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.

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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443 Responses to Unnecessary Pap Smears Discussion Forum

  1. adawells says:

    Some people are saying this is sexist and shouldn’t be done nowadays but I had no hesitation entering what object of female oppression I would want to throw into the rubbish bin!

  2. katrehman says:

    I submitted a comment too…Let’s see what happens

  3. Demonhype says:

    my comment:

    “Speculum, stirrups, gynecology itself. Abusive, infantilizing, makes $ pathologizing female anatomy, stripping women of informed consent.”

  4. Kate (UK) says:

    There was a mention a short time ago about nurse training for smears leaving a lot to be desired. I’m on a FB group for women who have problems after Leep, and a lady posted about her experiences, here’s part of the post:

    ‘I had Lletz 6 years ago, following CIN3 which was deep and widespread. I was also cauterised due to a heavy bleed from an artery which was damaged. This was done without any pain relief as it was an emergency (the heavy bleed started once I had gone home). The whole situation was traumatising to me.
    6 years on I am STILL having extremely painful periods. I was warned my cervix was extremely small and I was told I had scarring.
    Well, this week has been the final straw after a failed smear test attempt. The nurse can’t find my cervix and I’m due back in 2 weeks where there will be 2 nurses to prod and poke about.
    My last smear test was 3 years ago and it was extremely painful to the point of tears down my face. I am terrified of going back for my the next attempt.’

    I advised her to avoid those nurses at all costs – see a trusted doctor and explain the problem if she’s still intent on having testing. It sounds very much like the nurse was a noob, lacking in skills or experience, and this idea of having two nurses present the next time sounds like a training exercise! How on earth can anyone with any compassion think it’s ok to traumatise a patient like this, just so they can get a freaking sample?

    • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

      Tell her to purchase an HPV self-testing kit online and tell her to firget further testing if she’s HPV-

      Tell her she’s had the LLETZ done despite a 20% chance of getting cervical cancer and that this has not been xommunicated to her to keep women testing.

      What they have done to her amounts to savagery.

      And tell her to file a complaint against those numpty nurses!

      • Kate (UK) says:

        I did mention the HPV self-testing, but you have to be careful in a group like this not to come across as too militant – many of them are recent victims and are still dazed and confused. I do try to put some real info across but I don’t think it always sinks in.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        I’m usually only ever militant with the avid pro-screeners on the Daily Mail though!

        Ah, yes. And they are victims who show trauma as a result of the callousness that they have experienced.

        She needs time to think about other options and whether she even wants (or needs) to go back to that appointment. Those nurses are way too eager and need to back the hell off. It’s another consequence of dismissing women’s fears about this test as if it’s nothing.

        I agree with you about the message not sinking in. Rarely do I have anyone responding to me about this online, after they’ve given me a deluge of verbal abuse.
        Some of them will claim to be curious about the Delphi Screener and start asking questions about it. Only then do I get the sense that they’ve taken on board the fact that there are other options out there.

    • adawells says:

      Absolutely shocking. Her HPV status should be a priority for checking before anything else is done. This is the problem I have long suspected with the UK programme. In the US you have rained gynos doing this job, in the UK they have moved the same procedures to semi-skilled people with basic medical training. None of them have extensive knowledge about the test and what they are doing. Passed from one procedure to another. This must go down in history and the pooled comments from these support groups become public knowledge of what is really going on. So sorry for all these harmed women. Thank goodness I got out when I did.

      • adawells says:

        I meant “trained” not rained.
        Another thought on this is that I honestly think this is why they’ve hurried in the HPV vaccination before thorough testing, because the harm caused by smear testing has been more severe and widespread than they planned.

      • Kate (UK) says:

        I beg to differ, Ada. Merck lost billions due to the Vioxx scandal, I think they were just desperate to find something else to fill up the coffers. If the powers-that-be were at all concerned about the harms caused by this god-awful test, they would have spent the millions they squander on ‘awareness’ campaigns on researching a more accurate test.
        But no, there’s an industry, and it needs to be fed.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        The only “silver lining” with this is that it is easier to challenge a nurse who knows sweet FA. You’d hope wouldn’t you that a woman seriously contemplating whether to opt out of the cervical screening programme, would be put off by someone who hasn’t a clue what they’re saying, let alone doing. The saying, “knowledge is power” really couldn’t be truer in this situation.

  5. I’ve often wondered why male contraceptive options have been so slow in development, or so it seems…
    A scientist told me about 8 years ago they could make a male pill but it was viewed as “ not sufficiently commercial” so not enough money in it. I’ve heard that men wouldn’t use it, women wouldn’t trust their partner to use it, but I also wonder if like the go-slow with the development of a non-invasive screening test for cc, they also didn’t want the freedom a male pill would give to some women. We know the pill consult is always used to get women screened, so they definitely wouldn’t want women, perhaps a lot of women, with no need for the pill or that consult.

    There’s a push here for access through a pharmacist, obviously to save Medicare all the unnecessary consult fees, especially now the program calls for less testing.
    Naturally, the AMA and others are screaming that it’s unsafe for women…such hypocrites, they’ve knowingly over-screened and over-treated women from the very beginning of this program…so many women left with damage, psych and physical damage. We all know who they’re worried about and it’s certainly not women.
    They’ve blocked access to the Delphi Screener here, shortly before the new program started, IMO, to force women into the program, even if it’s self-testing on their terms.
    The profession and other vested interests have used women appallingly, change has only occurred as more women became informed and/or walked away from the screening program. (Often after a traumatic experience with over-treatment)
    But…It’s getting harder and harder for them…and that’s a very good thing for women.

    Just remember 77% of Australian women who followed our program (most forced or misled) have had something done to their cervix…and to think the cancer itself was always rare in this country and in natural decline. Speaks volumes that the medical profession were so aggressively in favour of this testing…and on any terms, coercion was even acceptable to get to that cervix. It shows a shocking lack of respect for the female body, and for women generally. I’d say it’s far more than a lack of respect…far more.

    • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

      I recall that a similar argument was made about the HPV vaccine.
      Can’t risk losing all those women can they?
      Smelling a rat, a few women were (rightly) questioning why smears would still need to be undertaken despite the introduction of the vaccine, and were given the feeble response, “well, the vaccine doesn’t cover all strains of cervical cancer”.
      Yet, even as some of them (reluctantly) acknowledge, adenocarcinoma starts higher up in the cervix so it is almost impossible to detect via a smear!

  6. Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

    I’ve been thinking about these new “awareness” campaigns (every new “trendy” cause sesms to have one, sick of hearing about them to be honest), that they plan to run in the new year.
    Much has been made of offering women “flexible” appointments, ie. Tesco open all hours surgeries.
    I have also heard of them rabitting on about employers and how women don’t want to ask their employers for time off to attend screening.
    Without giving too much away (lest one of the pro-screening minions might be monitoring these threads), I hope they’re not thinking of hassling employers about this.

    • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

      I know that some local authorities have explicit policies stating that you can take the time off to attend screening without incurring a day’s leave but get this… any “follow-up” appointments would be classed as annual leave. Rather pointless considering 63% of women “require” LEEP or cone biopsies under the conventional system.
      With regards to mental health and other social issues, there have been drives to train and “raise awareness” amongst employers. There can be pros and cons to this. The cons may mean some employers “monitoring” their staff’s behaviour, coming to unfounded conclusions, and potentially, being overly intrusive.
      My fear is that in order to increase take-up, there might be some drive that sees employers being encouraged to hold some very awkward conversations with their female staff.

    • Kate (UK) says:

      I think in most cases this line about not being able to get time off for screening is just another excuse, really, an easy way to wriggle out of confessing they just don’t want a bloody test! Why on earth would a woman need to explain to her boss what the doctors appointment is for? If the boss asks questions, it means they’re either concerned for your health (or whether you’re going to be an asset or liability), or they’re the kind of git who work their staff to the bone and throws a fit if you want time off for anything. Either way, you’re not obliged to explain the gory details, a ‘routine health check’ should be adequate.

      Remember the Demos ‘research’ where they were pointing out that when women developed CC the poor old government was missing out on their hard-earned taxes? (Boo hoo.)
      With working women expected to take time off to get tested, go for investigation, surgery,
      recovery, health problems caused by ‘treatment… if I were running a company, I would view screening tests as a liability to my business.

      So, apparently lots of women want to go for testing but can’t get time off work, or can’t get an appointment, but at the same time we’re told we’re not going because we’re stupid and lazy? Hmmm.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        I agree that they are making excuses because they want to avoid confrontation.
        I’m raising this point because I’m due to start another job. And having read through the T&Cs, I’ve seen a reference in there to taking time off to have smear tests. I’m shocked too and most women wouldn’t dare tell their employers what they need the time off for!
        But with this “can’t get an appointment” $hit, Jo’s Tosh has really jumped onto it. I’ve seen more and more awareness and training for managers for all sorts of issues recently.
        And don’t get me wrong, I agree it can be a good thing, but I’ve also seen enough to also spot a few negatives.
        A woman in an organisation was pulled in for lack of performance. Before she’d had a chance to think, she was disclosing all sorts and was referred to Occupational Health. It later came out that she was being bullied by the very manager who’d vonducted the referral. I suppose this can highlight that the problem was “nipped” in the bud, but it can also show how symptoms of under-performance can also be blamed or presumed to be as a result of that individual’s “mental health”.
        I know of an organisation whose staff was trained to recognise symptoms of DV. One member of staff was approached during a 1:1 and was asked if she was being abused – her unwillingness to discuss her private life (she’s a private person) and her love of long-sleeved tops cited as a reason.
        The shortcomings of being “over-zealous” in their approach can equally be as damaging.

        Going back to my point about screening, the Jo Tosh propaganda has obviously been picked up by some employers over the country who have felt it necessary to include a proviso that women be given time off to attend screening.
        But my concern is that as with other social or health issues, the discussion of screening (such as, “have you been screened recently”, “do you need time off to attend your screening”) becomes the proverb of employer-employee discussions as a result of these ever more militant awareness campaigns and hare-brained ideas conceived by the likes of Jo Tosh and PHE.
        Hopefully, they won’t be able to venture down that road and maybe I’m just being pedantic about the whole thing.

      • Kate (UK) says:

        You know, there are a lot of ill-informed men who think women are privileged to have our lady parts put under surveillance and are angry that men don’t get equal treatment when they should really be counting themselves lucky. The imbalance is turning some of them into misogynists. I can only imagine what these men would think of us lucky ladies if employers make special allowances for women to trot off for their oh-so-vital smears. What if a man wants a PSA test, is he allowed to bunk off for a few hours too? No? Sexist!!!
        It’s all getting so ridiculous.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        Kate – They do inadvertently highlight an interesting observation though, which is, why are medics so obsessed over women’s parts in comparison to theirs?!
        I feel like saying to them, be my guest! At least, there’d be more “equality” in the misdiagnosis, and the overtreatment rates!

      • adawells says:

        Our GP surgery is part of a group, all of which cover different opening hours, so if you are mobile you can get an appointment anytime, anywhere. Staggered that so many are saying they cannot get an appointment. As you say, they are probably wanting a reason not to go, and this is as good as any.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Consent has never been respected for women, add the enormous pressure placed on us to screen, along with all the scare campaigns and many women feel they need an excuse not to screen. Over and over we’re told not to be embarrassed, doctors and nurses see thousands of women, the test is painless etc. etc.
        So women look for a neutral excuse that throws it back on the medical profession, women know not to get into a debate about screening with GPs.
        Now some couples were virgins before they met, I know a couple of women who were admonished by their GPs for declining Pap tests – “if your partner has an affair, you’re at risk of cc without pap testing”. Or, they were told all women should test regardless…
        Don’t give them anything they can use against you, Papscreen have provided doctors with a list of ways to combat any “excuse” you might produce…

        The program didn’t want women assessing their risk because it would have been obvious that screening would help very few, the risk of cc was so small. I think it would have been impossible to get huge numbers to screen when the risk of cc was so small, especially when the test was invasive. (painful for some women & initially the test was carried out by male doctors) In fact, the test was unacceptable to many women which should have ruled it out as a population screening test, but no one asked us, or wanted to know, we were TOLD that all women must or should screen…if they were responsible, mature and wanted to look after their health.
        It didn’t come out for a long time that HPV was a sexually transmitted infection, again, they didn’t want women assessing their risk profile.
        So I don’t believe all these women can’t get appointments, we all know that when we’re motivated, we’ll find a way, reality is…most of these women want to exercise their right to decline screening but the way the system has been set up the only way they feel they can…is to say they can’t get an appointment. It’s only been fairly recently that some women have felt safe enough to say, “I don’t want pap tests,, I don’t need to explain my decision, I don’t need an excuse not to screen”…
        I think it’s a good idea to simply say to GPs, all screening is elective, I’ve decided not to screen or something general like that..if you get attitude, send off a complaint to the Clinic – it’s only then that they’ll get that..yes, we do have a choice.
        A friend in her late 40s told her GP she wouldn’t be having breast screening, her GP replied, “wow, you’re brave”…she replied, “on the contrary, I think the women who screen are the brave ones!”…
        Sad thing is most haven’t a clue about the actual benefit and the risks with breast screening, I know many screen in ignorance or out of fear or to comply with medical recommendations.

  7. katrehman says:

    The sun newspaper has run an article about self test kits for women who don’t attend screening! Eve appeal are in favour too….

  8. katrehman says:

    They can hassle employers but I can’t see the employs giving in. I work in a school and we have draconian policies. A routine smear would HAVE to be booked for weekend or holidays and those wishing to attend mammograms are asked if they can change routine ones to holiday time. If they really can’t then it’s grudgingly given as unpaid…..so good luck with that one Mr Music…..

  9. katrehman says:

    I should clarify even a routine doc or dental appointment would 99% likely be refused in term time too….

  10. Kleigh says:

    I was having a conversation with a coworker. She confided in me that her 25 year old daughter had never had a Pap smear. I’m 34 btw . Well she also mentioned that her daughter was having bad cramps and periods back to back. I really didn’t wasn’t to argue with Getz. A few weeks latter this morning she was cheerful and said that she took her daughter to her wonderful Gyno. That she was diagnosed with indo. Then she proceeds to ask me when was my last gun exam and where do I go? I was like I haven’t had a gym exam in years I’m 34 and that was when I was 17 to be clear. I also told her that I had faith in my body. She then wanted to refer me to there wonderful gynecologist. I was polite but she got the message I was not interested and left it like that. I’m just like what business do these woman have asking about others exams . I just can’t . What’s wrong with these woman. And I did it want to know about her daughter going . I feel so annoy. Has Nyone experienced this where woman are raving about these gym and try to push others to go too. I just can’t.

  11. Kleigh says:

    Sorry my I phone changes my words. I hope you could undewhT I was saying.

    • Kate (UK) says:

      And this is why this paper is known as the Daily Fail. The UK is lagging way behind other countries and yet due to these idiot reporters, the people in this country have no clue what’s going on. I note there are two photos of a woman in stirrups, ffs, as if one’s not enough! Hey Daily Fail, if you’re going to start wittering on about British women, don’t use a stock photo of an American clinic, it’s false advertising, ok? Idiots.

      • adawells says:

        Equally sick of these stock photos.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        Let’s face it, it’s a very conservative paper with antiquated views about women and their place in society. We know why they’re using those photos don’t we.

        But let’s look at the positives here… those photos are hardly going to encourage young women to go out and get tested are they??!

        Another own goal there Daily Fail lol.

    • Speaking of stock photos, today the lovely Dr Phillipa Kaye, smear pusher and Jo’s Trust mouthpiece posted a series of photos comparing a speculum to a nutcracker!

      Apparently the comparison is amusing and supposed to encourage women to go for a smear. Quite a few of us expressed outrage and she has since deleted the crazed post. Not only is it ridiculous but a nutcracker is hardly the most gentle item in the kitchen.

      I guess anything passes as ‘awareness raising’ these days. They seem so desperate which deep down, kind of pleases me.

      Sorry if this posts twice but worded slightly differently. WordPress was in a grump and said the first one didn’t post.

      • Apocalyptic queen (UK) says:

        The desperation amuses me too and gives me great satisfaction 😁

        Are they trying to give speculums a festive twist? 😂

        You should have told her that a “nutcracker” was an apt way to describe her and the rest of the lunatics at Jo’s Toss.

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