone for their first test and it was fine. Everyone else must go because they’ve suffered this shit, so other women should too. I really dislike the way it’s made into a rite of passage that all women have to go through, almost like a religious experience that washes your sins away. What good girls they are!

      There is still a lot of argument in the UK about the propaganda leaflet referring to people with a cervix rather than using the word women, because they don’t want to exclude women who’ve changed sex. I can’t understand the anger this has generated. Most of them saying they’re concerned other women who don’t understand won’t realise it’s for them. Absolute tosh! This screening test sets women against women, shames and degrades them with misinformation to coerce and bully. I’m always glad to see the take up rate go down and down. The silly middle aged women who’ve been brainwashed since the 1990s are gradually falling off the age window and it’s a joy the see young women being not nearly so fooled by it all.

      • The erasure of the word “woman” from health literature is more about the advance of Queer Theory. Breaking down the boundaries of what is male and female. This is also happening in any literature to do with menstruation and birth. Naturally, because it is a misogynistic movement, you will still find plenty of references to “men” in anything to do with prostate cancer or anything else male.

        It does make it more difficult to discuss and weigh up risks and benefits when one of the key words has been taken away or has been altered in meaning. This helps obscure the truth, especially for more vulnerable groups.

        The screening leaflets are designed to give us the information, whilst at the same time encouraging us to draw the approved conclusion, so it only matters to screening authorities if it discourages many attending. They work on a one size fits all policy, so they probably will not notice if the women not attending are those more at risk. Too busy rounding up the refusniks.

  24. Hi ladies it’s Kat, minus her WordPress blog and cat avatar, this is the new me! And Ada you’re right how can even a woman transitioning not know she’s a woman?

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