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. my comment:

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

  2. 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?

    • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • I am the founder of the group for talking about LEEP problems on Facebook. It is so horrible when this happens as there is no warning about the possibility of this level of destruction on the cervix. And when they go back for a smear the nurse will often say that she ‘’can’t find the cervix’’ as if it’s somehow hiding away when in reality so much hasbeem removed that it’s hardly there anymore.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

  6. 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…..

  7. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  8. I recently started working with some all woman staff . Doing elderly care. Every single one of these woman has discussed going to their gynecologist with me. I hate it and feel triggered. I don’t want to know anything about there exams. To make matters worse one of the older ladies told me her daughter who is 25 has never had a Pap smear before. She was raised out of state with her dad. She has come to live with her mom , my coworker. Well a few days ladder this same coworker was bragging about how she took her daughter to her gynecologist and how wonderful this doctor was. She looked confused when I politely declined her phone reference. “ she’s wonderful can I give you her number “. My face went white. I told this coworker that I did not see doctors unless I was having symptoms. She looked so confused and I am 34 never had a Pap smear. I didn’t know how to discuss this with all these brainwashed woman. You can live a life with out Pap smears. I just had to vent.

    • I also dislike women discussing the intimate details of their lives with me, medical procedures, women’s “problems” (sometimes in an office with other men) etc. If it’s in private with a friend or confidante who wants someone to talk to someone, then that’s fine with me. But I dislike preaching by other women about things like screening, pregnancy, romantic relationships, breastfeeding etc. It’s got to the point now that I will openly say, ” that’s private. I don’t want to discuss that. Thanks”.

    • Hi Chas, this is all over the HPV vaccine. Cochrane produced a review giving the vaccine the green light, but Goetzsche wasn’t satisfied and said not all the research had been reviewed, and there were reports of severe side effects which were not being investigated, but big pharma pushed the review through and are behind Goetzsche getting kicked out of Cochrane. All very sinister, because the Japanese withdrew the vaccine because of adverse events. What do they know that we aren’t allowed to find out? I’ve heard that Cochrane is now in the pay of big pharma and is no longer the independent body it once was.

      • Yes, it’s concerning that they didn’t really address Peter’s concerns about the review of Gardasil. I read their response…and wasn’t convinced that was the full story.
        Peter has always been a no-nonsense, very direct sort of person, naturally, you’d expect him to challenge any research that falls short or recommendations that are not supported by the evidence. I’d be very cautious with Gardasil, i’d never accept official recommendations, we know the vast profits that flow from vaccines and screening means vested interests usually influence recommendations.
        Expelling Peter from the Board certainly won’t silence him, if anything, he’s likely to be even more outspoken. I sometimes wish Peter could dial it down a bit, I know some dismiss him as a bit of a ratbag or conspiracy theorist but I understand his anger.
        When Peter referred to big pharma as organized crime, I understood what he was saying but I know that reference was viewed as an exaggeration by many…and they stopped listening.
        I have enormous respect for Peter Goetzsche and a few others at the NCI…they gave me the information I needed to decline mammograms. When everyone is silent or just accepting of official recommendations, people like Peter and his team are our guiding lights. I’ll continue to follow Peter…and will be cautious with NC reviews in the future.

  9. Thanks for your replies and info Ladies x I have just seen this today which is interesting.
    A new test for cervical cancer was found to detect all of the cancers in a trial of 15,744 women, outperforming both the current Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test at a reduced cost, according to a new study.

    • Very interesting…they say it’s better than hpv testing and women will need fewer tests; I assume it’s another invasive test. Fact is for most women who want to test, a hpv self test would do the job and should take lots of women out of testing. I suppose this test may help to identify the small number of hpv+ women likely to have a real problem.
      Thankfully, this research may provide some answers with other sorts of cancer too, i’m amazed at the seemingly limitless resources available to conduct research into cc and cervical screening. Very little progress has been made with brain or pancreatic cancer…the former takes many young lives. Also, those diseases that take quality of life like Parkinson’s disease or MS…in recent years here, millions has been raised for research to find a cure for MND.

      • Or if they’re so fixated on women’s health, where’s the reliable screening test for ovarian cancer? This cancer is considered rare but it’s much more prevalent than cervical cancer and takes many more lives. The fact that women are expected to undergo an invasive “well woman” exam each year when it does nothing to reduce the incidence of this deadly cancer is truly an insult to our intelligence.

    • A really interesting read. First time I’ve seen the accuracy of the pap smear honestly given so low a rating in any paper. Makes you wonder if the HPV vaccine has all been a waste of time.

      • Whenever I hear of something new in the women’s screening space, it makes me nervous, because screening is done to women, it’s never discussed with women or freely offered. (and can be freely declined) Also, the people making those decisions usually do what’s best for them and other vested interests, what’s best for women barely gets a mention.

        For example the pap test was used conservatively in the Netherlands and Finland (they followed the evidence – so far fewer tests and not before age 30) so far fewer women were harmed by over-treatment.
        Other countries knowingly launched into excessive and non-evidence based screening harming huge numbers and reducing the quality of life for screened women generally…

        The HPV test is used WITH the Pap test in the States, there’s no additional benefit to women using both tests, but that practice makes a lot more money for vested interests with all the confusing results.
        Here we’re doing HPV testing from age 25, the evidence says NO HPV testing before 30 – the evidence has also been clear for many years, pap testing is of no benefit up to age 30 but leads to lots of over-treatment. HPV testing the right way should mean far fewer tests and many women walking away after one or two tests. Self testing should be freely available too…if this testing was really about doing what’s best for women.
        So a new development is not necessarily a good thing for women, it may well be used in a way that puts us in harms way yet again.
        The only way to protect ourselves is to get to the evidence, make an informed decision and stand firm – I know that’s not easy when we’re dealing with the industry called women’s cancer screening.

      • I wish I knew what’s cooking in the UK camp. At the moment we have some parts of the country, like Wales, which have fully switched to HPV as first test, and some parts of England too, but we still have the old 3 yearly recall going on with no sign of any announcement that this will extend soon. So if a 25 year old in Wales, you will get first summons at 25, then 28, then 31, so 3 HPV tests before age 31. Fortunately uptake is as low as 63% in under 30s, but even still this is a lot of women putting themselves at risk of colposcopies in this age bracket. And Jo’s Tosh and other charities really gunning for the young women to go.

      • Wow! Thank you adawells for the link. Although its a start it will still be kept aside for a long time, probably more than the 5 years they state.
        I wonder though how many women from the herd will actually read this, or even understand it, as most I speak to who have had an abnormal and Lletz just don’t get it at all. Most don’t even know what HPV is let alone anything else. Shameful as they are so uninformed. And of course “I’m a cancer survivor” attitude applies “I could be dead now if not for the screening and treatment”! Its like they almost want it to be cancer and never open to any other explanation, so maddening it is! Thanks again, and lets see how many comments it gets, i.e. its all about cost and letting women down crap! Theres one there already.

      • It would be wonderful if the urine test could be brought in asap. Would assume nearly all women would visit their GP at least once in 5 years and the sample could be given then. No need to send out all those letters -they must cost the NHS a fortune. But what role then for Jo’s Tosh, just what purpose will they have? They seem to be very pro self-testing at the moment. It leaves me wondering if they want to push self-testing kits because the recall business and social control will still be in place for years to come and a lucrative business for Crapita and Virgin?

  10. Wow I’m so glad i got the stupid jab at 16 and felt like crap for 3 days after possibly for nothing/sarcasm. At least we finally have something concrete to reflect what we already knew about paps.

    On a brighter note I’ve successfully opted out of paps! I explained my position to my midwife and she agreed that the benefits probably wouldn’t outweigh the risks in my case. She also said that pelvic/breast exams aren’t really recommend anymore without good reason so I’m not likely to need one. She did counsel me on symptoms of infection/cervical weakness and did a urine test for cultures.

    I also opted out of glucola! I’ve had an aversion to sugar and most carbs since I fell pregnant so it’s unlikely I’d be able to tolerate it. Even then dumping tons of sugar in after having little for several months will likely trigger a false positive. No way in hell am I going into hi risk over a stupidly innaccurate test! She advised most who get GD have preexisting abnormalities and ordered A1C along w the other bloodwork. If the numbers are off she’ll order me supplies for self monitoring. She even offered to look into doulas for me! So far I have felt very empowered and supported by everyone at CMMC. Maybe there’s hope for the ones like us afterall!

    • It sounds af if things have greatly changed since I had my kids in 1990’s! Best wishes and hope it’s a great experience and you get everything you wish for!

  11. I felt really uncomfortable as they chased up young women here, really young women, including teenagers (a few/some were tested before they were 17) Of course, at the sametime they were doing research into Gardasil, cross checking Gardasil records with the Pap test records of young women – one senior doctors openly said that the cervical screening program should not be changed, raising the age o

  12. Sorry, my cat posted that for me!
    As I was saying, it was stated the screening age should not be raised UNTIL the research was complete – it was also, stated that Australia was in a unique position to do the research because we were one of the few countries still testing young women. It shows you have brazen they are, perfectly happy to test unnecessarily and to risk harming healthy young women.
    I did read somewhere that the UK is not moving to HPV testing until late 2019, I’ll see if I can find the article.

    • NZ is still testing from age 20 right now, and Scotland only very recently raised the age from 20 to 25 in about 2016 – many years after England raised the age to 25. Seen a few times that this is for comparative research studies. They really don’t care. All that matters to them is their research and keeping the guinea pigs in the dark. Couldn’t care less about women’s feelings or experiences.

  13. Thanks Elizabeth (Aust) Another good start but still I find somewhat late, and still the usual invasive exam to our precious cervix.
    This part stood out also looking at results, letters, leaflets etc.
    We are working with screening services, academics and charities to look at the current invitation and result letters and leaflets used in the programme for the public. The work will reflect the findings from a psychological evaluation carried out in the HPV primary screening pilot sites which looked at how women responded to being told about HPV primary screening.

    I have just seen this link too but I think the must/should screen will still apply: https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/21/a-busy-productive-and-challenging-year-for-screening/
    Millions of people benefit from screening each year and we usually make the headlines for all the right reasons. As you know, that has not always been the case in 2018 because of issues with the arrangements for inviting women in the breast and cervical programmes.
    All these resources give NHS screening providers powerful tools to help make sure people understand the screening they are offered and to participate if they wish to.
    We are currently consulting on screening for 9 different conditions, including breast cancer and cervical cancer, and the evidence team has already started work on reviewing a further 27 conditions in 2019.

    Another 27 conditions……it just gets worse! How much do they want to spend on screening when the NHS is at absolute breaking point! It simply can’t cope with it surely?
    Capita gets another mention….investigating why thousands did not get the summons! Maybe a disgruntled worker caused it….or an informed woman? Wishful thinking LOL

    • I agree, Chas, with concerns re the invitations, etc. Why do they need to do a psychological evaluation for heaven’s sake? Do they think we’re incapable of making the right decision for ourselves? Just give us the facts in the leaflets and put a reply slip on the bottom of the letter for those of us who have made an informed decision to opt out, it would be much simpler. I’ve been trying to opt out for the last 2 years. I’ve received 5 invitation letters in that period, despite following all the PHE/NHS guidelines on opting out, and was amazed this week to receive my third (yes THIRD) letter/disclaimer from PCSE saying “I understand that you do not wish the NHS cervical screening programme to invite you for future screening tests. I enclose the leaflet NHS cervical screening helping you decide, which explains the benefits, bla bla bla” Er, well, this is actually the eighth copy of this leaflet to grace my recycling bin, and if I’ve written to them on numerous occasions telling them I’m opting out, I’ve obviously already made that decision so why send another? Are they hoping I’ll come to my senses and stay on the programme??!! I returned the previous 2 signed disclaimers mid-November (strangely they arrived within a week of each other and I returned them both separately), so what’s happened to those? At this rate, I’ll be getting another standard invite letter shortly. Anyway, I will be signing my disclaimer AGAIN and sending it by registered post. I had recently made a complaint to PCSE which is why they have sent a disclaimer(s) (they have never responded to my requests in the past) and they are supposed to respond to complaints within 40 working days, so I should be hearing by 14 January. Watch this space… Thanks ladies for all for your advice which keeps me going!

      • Hi Julie,
        This sounds terrible. Can you threaten them that they are in breach with the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)? It’ a hot topic in the NHS at the moment, and they should stop sending letters as soon as you’ve asked them to stop.

    • The obsession with screening is very sinister.

      I don’t believe they are as interested as they claim to be in disease prevention. This is all about monitoring people’s bodies.
      In the case of cervical screening, I’ve always believed it was a case of outdated science underpinned by the desire to monitor women’s sexual activity.
      Some women would undoubtedly be very open at their test and encouraged or even asked to divulge intimate details of their private lives, such as number of sexual partners, type of contraception used, thus providing a very interesting source of data for their GPs. Those GPs could then use that information at a later date to tell them that they are “overdue” and how important (given the circumstances) that they screen on time as “he” cannot give them their next pill script if they don’t submit.
      The thinking behind it in my view was that giving women the pill and all that freedom, came with a price. The price that in return for the pill, they were expected to provide ready access to their bodies for three reasons, 1.) Male gratification and patriarchal control of women; 2.) Research purposes; 3.) Money.
      The pill didn’t really provide freedom. It was swapping one form of control for another.
      How many times have we heard of nurses and doctors interfering in women’s relationships by implying that their husbands were unfaithful? Likely, women have been led into discussing their sex lives and to justify them. It’s sickening.

      It seems to me sometimes that we live in a society that is more interested with monitoring and controlling people’s bodies (I say people, because this morbid curiosity seems as though it’s gradually being extended to males), than it is about tackling crime ridden cities or serious offences etc.

      • I agree it is sinsister. I was reading about the witchunts and that any woman who looked ‘too sexual’ was accused of being a witch. The smear test seems to be a modern day version of that as now hpv is the marker of women’s sexual activity and they are treated for it with LLETZ. I’ve had the Lletz and it really destroyed my libido and caused all kinds of sexual problems. I’ve since used various healing modalities based on Tantra to recover my sexual function and discovered that the cervix is actually me of the most powerful, and orgasmic parts of a women’s body. I think on some unconscious level men have always known it and in patriarchal society they will try to suppress women’s sexuality whenever they can as it’s the way to suppress their power and self esteem.

      • This happened to me as well he was told by me that my husband and I were virgins when we married he implied that my husband might not of been truthful I said I can’t wait to get home and tell him the doctor has called him a liar and he should expect a visit as he is very confrontational the docs face was a picture no more pressure for the pap he was trying to do just an urgency to get me out of his office

      • Recently I looked up what “P” values meant in terms of pap scraping. While I never found a suitable explanation of that…
        I did find an article explaining that you can be monogamous and STILL end up with HPV.
        They cannot test properly for it and they have o F’ing idea how we can get exposed.
        The article said men aren’t tested; although they can be carriers or can contract it.
        When did this BS ever make any sense?

      • Maz – That was a genius response from you to be fair. Lol, I can only imagine the doctor’s face haha 😃 Take a bow! 👏 🙌

  14. Hi Ada,
    Yes, I quoted data protection in the second letter to my GP in August 2017, telling them that they were in breach of it as I’d informed them previously I was opting out, but I’ve received a further 3 invites since then. However, when I made my complaint by email to PCSE mid-November this year, I quoted data protection again and within days I received a disclaimer letter to send back. They sent another one a week later for some reason so I sent them both back. They are supposed to be writing back to confirm when they have removed my name from the list, but as mentioned above, this week I’ve received the same letter/disclaimer again. No idea what’s going on. If I receive another standard invitation letter I will seriously consider making a complaint under the GDPR.

    • They think that patients don’t know their rights, and that any old letter will do. CarolineBBlog saw a letter posted on twitter recently that simply told the woman to book an appointment. No mention of choice. Not all GP surgeries are using the NHS template (they don’t have to), and they are making up their own letters to send to people, usually done by someone with no GDPR training or awareness. That’s what gets me about the UK programme. The test is far from clear, but it’s all rolled out with those in the front line on the lowest pay and grade with the most basic knowledge. They don’t really know what they are doing and the public end up being treated like cattle.

      • I take it the letter is sent by the “screening authority” in the first instance. That one is the one that mentions “choice” I think.

        My female relatives receive a very patronising letter from the surgery along the lines of, “as you’re aware, it’s now time for your cervical screening test. Please book an appointment”, sort of thing.

        They don’t go but they haven’t formally opted out like I have, so I don’t receive these pestering letters.

        We are really missing a trick with the GDPR. Let’s do what they’ve been doing to “non-compliant” women over the years and use the threat of a GDPR complaint.

      • The one I saw appeared to be a personalised letter directly from Dalefield Surgery and was a chaser because the lady in question hadn’t replied to her initial invite. The lady is disabled and cannot get on the bed for the test which has sparked a Go Fund Me for what I’m not 100% sure.

        The letter is literally a summons saying you haven’t replied, smear tests save lives and you need to call to book. No mention of choice or opting out at all. It’s disgraceful.

  15. I was sad to hear that Lisa Schwartz passed away from cancer in late November.
    Lisa was married to Steven Woloshin, they worked together at Dartmouth along with Gilbert Welch, Lisa and Steven wrote “Know your chances” and “Overdiagnosed”…along with lots of articles.

    I sent an email to Dartmouth a few years back, thanking them for their work and hoping they might also critically review cervical screening. (which always seems to dodge close scrutiny)
    I was surprised to receive an email from Lisa, updating me on their research projects.
    Lisa is in my medical hall of fame, i’m so grateful to Lisa and the Dartmouth team for their critical analysis of cancer screening and the increasing medicalisation of our lives.
    Lisa has left a lasting legacy…

    • That’s very sad. Thanks for telling us about this wise lady. A shame she is hardly known in UK. It is always sad when someone of this calibre dies young, and she has pre-deceased her mother too. Just like Petr Skrabanek who died at only 53, it leaves the voices of common sense very quiet against the “preventive medicine” brigade. It makes you think what they could have achieved had they lived to a good age.

  16. Uk ladies daily mirror today government looking at lowering smear age to 18 after death of latest young woman

    • Ah, another ‘debate’ triggered by yet another misguided petition. The evidence against screening young women is clear. These political debates rarely achieve anything, they’re just publicity stunts.

      • I had one young lady on Twitter, claimed she worked in the NHS looking at research and said there is a load of evidence the age should be lowered. Bizarrely though she couldn’t point me to any of said evidence other than her friend had been “been through it”. I sincerely hope she’s not really an NHS research professional with reasoning abilities like that!

        While the death is obviously sad I personally think it’s just another excuse for charities and pro-screeners to whip women up into a frenzy, right before the big money maker that’s the smear for smear campaign *vomit*

      • Just looked at this abstract for the first time. Interesting that they concluded that most women who actively decline screening do so because they feel that it is of low relevance to them (sounds suspiciously like having assessed their individual risk profile to me), and have more important things to worry about (code name for, not buying the BS that the NHS peddles). What’s more, 70% are interested in self-testing. So, there you have it. Contradicts Mr Music’s little soundbite about a nation full of ignorant, uninformed, embarrassed women doesn’t it?!

    • What infuriates me about all of these papers (and this group do this all the time), is that they start from the wrong starting point. Nearly all of them start off by saying that this test saves 5,000 lives per year. OK, they’ve started adding more couched terms like “up to, estimated to” in front of this number, but this has long since been shown to be much less than this, and a recent paper suggested the figure was more about 1700 women. So at the outset they are suggesting that those women who do decline are taking a huge risk when they are not.
      The other thing is that they claim that women who don’t attend are lacking information, knowledge, when we know that policy is deliberately to underinform women of harms and risks because they can terrorise them into going with Project Smear Fear. They always use the bottom line that any attendee is fully informed and understanding if they attend, when often it’s the most ardent supporters who don’t understand the test at all.

      • Do you know what would make a great survey/study? One that looks at the risks and harms of screening. It would be interesting to see how many women even know there are any and if pro-screening women actually believe them when presented with them in a factual way with evidence and data.

        I can’t see anyone doing said survey but it would be a hugely interesting read I’m sure.

      • I’d love to see the actual statistics for this, but you will never see them published and the public allowed to know. How many babies died from preterm birth due to cervical procedures, or survived but with long term health issues due to prematurity? Another woman tweeted on twitter that she had to have c-sections because of cervical “treatments” preventing her cervix frpm opening, but never questioned the cervical treatments at all. So c-sections are another cost to screening treatments. Everywhere I read, preterm births are going up. This cost must be added to the programme.

      • Yet their conclusions don’t seem to support their pre-conceived notions of ignorant, uninformed women declining on the basis that they are uninformed and ignorant! The conclusion that these women actively decline because they perceive that the test is of low relevance to them suggests that these women have at the very least, assessed their risk levels! Oh dear…..

  17. The NHS only needs to look at the old Australian program, we screened women from late teens, some GPs even screened girls under the age of 17, don’t know how many but when they were doing research comparing Gardasil records with pap testing records, it was mentioned that some girls were tested before age 17…and it was also mentioned that they shouldn’t have been tested, they were too young.

    Of course, we know that before 30 is too young – we know cervical screening does not help up to age 30 and now we know that only HPV+ women aged 30 to 60 have a small chance of benefiting from a 5 yearly Pap test.
    Early pap testing simply puts young women through an unnecessary test that carries a lot of risk, those under 25 produce a lot of false positives and that can mean biopsies and over-treatment, it can mean a damaged cervix before you’re 25 or 30. Serious stuff…
    As it is, we do HPV testing from age 25 even though the evidence is clear, no HPV testing before 30. I think they feared a revolt from some women if testing moved from teens to 30.
    Lots of our young women would have produced “abnormal” results and been referred, in other words, false positives, most of them don’t understand that, they think something was “caught”…so our “survivors” would have been more vocal with a move to start screening at age 30.
    When you’ve practiced excess for decades and urged women not to miss their 2 yearly test, it’s hard to suddenly change course.

    Thankfully, there’s been little push back here, we’ve finally pushed testing (HPV) to age 25, but I still read the odd comment from a GP complaining that it’s too late, that some girls are sexually active at 14, they just don’t get it…

  18. I also think age 25 was a concession to vested interests, to keep some lucrative work coming their way, young women were often referred under the old program and I imagine, that’s also happening now, when about 40% of women aged 25 to 29 are HPV+… that’s a nice stream of revenue for vested interests.
    It doesn’t seem to matter that f you left these women alone, all but about 5% would be HPV- by age 30.

  19. I was very disappointed to see on the news last night about the UK governments future plans for the NHS. Money is going to be driven towards “preventive healthcare”, screening among other things. Nevermind that there is a UK shortage of 10,000 doctors 40,000 nurses, and patients’ beds crammed so close together in wards that infection rates are high. The BBC news announced this was requested by patient advocacy groups and charities. Same people who get money from drugs companies, and handouts from govt. Jo’s Tosh got £600,000 from the tampon tax. Screening is being used as a tool to drive private healthcare companies who create markets out of the worried well.

    • ‘Preventative’ medicine is the modern form of snake-oil. And unfortunately there are a hell of a lot of salesmen who profit from it.
      While the Nazi obsession with the health of the nation was driven by racism, today the very same obsessions are driven by greed.

    • I was involved in a thread on Twitter that discussed wasteful NHS spending and obviously screening came up. According to the BBC, a million women aged 50 – 64 haven’t had a smear for at least 5 1/2 years. That’s only in that age bracket, younger ladies not included.

      Someone came up with the very astute observation that the “invitations” themselves are a huge waste. Assuming they’ll get the usual 3 “invitations” mailed to them, 2nd class post at 58p a go. OK, I know the NHS probably gets a postage discount but the wasted postage alone on 3 million letters is absolutely outrageous.

      It would pay for hundreds of GP appointments for people who are actually sick!!

      • I agree, Caroline, and each invitation comes with a printed booklet, such a waste of resources, particularly when they continue to send them to women who have declined screening. Since March 2017, I have received 6 invitations (5 of which were sent after I had formally opted out in writing). Since making a complaint in November I have received, signed and returned 3 disclaimer letters (all identical and enclosing said booklet, I might add!) Lo and behold what do I receive in the post this Friday…? My SIXTH invitation letter and booklet!!!! I have now made another complaint and if this issue is not resolved I will take it to the Information Commissioner’s Office. This is blatant disregard for data protection legislation and NHS’s own guidelines.

      • Almost reminds me if the scene in Harry Potter where letters are literally flying everywhere across his living room. That’s how farcical this is. Six invitation letters when someone has already declined. It’s outrageous!

      • That exact same Harry Potter scene where the letters all come down the chimney has also occured to me of the endless screening demands!
        Another similarity with screening that keeps cropping up is brexit. Brexiteers interviewed on TV always totally clueless about what it all entails, they will lose their jobs, legal rights and be worse off, but yes, they want it because it’s all about taking back control and empowerment. How the ignorant are ensnared by the powerful to their own ends! It’s all a big psychological game.

      • Let’s look at the positives. Hard Brexit – no money for Jo’s Toss and cervical screening (they might all have to start working for a living – oh the horror! 😉 ).

  20. The Govt sends out a FOBT to people over 50, it’s piecemeal at the moment, but eventually, as funding becomes available, they want to test everyone 50 to 70 every 1-2 years. (might be 75)
    The uptake is fairly poor, last I heard it was under 40% – now that’s an absolute waste of money – also, the test arrives and some have had a screening colonoscopy so obviously won’t bother with the FOBT.
    Why not send out a card, tick and return if you want a test kit? Or, you register if you want the test.
    They won’t do that…too few would register!
    I do wonder how much money is wasted on kits that go in the bin.

    I’m never asked about bowel screening, GPs have cervical and breast screening in their view but bowel screening seems to get little attention, of course, bowel cancer is far more likely than cc.
    (not that I’m backing the FOBT – sadly, it doesn’t reduce all cause mortality, and you might get a false positive result which means a colonoscopy anyway – if you’re not happy to go there, not sure it’s worth doing the test)
    Colonoscopy – there are risks, even life threatening risks like perforation of the bowel also, infection, diverticulitis (some say it can cause this issue) – yes, they can remove polyps, but only 3% go on to become cancerous anyway..
    So people should carefully review the pros and cons before signing up.

    My elderly mother had a violent episode of vomiting after doing the pre-colonoscopy cleansing of the bowel – she also felt faint – ended up in hospital on a drip for 24 hours.
    A screening colonoscopy (the last one she had) – they think she had a small stroke while she was sedated, I dropped Mum at day procedure and picked up a very confused woman a few hours later – people need to understand they usually take you off Warfarin or similar blood thinning meds before the colonoscopy, in case they knick you, they don’t want you bleeding to death, but that means it ups the risk of clotting and strokes. My mother has never fully made up that ground – possibly 50%…thankfully, that was the end of colonoscopies for her. I’m not sure this risk is properly explained to older people, it was certainly never mentioned to Mum.

  21. We have another doctor here facing historic alleged sex offences, quite a few women have made similar complaints after three women went public alleging rape and sexual assault…one victim was only 16 at the time. The doctor, Con Kyriacou, was well known in the Greek community.
    I understand complaints were made many years ago (1980s and 90’s) but in one case, withdrawn, the woman didn’t think she’d be believed, in another case the woman was told it was her word against his, so dissuaded from pursuing the matter.
    Younger people might wonder how these things could keep happening, why women kept going back but the power of the doctor was absolute back then, and there were few female doctors. It was also very difficult to make a complaint. Some probably told themselves it must have been a medical exam, he was a doctor after all.
    I think most women just tucked medical trauma into the back of their minds and lived around it. There’s no doubt the system protected doctors…and the system enabled abuse, like coercion, holding the pill until the woman submitted to whatever the doctor “required”…might be a Pap test, breast exam, pelvic exam…or the lot.
    This doctor allegedly asked young women to strip naked, even for a cold, often did unnecessary vaginal and breast exams (massaging the breasts and flicking the nipples) and bizarrely directed the naked woman to stand with her back against his body, raise her arms and push back against him…this was supposed to be some sort of stretching or massage. The women, all describe the massage/stretching in the same way. It doesn’t sound like a medical exam to me…
    This man is now 75, he stopped practicing in 2017 and claims to now have some mental impairment. One of the victims said she was encouraged to take the matter further as a result of the MeToo movement.
    Anyway, will be interesting to follow the matter, the accused when asked about the claims of rape and sexual assault by these women said it was all “stupid”…

  22. Just got this: https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2019/01/16/cervical-cancer-prevention-week-blog-a-view-from-jos-cervical-cancer-trust/
    This stood out to me: “Ensuring every woman has the information they need to make fully informed decisions about cervical screening is at the heart of this” – THEN THEY FOLLOW WITH
    “national action to tackle declining screening attendance / sustained effort that we will overcome barriers to attendance / removing barriers to cervical screening goes hand in hand with supporting choice” – so as usual ignore the choice and convince (sorry coerce) every woman to screen!
    All about Jos trust – went to their web page as the links take you there and read up on the money!
    2017-2018 they made £1503808 and spent £839157

    • Disgraceful. I’m convinced saying it’s an ‘awareness campaign’ lets charities and doctors avoid objections around informed consent.

      There’s also ‘Cheers for Smears’ going on at the moment: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8134621/five-million-women-avoiding-smear-tests/

      My favorite part directly from Jo’s Tosh is “We want to make sure everyone is more vocal and positive about screenings because they do save lives”. Who the hell are they to say who speaks about what topic in what way?

      I’ve had a few Twitter ding dongs about this and I had an alleged NHS nurse tell me advocating for informed consent was an “anti smear agenda”. I don’t know where she got that wording from, she didn’t seem the brightest but it sounded like she’d picked it up from somewhere.

      • She should know that informed consent is a legal requirement! If she harrangues someone against their will and drones on and on about screening, she risks a GMC complaint.

    • No doubt much of the money spent was on self-promotion a.k.a. ‘awareness’ campaigns. And the rest? Staff wages? Tucked away in some offshore account?
      You gotta be pretty f*****g stupid to run the same insulting campaigns year after year, see the rates fall, and not realise your campaigns just don’t work. So they’re either all imbeciles or it really is a business disguised as a non-profit organisation.

      Btw, you know Mother Theresa raised the subject some time ago – probably glad of the opportunity to make herself look good amid the Brexit chaos. I read somewhere that Jo’s Tosh was behind it – no surprises there – but isn’t it disgusting that the government hands this fake charity huge wads of taxpayers money and then allow them to influence politicians?

    • That’s brilliant, I’m printing one off now and sending to my GP, despite already having signed and sent back 3 disclaimers all of which have been ignored (grrrr!), but this looks a bit more official than the tiny little tear off strip I’ve been sending back. Also, I noticed that this goes to the GP, whereas I’ve been told to return my disclaimer(s) to PCSE and they will inform my GP. Perhaps I might see some action if it goes to the GP first, but then again my GP already has 2 letters on my file to say I’ve opted out and instructing them to cease me on their database but they still insist on keeping my name on the list and sharing my personal details with PCSE in order to keep sending invites every 4 months. I’ve made a complaint to PCSE under data protection but not even got an acknowledgement as yet, although it’s less than a week ago. Fed up with them all at the moment.

  23. The only thing that worries me when sending the opt out letters/forms is whether this takes us out of the “1.5 million women missing their tests”? If we are no longer counted then that figure reduces and makes the screening look better than it is, or are we still counted….I just don’t know?

    • I seem to remember reading somewhere too, that even if you’ve opted out permanently, you still count as a potential attendee, so you are counted among the non-attenders too.

  24. Oh sorry I have just looked at your post CarolineBBlog – thank you, and it seems that nearly five million not taking them up……..yay I like that figure better LOL!

  25. https://www.nhsemployers.org/QOF201819
    Another thing I’ve noticed is that QOF guidance has changed for cervical screening (see row CS002 in download). Previously, points were based on GPs getting 80% of under 50s women to screen every 3 years. This seems to have changed and QOF points are achieved if everyone now gets a test at least every 5 years. It’s probably due to most samples now being tested for HPV. GPs are not now needing to chase women every 3 years to get their incentive payments. Possibly why figures are dropping! Bring on the de-implementation!

  26. PHE to launch national cervical screening campaign in March – yet again they didn’t post my comment! https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/30/phe-to-launch-national-cervical-screening-campaign-in-march-2019/
    My comment was the following, and I think it should have been let through!
    “All I ever see is how you are trying to increase the uptake in screening. To be honest it really isn’t right that women should be “convinced” or “persuaded/dissuaded” to screen or not, why does everyone think they have a right to tell us or encourage us, we have brains and we have the choice, it really is that simple! Screening has many harms too!
    Celebrities/MP’s/Local Councils/NHS/Family/Friends/Media/GP’s/Nurse even social media constantly bombarding us! If we don’t want it for whatever reasons then that should be that, end of, it is ridiculous that we are required to explain why or made to feel we are wrong for making a free choice, it really is no-one else’s business. You send the invite with the leaflet 3 times per year, we are free to choose either way and can research it online to assist us with our decision. It is high time a woman’s choice is respected and accepted, believe me it is not ever respected at any level! Choosing not to screen is just as valid a decision as choosing to screen! How dare anyone try to convince us otherwise, just so you can reach your targets! Seems like there is a price attached to a woman’s vagina and cervix. God help the next person to try scare tactics and coercion on me!”

      • I agree. This comment should have been posted. I have posted often on the PHE website but none ever get through. My first comment that i posted was how i thought unwanted smear tests are in fact rape. Since then i have been blacklisted and nothing i write gets through no matter how toned down.

        I’m sure its because they’ve read our comments that we post here and on other sites. They are frightened of us. They know who we are so they look out for our comments on their site and block them.

      • Bupa and Cancer Research websites actually say “saves up to 2,000 lives”. I have seen different amounts everywhere, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000………..who are they trying to kid! And poor Jade Goody spent 12 years from 1997-2009 dealing with this crap! I still don’t believe it was cervical cancer that caused her death, maybe all the ops and treatments did?

      • I cannot believe that there is a single woman in the UK that hasn’t heard of cervical screening. Nonetheless, it appears that more money (and trees) will be wasted sending out screening literature to EVERY eligible female from March. I cannot imagine anyone getting this letter in the post and thinking that it’s a really good idea to have the test if previous efforts have “failed”. Informed women make informed choices. The screening authorities refuse to accept that some women just don’t want to screen. It’s a woman’s choice. Women don’t need to explain themselves or make excuses. No is no – but if you say no to the screening police, their response is to send more literature in an effort to change your silly female mind. Respect my choice as I respectfully put your letter in the shredder.

    • Women, apparently, will be ‘told’ not to be afraid….. how dare they print that…

      No one is going to be ‘telling’ me anything.

      • Nor me.

        They will wish they’d never said anything to me in the first place.

        Come March, this campaigns will be all the rage. We need to phrase our comments in a way that makes them look irrational and over-emotional, in the same way they have been doing to us for years.

  27. Ladies check out the latest from the daily fail. Smear tests are discussed in parliament. Treason May and woman MP bleating on about their abnormalities and how smears aren’t nice but we should all go. Bring on the revolution lol…..

    • The reason they keep saying women won’t go because of embarrassment is because it sets up waves of public indignation at decliners. They want to turn the public against decliners, set woman against woman and stir up as much hatred and contempt for decliners as they can. So much for Jo’s Tosh getting advice on their strategy from Rape Crisis and sexual abuse groups. It hasn’t changed their strategy a bit. Same old contempt, belittling and bullying.

      • Yes, telling someone to grow up or stop being so silly is a fantastic way to belittle them.

        I also think when they do their surveys, a lot of women tick the embarrassment box because quite frankly having someone root around in your vagina can be pretty embarrassing. It doesn’t mean it’s at the core of why they don’t go but it’s a nice easy box to check so they just do.

      • Yes indeed. The vested interests talk about empowering women, yet these disgusting campaigns seem to be designed purely to empower the fanatical pro-screeners and turn them into baying mobs.
        I’ve only seen a few of these surveys, but they also seem designed to make women look foolish, by offering a very limited choice of (sometimes silly) options. Never seen one which mentioned ‘informed dissent’, of course.

        Also: embarrassment is a feeling of shame after making a fool of ourselves. We’ve all done stupid things, and felt embarrassed, but we get over it. So I don’t see how young women who’ve never tested can be embarrassed about something they’ve never done!
        We know there are lots of women who put off testing for a long, long time, they say it fills them with dread. Embarrassment? I don’t think so. It’s runs way deeper than plain old embarrassment, but it’s just another way to make non-screeners look stupid.
        After all, lots of women who DO go for testing say it’s embarrassing, yet it doesn’t deter them, so how can we say that women aren’t going because of embarrassment?
        Load of tripe.
        The one that really grates is this line about the nurse not caring what you look like, so you shouldn’t be embarrassed. First off, the patient is the one exposed and vulnerable, their feelings are paramount. The nurses feelings don’t matter at all, yet this line puts the nurses feelings ahead of the patients. Second, it makes non-screeners sound like they’re all from the selfie generation, obsessed with their looks. Again, I think this idea that vast numbers of women are avoiding the test due to worrying about how their bits look is hogwash – another lame excuse that perhaps a minority gave, eagerly seized by the charities.

      • Caroline – I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that “informed choice” isn’t on the list of options. I am very confident that it isn’t because it does not suit their agenda to tell people why women are not screening. And I’m sensing a lot of heated debates between decliners and screeners these days. The shaming campaign hasn’t worked for a while now, why will it work now? It might eventually backfire.

      • It might already be backfiring. Seen even the pro-screening brigade comment that they are sick and tired of this “too embarrassed to smear” mantra, with many saying it’s so difficult with young families, work, childcare, periods, long waiting times etc. They are getting cross and angry about the put downs too. Tee hee!

      • I’m using my old pseudonym (App Queen) on the daily mail website and I’ve noticed one particularly passionate anti-screener causing a bit of a stir and arguing with all the pro-screeners. I’ve never come across her before but she seems to be all about pro-choice, and is really annoyed with everyone who keeps telling her she’s wrong etc. It’s well worth having a look and dropping a comment or two (it’s the first article under the Health section). Also, know what else I noticed on that DM article? This Delevigne woman was treated for abnormal results after being tested from twenty. They no longer test under 25s now, yet she’s stated something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be here were it not for testing”. Why are they endorsing her statement knowing that no under 25 will be tested. They’re actively encouraging under 25s to get tested as many comments say, “they should be testing as soon as a girl is sexually active”..

    • Shouldn’t she be concentrating on Brexit?? Hasn’t she got bigger fish to fry?? I certainly won’t take advice from a lame duck prime minister who is nothing more than a puppet on a string for her political party, and is the laughing stock of Europe.

  28. The latest Daily Mail article made my blood boil – along with all the comments (with some from men, one of whom appeared to be pasdionate about screening shall we say. I subtly called him out for it!!).

    Seems the new campaign will be about reducing women’s embarrassment. How lame. And how will they achieve that without offering the new self-testing HPV kit and just telling women that they need to just put up with it?
    Message is no longer working. Women are no longer scared nor do they feel that they have to put up with it. I noticed that the most militant screeners are at least 40+.

    I noticed that on the article, a “yummy mummy” vlogger live-streamed her test. Of course, it was performed by a middle-aged man and she was in stirrups (Daily Mail putting more women off. It must be the gift that keeps on giving). How ridiculous. How many women will fall for that??

    Genuine question. Have they changed the protocol here recently? Are they now using stirrups??

    • This is the Daily Fail, remember, not exactly renowned for investigative journalist. They’re always getting things wrong. They have a habit of splashing stock photos all over their articles which are utterly misleading. Like whenever they raise the subject of breast screening/cancer, there’s usually a stock photo of a woman who looks barely old enough to vote standing at the crushing machine with a smiling ‘assistant’ by her side.
      Although the government has always been happy to throw millions of £££ into coercive tactics, the NHS does everything on the cheap. I doubt very much whether every family practice has been given a wad of cash to buy a specialist couch complete with stirrups exclusively for intimate procedures. This vlogger is either from abroad, or having it done privately. In my practice, the couches are all the same, and the examination rooms are barely big enough to swing a hamster in, let alone a cat!

      • Kate I was at my practice couple weeks ago with the nurse for an ECG trace. No stirrups anywhere. There was the big lamp they use to light it up bit obviously that wasn’t needed for my procedure that day….

      • Caroline BBlog – This woman has even taken her socks off for this test ???? There’s something inherently very wrong and creepy about this broadcast. I’m appalled that they used a man for the live-stream too. How will this encourage women to go exactly? People will deny it but I guarantee, most men who will have flicked onto that article will have recognised the connotations immediately (even if not intended). It is why (as one man once said to me), “decent men don’t become gynaecologists”. This stream will put the fear of God into women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. I’m appalled by the video and I’m even more appalled that the doctor (with his specialist skill and knowledge) did not have the good grace and common sense to turn down this lady’s request. I’m disgusted.

    • I was disgusted at that article on the Daily Mail website. It was horrendous with that clip of the man performing a smear test. How is that going to encourage women to screen? I was offended at the wording in the article that women will be ‘told’ not to be embarrassed. So they are ‘telling’ us how to feel now? It is all about controlling women and compiling a database somewhere of women’s sexual activity. I am certain of that.

      I posted here previously about this issue and I accidentally forgot to give my name so it came up as anonymous, but I have seen your comments previously on the Daily Mail. Thanks for doing that – it is great that people like all of you on here are speaking the truth and trying to show the inaccuracy of the test and the rarity of the illness in question.

      • Thanks for your great post Amy, that’s exactly how I feel. I have problems getting onto the DM website, but I always go through the comments and mark up or down appropriately. I was aware of that awful video on the corner of my screen, and it made me feel quite ill. There were also a number of men posting, clearly turned on by the topic and hoping to get a glimpse of what was happening under the sheet. I’m afraid I find the DM so repugnant in every way I can only take it in small doses.
        One thing’s for sure, the campaigners seem to have given up with us middle aged women and are targeting the 20something first timers. They’re definitely going for the cosmo reading chavs, thick as s**t bimbos, only making out all women “must want to be like that, don’t they?” I’ve seen so many complaints, I hope they realise it’s gone too far, before the next one rolls out in March.

      • I think the issue is, it’s 2019. Women are more educated and successful than ever. You can’t run an awareness campaign to shame women or to force them into compliance anymore and expect it to work. You can’t tell them they’re ignorant or don’t understand nowadays. That will work on certain types but not most. They’re lecturing students, graduates, Phd students, lawyers, teachers, doctors (???) etc. Women will repay them in kind by saying no to screening.

  29. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46953452
    One in three girls in some parts of the UK did not have their full vaccination at school against HPV, the virus that can cause cervical cancer, in 2017-18.
    While the national target of immunising 80% of girls is being met, the rate varied between local authority areas.
    In total 57,048 girls did not receive the two doses required for the vaccine to be effective.
    School administrator Mrs Collin said girls needed to know the vaccine would protect them in the future.

    Yet again another Target of 80% required to be met!
    Also no guarantee vaccine “would protect”, words should be “may protect”! Possibly/don’t know?
    I do not understand why the hell Schools should be involved here, it is not their duty but the parents to make these decisions. Schools = education for working life not dealing with STD/STI’s or any kind of screening!
    Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – this guy is f*****g everywhere!

    • I wonder if this head teacher is as interested in safeguarding, the welfare or mental health of his pupils or tackling child hunger in schools. Hmmm…..

    • All these articles, publicity stunts, etc. designed to make us think all women are at risk of dying from cervical cancer bring to mind the mass hysteria surrounding HIV/AIDS in the eighties and nineties. Remember that? The virus was supposedly going to break out of the well known risk groups and into the general population any day causing widespread disease and death (it never happened). Then, as now with cervical cancer, these claims were made and propagated by those with vested interests (governmental bodies, health agencies, charities, celebrities, etc.).

      • Judy that is so true, and I believe the fanaticism about cervical cancer in the UK stems from the advent of the AIDS epidemic from the late 1980s. I don’t remember anyone ever talking about cervical cancer in the 1980s, it was unheard of. Suddenly AIDS became front page news with the shocking pictures of Rock Hudson everywhere, and there was widespread panic that we were sitting on a timebomb of fatal epidemic sexually transmitted diseases, with many blaming the pill and promiscuity from the 1960s. It was the upright middle class ladies who pushed so hard for cervical screening tests to be made universal, driven by a fear that the diseases of the lower ranks would filter up to infect them, no doubt. Cervical screening units popped up in mobile vans all over the country and clinics were opened up in the most ridiculous places. I do remember the fervour and fear with STIs being referred to as the new plagues. But it never materialised did it?
        I recently went to a talk about HIV. The speaker said that anyone with a cervical cancer diagnosis should be tested for HIV, as the 2 often went hand in hand, but a clear link remains elusive. I have always suspected this was behind the zeal for our despotic screening programme in 1989 & the bullying and shaming campaigns.

      • It definitely feels like a shaming programme. I was a child in the 1980s so wasn’t directly exposed to this despotism but from speaking to relatives who were targeted back then, it does appear as though it was a witch hunt. I am totally convinced that the ideology behind it was not only to monitor the advent of cervical cancer, but to monitor women’s sexual activity and women themselves. It can’t all have been down to “cancer hunting” as the authorities have never really shown an interest in other non-reproductive cancers. And as doctors were predominantly make and they had vested interests in screening young women, men avoided this censure. Women were also easier to capture because they required access to the pill and maternity services. I’ve also read of women with abnormalities being treated harshly by cruel, unfeeling matronly nurses who knew no better, and Cone biopsies being undertaken with no pain relief. I hear some of these procedures still do not warrant pain relief. It reminds me a bit of the stories in the 1930s of “sinful” women being sent to the Magdalene laundries. That might sound melodramatic, but I get the feeling that there is still some perception that sexually-active women (or those who’ve had “multiple” partners) need to be monitored regularly because their sinful lifestyle will inevitably cause them to get cancer and die at some point. I saw this attitude reflected in some of the posts on the Daily Mail this evening, this perception that women who avoid smears are promiscuous and dirty, and will get naked for a stranger but not for a nurse. What is wrong with these people? This mindset is truly disturbing and it will take a long time to truly erase. This might sound harsh, but the sooner the older generation of militant screeners are phased from the programme, the better.

  30. Has anyone else questioned the wisdom of undertaking an “awareness campaign” to get as many women as possible through the surgery doors during peak flu season?? 🤒😖😞
    I also recall the very entertaining comments on PHE’s blog on cervical screening and the amount of negative comments including cytologists asking why they were undertaking a campaign as cytology units were being reduced from 46 to 9.
    That’s the good old NHS for you isn’t it.

  31. Lol AQ, us smear avoiders sure are promiscuous and dirty. Or how bout the good ole uneducated and naive gambit. (eye roll) I’d loooove to hear someone say that to me- the college educated woman in a monogamous marriage with another virgin.

    Btw I’m 17wks now and we find out gender on Valentine’s day! Babe and i are doing fabulous so far. Not a single intrusive exam. The only thing is my BP keeps coming back high due to white coat syndrome! When i asked my midwife if there’s a basket case clause we had a giggle. The good news is she believes I’m fine and wasn’t in a hurry to jump on the pre eclampsia bandwagon. She just asked me to measure at home every now and then so she has some more reliable numbers on file. At least she’s sensible about these things unlike some people.

    • I’ve seen solicitors touting for business on social media over “misread smear tests”. I think that’s why the NHS is happy to hand it over to private companies. Real drain on NHS funds.

      • Well, if the NHS had been honest from the start instead of telling the public it’s the ‘perfect’ test, they wouldn’t have so many angry women taking them to court. They lied to get bums on seats, it’s their own fault.
        That’s obviously why they keep smear samples on ice, so that when there’s a legal case they can check the old samples and wriggle out of liability if there’s no abnormalities found, and indeed, if a private company takes over the lab work, the blame can be pinned on them. Anything to protect the reputation of the programme.

      • C*apita (as bad as they are) and Virgin must be mad to take this programme on. Do you think they will? All these scandals, “lawsuits”, and angry women coming out of the wood work would make any company with a modicum of sense run for the hills. I’m not sure what would be the best outcome from an informed choice perspective. A business model will want to increase profits first and foremost, so might be more open to the prospect of self-testing. Whereas the NHS has evolved into a semi-governmental, “quango” like authoritative body that is interested in control above all else. Yet, it is obvious that they cannot cope with this programme. It’s even being criticised by its own staff (Cytologists) so it may collapse sooner rather than later under its incompetent management.

      • AQ I posted a while back a questionnaire posted online by Virgin Healthcare asking women about cervical screening and why they didn’t go. I know a few of us replied, but I’m sure this is Virgin testing the water to see if it’s a viable option or not. I know that they own a hell of a lot of sexual health services, and private companies are popping up all over the place offering a whole range of tests for the “healthy worried well”. 2 have popped up in my city, offering same day appointments offering you a battery of tests that’s sure to send flocks onto the overburdened A&E services. Margaret McCartney has been criticising Babylon Health and a number of digital apps which the govt is keen to bring in. I think a lot of people will fall for it, especially if they offer instant appointments. What they don’t tell you is that all your records are instantly moved over to the private company and don’t remain in NHS primary care anymore. They’ll be constantly wooed, by offers and health insurance cover plans offering further options until they become fully private patients.

      • I agree it’s likely to become rather like the US where your personal info will be taken and you’ll be targeted to purchase health plans, tests, wellness consultations and all manner of other unnecessary ‘products’. Screening will be like a loss leader.

        I spend a fair amount of time in the US and as such am required to carry health insurance. I am constantly sent marketing literature offering you a ton of screening in the desperate hope they’ll find something potentially wrong – pre-cancer or pre-diabetes or some other non-existent “pre” and be able to schedule a follow up appointment.

        While preventative care is in theory covered in your premium under Obamacare laws, the follow ups and additional tests for your non-existent condition aren’t. Screening is them laughing all the way to the bank. I have even been offered shopping vouchers and gift cards to come for a pap test. Bribery.

        The difference being of course the US can just fleece you, all the worried well in the UK will just burden the NHS. I honestly don’t think anyone has really thought this privatization through although I am convinced it’s the end goal.

      • Yes Ada, I saw that and took part in the Virgin survey. I did receive a rather polite response saying that my feedback would be taken on board and that they’d include my recommendations for self HPV testing as it is something they claim to be looking at. Although she did try to sell me screening at the end but wasn’t particularly forceful about it. It seemed that she definitely grasped my concerns though which is why, I at least hope, they will be more open-minded about self-testing than the NHS ever were, because ultimately, their business models are very different even if they are gunning for the same outcome. I hope their survey will at least be more reflective than the one produced by Jo’s Toss(ers). I haven’t noticed any signs of creeping privatisation where I live though (at least not yet).

  32. Hello everyone i have been lurking here for a while but never brave enough to post! Am just so fed up with all the posts doing the rounds on facebook at the moment, especially ones from.friends. i feel like social outcast for not screening but i don’t dare say anything to them. Feel like am being stalked by the constant media pressure and invitations from GP! Am always questioning whether i have made the right decision.but with my very simple sexual history there is no chance of me ever having had HPV so i made the informed decision that screening is not useful for me. Constantly worrying though! Cheers anna

    • Welcome Anna, and thank you for reading our posts! It’s been a very lively week with another bullying campaign for screening. This is a grest place to reflect on the mass hysteria that is cervical screening.

    • Welcome Anna.

      You are not alone in feeling the way that you do. I felt exactly the same when I was younger! I’m 35 now and what I will say is that as time moves on, you’ll feel more comfortable with your decision. Just remember, you don’t have to follow the herd, and you don’t have to explain or justify your reasons to anyone, including your doctor. The law is clear on this. I am noticing the start of something resembling a backlash online. Lots of angry women damaged by overtreatment in the 80s and misread samples.

      Only thing I would recommend is reading as much about this topic to assess your risk, and the efficacy results of screening. There are also new developments in the pipeline including HPV self-testing.

      • hi everyone and thanks for the kind welcome! I should have said in my first post a bit more about myself. Am 43, married with 3 kids so have had plenty of poking and prodding done over the years. Have had 3 maybe 4 smears since early 20s, hated every single one, always came back clear. The last few years, as I have read more and more about the HPV vaccination (I have a teenage daughter and am getting her vaccinated), and the low lifetime risk of developing CC, I just started thinking why my GP was always so keen to get me in. I’ve had the ‘come and discuss with the practice nurse’ summons (ignored it), had a ‘you must phone the surgery now, urgent’ text which was terrifying as I assumed one of my children was ill, got straight on the phone as you would, only to be harangued by the receptionist. Moved house and therefore practices a few months and now it’s all starting again. Am just ignoring anything that arrives at the moment! Glad it’s not just me 🙂

      • That would drive me crazy! 🤬

        They’re shameless, they really are.

        There is a lot of support here. The gang here are great at sharing all the latest medical research and information. We also share legal information to inform ourselves and others of our rights to decline this test, and share practical tips on how to force doctors and nurses to back off! (Hint hint, the phrases informed decision not to screen, GMC complaint, and legal action nearly always produce the desired outcome!) 😉

      • The “may the force be with you” comment was in response to Kate’s reference to the Rebel alliance! (Incase anyone was wondering what on earth I was going on about lol!).

      • Hi Anna. So glad you’ve joined us. The women here are great. Don’t worry about having any more smears forced on you, its not going to happen. X

    • What a load of rubbish. Apparently a lot of their patients don’t speak English and therefore cannot understand the invite so “the surgery sent weekly reminders to women who were overdue their cervical screening, individually called patients to explain the importance of the test.”

      If they didn’t understand the original invite, they’re not going to understand more frequent ones or phone calls!

      They also made 487 appointments and took 263 smears. So they had a nearly 50% no show rate. Assuming women said yes and then didn’t show up to avoid being constantly badgered and harassed.

      • Caroline in my town there’s huge BAME population and yet take up is very high here (or bullying is morebintense)

      • What works well is pressure, coercion and harassment. That’s why they’re going after the vulnerable, the poorer, the younger and the possibly less informed. These women might not be aware of their rights to decline. They’re easy targets. This practice harks back to the eighties. I’m pleased that in spite of this, at least 46% held their ground!

    • They run a rape campaign is what they did. It was the mass raping of women. They should take St mary’s to court for mass rape.

      • If my surgery embarked on this campaign of harassment against me i would report them to the GMC as well as the police.

    • “During the 4 weeks of the campaign we booked 487 appointments and undertook 263 cervical screens. Uptake increased from 59.5% to 64.2%, a significant 7.9% increase in uptake”.

      Surely that “significant” increase should be 4.7% and not 7.9%?
      Oh but, it’s cervical screening, so we just make up the numbers, don’t we.

      • I can’t believe this is being held up as a success and a gold standard. It’s just the same old persistent harassment that clearly hasn’t worked that well.

      • OMG Well done for noticing that………..most probably didn’t!
        Also they are not allowing any comments, what a surprise!

      • I recall looking at the stat and thinking that a jump to 64% from 59% didn’t seem like a large increase but was too dumb to work out that it only amounted to 5% in practice! D’oh lol. I bet this is how the NHS works out their figures too. Make it up as they go long. It saves 900 lives you say? Let’s make that 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 lives. Why on earth not?!

      • Well, well, what a tangled web we weave…
        Not only is the idiot who wrote this case study unable to do basic maths, but they’ve been making up all the figures!
        I checked the QOF reports for this surgery (yes, I’m sure I have the right one) and…
        Attendance rate for the 2015/2016 period was 65.6%.
        2016/2017 was 68.2%.
        2017/2018 67.6%.
        So, well worth the effort, no? No.
        Also checked the patient reviews and it has a lot of one-star feedback from disgruntled patients struggling to get appointments, what a surprise.

    • It won’t be sustained because those they did violate won’t be “due” again for another 3-5 years. Those who declined will still decline. There won’t be another increase next year or the year after, when we might finally have changed to 5 yearly HPV testing. I saw Jo’s Tosh make a well publicised presentation of an award to this practice. It was vile. In reality the uptake was so small, I still think the national figures will continue to fall.

      • An award? For coercing vulnerable women? Can you just imagine what would happen if women woke up overnight like they did in Hollyweird? This industry would be pilloried as the Harvey Weinstein of the medical world. There’s more informed women out there than ever. No wonder they want to keep us all silent knowing what’s at stake.

  33. And how many of the women targeted in this opportunism just gave in and had the smear because they felt ambushed and unable to refuse? That’s really NOT choice

  34. “individually called patients to explain the importance of the test” – but they wouldn’t have explained the risks so there is NO “Informed Decision” as usual.
    “Opportunistic smear appointment slots were made available every day to book patients in for a test even if they had come to the surgery for something else. Daily reminders flashed up on everyone’s desktop computers to remind staff to use these appointments and actively encourage women to book in on the day if they were due a smear” – when will they get it, that it is optional, they still make it sound like its mandatory! Any member of staff reminding me will get an earful, more so if it is a dam receptionist!
    I have been on a Facebook site the last few days trying to provide info to some ladies, also good to see you there too Kate on Healing From LEEP/LLETZ- off topic group! The more women we inform the better!

    • Hi Chas! *waves*. A close friend of mine is a member of the Rebel Alliance, too, due to the way his wife’s been treated. He was so incensed by all this ‘awareness’ crap he took to Twitter, hoping he might be able to educate a few of the ill-informed. But my god, some of those prink princesses are thick! Totally brainwashed.
      The powers-that-be have been able to isolate and ‘get at’ vulnerable women for far too long, hopefully we can offer info and support to help them stand up to the bullies. Fingers crossed.

  35. Hi Kate, Brilliant that there is a man waking up to this kind of crap! Yep………..they are all brainwashed & it infuriates me (& all you fab people here no doubt) that they can’t think for themselves & believe all of the shite the screening throws out, even if you provide them with evidence & links they just don’t get it at all. Why are women so eager to get up on the couch for it…………feeling special are they that someone is rooting around in their nether region? Little do they know they are just a number, just another bum on seats & another to add to the statistics! The vulnerable will fall it even more, how can we get people to accept screening has flaws when they are so trusting of the system? This site should be on Facebook…..even if only one woman became informed it would be worth it.

    • They are not just uninformed, but militant, aggressive and loud with it. It’s so obvious when you argue about statistics that they haven’t a clue what you’re going on about. What’s more, they don’t even realise that they don’t understand! Get this response while I was proposing that self-testing HPV should replace conventional testing while debating on the DM last week, “If smear tests are so inaccurate, why are you banging on about self-testing? You’re clearly avoiding them because you’re embarrassed, not because of the medical reasons you’re spouting”. The b1tch clearly didn’t realise that 1.) Conventional testing tests for “abnormalities”, HPV self-testing tests for HPV, 2.) HPV self-testing kits have been found to be almost as reliable as primary HPV testing. Amazing that Jo’s To$$ers want these women as ambassadors for their programme, but let them at it if it inadvertently promotes free choice!

      • So many of them don’t realise a smear isn’t actually a test for cervical cancer. They don’t know abnormalities aren’t cancer. The majority are just ignorant or ‘wrong and strong’ as my friend says.

        They are screaming that young women are dying as if there are hundreds of them keeling over everyday. Of course it’s sad when young women die but that’s not evidence a change in an entire program is needed.

        They’re saying they’re being discriminated against, it’s their right to have whatever they want from the NHS. They really think the NHS is their personal health service. So much ignorance, a lot of which is perpetuated by Jo’s Toss. They funny thing is most try and use big words they don’t know and when you explain things to them they don’t want to hear they show their true colours by swearing and name calling. They don’t want to be educated.

        I’ve been tagging Jo’s Toss in Tweets and telling them to respond. They have time to respond to a minor soap actress thanking her for her photo, they’ve got time to respond to terrified if ill informed women.

      • I forgot to add that most shocking of all, most women that try to engage me in a debate don’t seem to know what HPV is or that it causes 99.7% of cervical cases. Quite often you’ll see, “HPV hasn’t got anything to do with cancer. Please educate yourself”! Lol lol lol!! I try not to insult them (apart from on here of course where I can freely vent!). My strategy if I’m attacked is to stay calm and use evidence-based arguments. It doesn’t take long for their ignorance and bad language to come out. Funny isn’t it that Jo’s Tossers have been attributing our ignorance and emotion to our lack of testing. Yet it is this hysterical cackle of fishwives who are showing up those very attributes!

      • I try and keep it polite as well but when presented with data that doesn’t support their argument, I’ve been called a d*ckhead and a c**t. Then I unleash back LOL

      • Wow. Just wow. No one’s stopping them from going, we’re just offering others information! But you cannot cure stupidity!

      • I just can’t wait until they formally bring in HPV testing here. I know it’s quietly happening in many places already, but to have it formally announced. Just love to see their faces, as they may realise they might have actually been told the truth.

      • When HPV testing rolls out officially, those most hardcore and ignorant screeners will persist with the argument that it’s not enough. They will latch onto one case of HPV being missed or one woman with adenocarcinoma who was HPV negative as proof they need their smears.

      • I actually don’t think it’ll make much difference. Although these letters will be sent out, many religious screeners won’t understand what they mean. The hardcore screeners will just assume it’s another standard invitation. There’s a reason the procedure itself hasn’t changed, and it is about minimising the reputational damage already caused. If the test doesn’t feel any different, many won’t question anything. I think they’re hoping the unimformed are none the wiser, and that decliners jump back onto the wagon, attracted by the lower risk of incorrect results. That said, I have seen some women complain that the new test will not test for “abnormalities”! All in all, I think the unimformed will be very confused post the new roll-out!

    • I saw someone post on one of the DM responses that self testing is impossible and a lie because how can you possibly see your own cervix! They really don’t get it at all. Another woman of 55 posted that her GPs suggested that she drop screening at her age. She said she printed out proof that she must have it until 65 and “proved him wrong”. I think some GPs are sympathetic to overscreening and trying to offer older women the opportunity to discontinue, but these idiot women won’t have it.
      I had hoped that we might avoid the backlash which happened in Australia, but in spite of all the publicity, it looks like a substantial number of women are as brainwashed as ever.

      • Yeah, I saw that! She was responding to me (using the same pseudonym as I use on here). That was a really colourful debate on there. I have a sneaking suspicion that a few of Jo’s Tossers were on there, as one post was almost sales-like, along the lines of, “Come and get your smears ladies! They’re all free”. Some of the hardened pro-screeners were really showing their stupidity and ignorance. I hope that was relatively obvious to the casual observer.

  36. This came through as an email today: https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2019/02/01/new-hpv-implementation-guidance-for-cervical-screening-providers/
    Link to here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cervical-screening-primary-hpv-screening-implementation/cervical-screening-implementation-guide-for-primary-hpv-screening#information-materials
    “5.1.2 Screening information leaflet
    Women having primary HPV screening must be sent the screening leaflet ‘NHS Screening: Helping you decide’ and a copy of the leaflet for primary HPV screening together with their invitation letter.
    These leaflets must be sent with all screening invitations for a period of 6 weeks before the introduction of primary HPV screening protocols for that population in the laboratory. This will help to ensure that women attending for screening receive the correct information in time for the switch from cytology to hrHPV testing.
    Once a revision of the ‘NHS cervical screening: helping you decide’ leaflet is available, it will replace the 2 separate leaflets in current use.”

    Will women even read the leaflets? No doubt they will all just trot along like good little dumb girls & comply……all the time feeling that little bit special!

    • The comments make for interesting reading and only one banging on about screening. Most acknowledge that screening is a choice and targets are ludicrous. There’s one poster who says that she has been told that there is a 6-8 week wait for a referral to undertake a skin biopsy in order to test for suspected cancer! Yet, she hints that she is baffled that those undergoing screening for this cancer can get their results in a turn-around of two weeks! The more I read of the NHS, the more shambolic it seems to be getting.

      On another note, here’s another article (not screening related), that suggests a deep-rooted misogyny within some quarters of the NHS. Here, some trusts don’t even make sanitary products available for their patients to buy in hospitals. Some NHS Trusts sure like humiliating women: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47095251

  37. This came through today:
    “Getting a positive HPV test result has the potential to cause anxiety. It is therefore important to know how women feel about getting one and to understand the impact it may have on screening attendance.
    At University College London University College London (UCL) we are collaborating with the NHS and Public Health England to explore this issue in depth.
    We are particularly interested in speaking to women who have received an HPV positive with normal cytology test result. This means women with HPV who have normal cells in their cervix.
    We will be contacting a small number of women (around 1,500) who get this test result in London and Manchester to invite them to join our study”

    • Chas, they are still doing research into how women will cope with the “shocking news” that they have HPV. We are years behind the rest of the world. Also, they are still not going to extend the screening interval from 3 to 5 years, citing a lack of research into extending the intervals. (see my link below to the NSC minutes). Self testing they were going to limit to 25 year olds entering the programme – the very people who shouldn’t be testing themselves for HPV and even stranger, 90% of whom have had the vaccination. The screening bandwaggon rolls on, creating endless research jobs for the researchers, while women are stuck with this old test.
      Let’s hope the numbers attending shows further drops again this March .

  38. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NTnH3DrjuFHxHKjQ-6f8SauPrkHAz9n9/view?usp=drivesdk

    The UK National Screening Committee has just recently posted their latest (June 2018, they are always months behind.) meeting minutes. I hope the right link is attached above. Please see section 5.1 to 5.11 for HPV implementation. Shock news, they are reporting increasing demands for self testing! Still no decision to increase screening interval from 3 to 5 years even though it is HPV testing. Still saying can’t do it due to lack of evidence. We are so far behind every other country, while they go searching for evidence.

    • Brilliant. Where did you get this Ada? How dare they think that they can introduce self-sampling for some groups, but not for others! The NSC is beyond contempt. Glad they seem to have acknowledged the growing calls for self-testing and that they realise they’ll have to offer it to everyone. They promise to review evidence for screening intervals if/ when they come to light, or so they say. I have to say, I’m surprised they are considering self-sampling at all. I’ve always expected them to rule it out on some superfluous reason. Not that I’m crediting them of course. Their decision has more to do with people like us informing more and more women!

      • https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-national-screening-committee-uk-nsc
        Just Google The National Screening Committee. They meet 3 times per year and vet all new screening programmes for the UK, and review and make recommendstions on the old ones. Originally set up to prevent any more daft screening ideas from coming into practise. No screening programme is allowed in UK without their endorsement. I regularly check up on their meetings (see the link on the website). Trouble is it is full of the pro-screening lobby, such as Prof Stephen Duffy, the same Prof Duffy who led a personal attack against Peter Goetzsche when he said breast screening doesn’t work. The full details of this are in Goetzsche’s book on Mammography Screening, and we now know who was right about that!
        So, Duffy, a professor of public health is chairing a committee, which has not yet found evidence that HPV testing cannot be safely extended to more than 3 years, and is suggesting that HPV self-testing be offered to vaccinated 24 year olds to entice them into screening? He must know full well that this evidence has been around for years, and be well aware of what other countries are doing. As Elizabeth says, it’s all about keeping the old systemin place for as long as possible, and he clearly doesn’t put women first.

    • I always felt that was a stalling tactic, “we need more evidence”…when Finland and The Netherlands have had 5 yearly pap testing from age 30 to 60…and that’s since the 1960s!
      It seems incredible it’s taken so many countries decades to work out annual, 2 or 3 yearly screening is unnecessary and greatly increases the risks of over-treatment or that screening before 30 does not save lives but causes worry and damage. (and before age 25 causes a LOT of damage)
      I don’t believe it, they’re not that thick, I always felt it was a way to keep the lucrative status quo in place. They were pretty much forced to change the program here with more women walking away from screening and more becoming informed about HPV and self testing options. It was no longer safe to keep misleading women, although the new program still contains excess. You only have to do basic research to find that HPV testing before age 30 is a bad move, so naturally, we’re testing from age 25, there’s no doubt in my mind that’s to keep vested interests happy and to keep the “saved” from making a fuss – when you test young women and over-screen, you’ll have lots of “survivors”…so it was just too risky to move the starting age from 18 (or even younger) to 30.

      I read for many years, “we have to do our own research, our situation is different to Finland”…oh, really, how? No one could ever explain that statement.
      I think creating issues when there are none, held up progress here for a long time.
      I think the greater concern was keeping vested interests happy and not scaring the screening population.

  39. Well isn’t that wonderful! So glad that all those Drs knew what they were talking about in 2017 when they gave me gardisil at 17yrs /heavy sarcasm. And everyone wonders why I don’t trust most Drs.

    Re that study i wonder if the rise in cc is the hpv type or non hpv or both? Is there something in the vaccine that makes girls more susceptible to hpv? I suppose it doesn’t make much difference to me since it’s all but impossible for me to get hpv without some pretty significant changes in my life (infidelity, assault, improperly sterilized equipment) but there’s really no excuse for that. Even though i avoid taking any medications unless necessary I’m really getting tired of big pharma/FDA. “No, don’t worry this drug is perfectly safe! We promise, we promise!” 10yrs later: “oops it turns out that drug wasn’t safe afterall. Sorry! For everyone who was damaged by it we assume no responsibility, sucks to be you!” Really getting tired of that.

    • Comments are hilarious. Whether you go for smears or not, it seems to be unanimous that these campaigns are simply awful! Great to see so many getting the message.

    • The comments are awesome! Women are quite clearly sick of hearing about “smear tests”, “awareness”, “pre-cancer”… There are a few words I’d like to say to the NHS about their pressure campaigns and their constant bleating, but it’d never get published! PS Aren’t these women undermining the new HPV screening programme by equalling abnormal cells = pre-cancer. Own goal there lol!

      • Hahaha Rebekah Vardy has now blocked me on Twitter for asking why she is spreading misinformation about cervical cancer.

        She said her daughter will be starting smears before 25 even tho it’s against medical advice, HPV is caused by sex and cervical cancer develops quickly – errrrr no.

        It’s disgusting that nobody from the NHS or any charity is fact checking these attention seeking airheads. Silence, nothing. I’ve even asked them to step in (just to see if they’d act, they didn’t)

        I agree, it was wonderful to read the comments on this article. Women are clearly over the whole awareness raising/attention seeking act.

  40. Another day another daily fail article. Women will be put off going for smears and think their partner cheated if their smears come back HPV+

  41. AQ I’m Plugging away too. I have a splitting headache and the comments about making smears compulsory really wound me up lol….

      • I’ve corresponded with her before and she’s not one to give up easily. Not sure whether she got bored of the discussion and decided to move on, or whether she was genuinely speechless!
        She’s mentioned that she’s a cytologist, yet she quotes out of date studies and seems completely ignorant of studies that have led to major changes in the national screening programme! She seems quite plausible until she mentions the false positive result being only around 20%!

  42. Great to see all your comments on the Daily Mail! Fabulous seeing all those green arrows! It was also great to have all your support on the thread!

  43. Great to see all your comments on the Daily Mail. Fabulous to see all those green arrows and see the tables start to turn!
    It was wonderful to have your support on the thread!

    • We enjoyed every minute of it LOL! That Katie might have used up her daily allowance, or simply knew she was quoting some crap and got the hell out of there! All your comments were absolutely brilliant, most of mine were a little aggressive perhaps but it felt good LOL

      • My Anonymous post was ChasUK, not sure what happened there. Anyway thank you to all who posted with your great comments!

    • Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it a lot of fun winding all those women up! But my my, it’s bl**dy hard work! I try to argue in a way that exposes these women’s ignorance and utter stupidity and then wham! go in for the kill! (like they used to do to us. Only time they were made to look stupid!).
      That Allme, what an absolute n***er!

  44. I’ve just been through the comments section on the Daily Mail and Green Arrowed all your comments. Well done for putting the truth out there yet again. “Katie”, if she really works in the cytology industry, will be only mindful of keeping her own job, so will of course want more women in for screening.

    Every day there is another article about smear tests. This week it is embarrassment about being found to have HPV, last week it was embarrassment that your privates are not attractive – they just can’t accept that many women have reviewed the evidence and have decided not to participate in the screening programme. The bloke from Jo’s Trust – what is his agenda? Why is a man so concerned about women’s cervixes?

    • This “embarrassment” thing is just the pro screening industry’s latest slant in the decades-long ploy of gaslighting women to make them believe if they don’t want to undergo this vile, invasive procedure, then there’s something wrong with them and the women who screen are the normal ones. There will always be those who fall for it unfortunately, but it does seem like more women are waking up.

      • Judy, very well said – Gaslighting…..I never even thought of it, how true that is – thank you I shall use that in future LOL

      • ChasUK, my pleasure! This forum is about teaching, learning and gaining strength from other intelligent, informed women. Women building each other up, rather than tearing each other down which is what the screening industry, and indeed so much of society in general counts on, because together we are too much of a powerful force and much too threatening to the status quo.

    • I’ve done the same. DM website doesn’t seem to work well on my tablet, but I’ll set myself up again and try to post. The last comments were amazing.

    • His previous job was with Endometriosis UK. He’s totally creepy IMO. His very close links with influential personalities in the media and the NHS are way too close. Medical information should be honest and unbiased and I don’t think it right that NHS sites refer women to Jo’s Trust for medical information. Jo’s Tosh is a business, out there to make money. I find it totally unacceptable that NHS websites refer people to these businesses. I don’t see that this happens with other cancers.

      • He seems way too interested in women’s “problems” if you ask me. Maybe he could do with a “referral”.

  45. I reckon they have to keep inventing excuses as to why women don’t have screening, because if they face the truth, they risk having to confront the issue head on. Imagine what would happen if they admitted that screening is basically a load of c**p. Women might start asking them if all those treatments they had, really saved their lives. And if not, what was the point of having them? Were they a waste of time? Why were they encouraged to go? Who really benefitted here?!
    Saying women are embarrassed is so much safer, and as Ada once pointed out, it isolates those who don’t screen by encouraging those who do to attack and shame non-screeners into compliance.
    Issue is, it’s hit a snag as this approach no longer seems to be working. Most women are too busy to worry what a bunch of harridans on the DM think. So Jo’s To$$ers are in the $hit. Oops lol.

  46. In the 1970s and 1980s, LOTS of women, especially young women, had treatment for CIN. (all completely unnecessary and easily avoidable, Finland and The Dutch were not even testing women under 30)
    These women were scared to death, and to add to the ordeal, these procedures were carried out by male doctors, there was no choice of doctor back then, the few female doctors around were overloaded and most were not taking new patients.
    These procedures were way beyond embarrassing, they were mortifying, terrifying and so damaging, physically and mentally. I knew lots of women at Uni who were having pre-cancerous cells off, I know over the years many were puzzled that I’d never had cells off…of course, I wasn’t having pap testing so my cells were perfectly safe from this madness.
    I knew it had to be nonsense, why were so many young women suddenly having pre-cancerous cells off when I’d never heard of a single woman getting cervical cancer? My older female relatives had never heard of someone getting or dying from it either…
    I know some of these young women were left damaged and traumatized, that sort of trauma doesn’t go away, it often lasts a lifetime. So this program destroyed lives, turned healthy women into damaged women (in some way)…and in huge numbers.

  47. Jade Goody was the worst thing to happen in women’s healthcare. Not only was she a vile, racist lowlife, but her decision to have a very public death has hugely misinformed the public about cervical cancer. I’m intrigued to see what the reaction will be to the next round of cervical cancer propaganda we will be swamped with next month, as it will be the 10th anniversary of her death and a lot of events have been planned in the UK.
    It may be quiet now after January, but I think we can expect to see it in full swing again when March gets underway. Has the public had enough of her? Are they beginning to ask more questions and doubt the validity of the test? The whole publicised thing of her death, was like a 19th century freak show and I hope that the public have woken up and realised this. As she’s the poster girl for the screening campaign it would be interesting to see if the public turns against all this and the campaign falls flat on its face.

    • They’re testing the waters with weekly articles and the comments are encouraging.
      I’ve been thinking about this imminent campaign and what could be done to help counter it. I usually only comment on the Mail (The Guardian doesn’t allow as many comments on Articles), and I always have trouble posting on The Sun and The Express.
      However, I have been thinking of drafting a simple A4 sheet, along the lines of: “The NHS explicitly states that screening is a CHOICE. When discussing smear tests with your patients, remember you have an obligation to accept Informed consent. Coercing or unduly pressurising your patients to have a smear test against their will is unethical and unlawful – you risk a GMC complaint and you could potentially be reported to Police”.
      Disseminating them to local surgeries through post boxes or through email. Not saying it would work… but it might make some take notice. What are your thoughts on this?

      • AQ, I think we all need to do our own thing and express our views as we think fit. We have all had some bad experience of screening, all the experiences have been different, and we should all fight our corners for what affects us. I remember reading on an NHS website where a number of us had posted, that we were only the same vocal handful of dissenters who kept popping up everywhere, and that everyone else thought the programme was wonderful – a year later of including the wording “It’s your choice” and they are getting onto nearly a third who don’t take up the offer. I think that has shocked them and they are slowly waking up that it may not be such a little group of dissenters after all.
        I think they are monitoring these websites (Hello Jo’s!) and everywhere else that we post, so it’s important to bear this in mind, whatever you do. I try to make it clear to the pro-screening lobby that in future, they will have to share the stage with us now, and they won’t have the public platform to themselves any more. We’ll be there to balance the facts and show the other side of the coin. I also target politicians, because they need to know that not everyone has been sucked into the screening propaganda, and I think NHS bodies and UK govt health organisations are people I try to target.
        The backbone of the UK screening programme is the targets, which turn kindly GPs into bullies chasing targets rather than fair medical practitioners, and without these the programme would be nothing.

      • I think it’s a great idea. I’ve no doubt some will end up in the bin but I think it will actually freak out some surgeries into knowing that people are onto them in terms of coercing and bullying women.

  48. I gain great comfort from this website. I visit it most days and sometimes several times a day to check in to see if anyones commented. I love everyone here.

    You all liberated me from the system i was locked into.

    I never chose to have smear tests – the decision was made for me by Dr V and his practice nurse. They must have thought i was a young dumb working class girl who could be had. They lied to me and had the cheek to continue that lie for the best part of twenty years.

    Its such a vile invasive procedure i hated it and felt sorry i was born a woman having to put up with this.

    When i look on the internet i see it is a wash with women angered by the fact they’ve been forced to have unwanted genital exams. Doctors have basically forced themselves on women.

    The hallmark of being a woman is to have had some doctor stick his fingers in you. They particularly target young women. There are not many women who can declare some doctor has not forced them to have an unwanted genital exam. Who are these people that they can do this?

    There is an article on this site called gyno procedures can cause ptsd. They totally can. Doctors need to stop forcing themselves on women. The harms can be devestating. There are droves of women on different site who havd suffered at the hands of doctors whether its forced pap smears or to get the pill.

    I’m glad when i see more women waking up to this terrible treatment.

    I have arrowed a lot of the comments tho my tablet stops me from going on the dm site for some unkniwn reason. But i appreciate alk your comnents trying to educate women. Wd will be shown to be right one day.

  49. “It is estimated that 52,000 people in the UK die every year from sepsis”
    “It’s not just saving lives, a lot of people who survive sepsis suffer life-changing effects, including limb loss, kidney failure and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
    The small device can be implanted and used on patients in intensive care and can detect when sepsis levels go up.
    The researchers have applied for grant funding to develop a prototype device and hope to get commercial interest in taking it forward.
    They estimate it could be in use within three to five years.

    So all the money wasted on screening would go a very long way where it’s needed, actually saving lives! It could pay for this new test device for sepsis, time & staff. 3-5 years is too long & needed now.

    • It’s this type of thing that makes my blood boil. There are loads of terrible conditions that take many many more lives than cervical cancer, but when does anyone ever mention those or suggest testing for those? This sepsis test sounds like a great idea, if it ever comes to fruition, and hopefully it will be a reliable test with no/few false positives or negatives, like other tests we can mention!

      Cardiovascular deaths are far more common but there is no national screening for annual blood pressure tests or cholesterol checks. No one is bothered that your arteries could be clogged and about to burst – but lets get you up on the couch and check your reproductive organs ‘just in case’.

      I think the reason is that no one is interested if it doesn’t involve women’s intimate areas. I am sure it is all driven by perversion.

      • Yes, we throw money at a rare cancer and yet people are dying every day of much more common conditions. Can they always get the help they need? No. Are there budget constraints? Yes but let’s ignore what’s actually harming most people and continue with ramming screening for a rare illness down the throats of women.

        I agree about the private parts and I think in the beginning it actually worked in favor of the program. Women had an interest taken in a cancer that was just theirs. They felt like their health was being taken seriously at last and at the time, they didn’t know any better. Access to unbiased information would have been hard to come by if available at all by trawling a reference library and it was very much billed as an important part of specifically women’s healthcare.

        Obviously things have changed. Women have easier access to information, are more empowered to question, are more educated than ever and doctors are no longer treated as all-knowing Gods.

        Women have changed but the program hasn’t. That’s why those old tricks just aren’t working anymore and they are trying new angles all the time. They’re desperate.

  50. More from the daily fail. Thanks to the HPV vaccine and our wonderful screening programmes CC will become non existent by 2100

  51. Does anyone fancy commenting on this Facebook site called “Healing From LEEP/LLETZ- off topic group” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2222729547939149/?multi_permalinks=2238030966409007&notif_id=1550711537597448&notif_t=group_activity

    I can’t believe how many women are having trouble after this awful procedure Lletz. I just wouldn’t know where to start with them all, I really feel for them and what they’re going through. Not sure what to say, how to say it……………..that this was most likely unnecessary treatment?

    • I’m a member of that group, and it’s so hard to read all those stories when you know that most of these women are victims of bad medicine. Even though it infuriates me, I feel a little cruel when I mention overdiagnosis/overtreatment in the main group – these women are struggling emotionally and physically and I’m sure the only comfort they have is the thought that they were saved from the big bad C. Telling them it was probably all for nothing feels like kicking them when they’re down. The off-topic group seems a little more hardened towards medical B.S.though.

      • I haven’t done facebook in ages but I belonged to a hysteroscopy group once. I was amazed by the reasons that women were sent to hysteroscopy for, and TBH I couldn’t stand it any more. Women were sent, not because they had any symptoms of anything at all, but because nurse thought she might have seen something unusual from a smear test. So women are sent along to have the rod and camera shoved into their womb, and believe it or not, UK hospitals are incentivised to do as many as possible with no anaesthetic. Women are told to take a couple of aspirin before going and often given no idea of what awaits them. A hospital nurse who became a patient herself demanded hers be done under general anaesthetic because she knew most screamed and cried their way through it unaware they could have asked for a general. A woman was told to smile at the waiting victims in the waiting room on the way out to keep them from finding out what awaits them.
        Some women were martyrs to gynaecology. I couldn’t make out what their appointments were for half the time, many were unclear themselves but accepted repeat referrals as a way of life.
        I’ve looked at the smear takers training, and all these nurses do is take the swab. I don’t think they have any real knowledge about what is medically right and wrong, and if they have any element of doubt that something may not be right, the women are sent off for hysteroscopies at the drop of a hat. Margaret McCartney is right when she says that cervical screening has made women afraid of their own bodies. It’s not just letz and colposcopies, but hysteroscopies are also done at mere suggestion of a nurse who isn’t sure.

      • Painful procedures with no anesthesia seems to be quite the norm in gynecology. Samples taken during colposcopy are taken without numbing first because supposedly the cervix has no nerves. Yet women report it as being very painful. The same with uterine biopsies. I think it just underscores the contempt the medical profession has for women and our bodies.

      • You’re right & guessing best leave well alone, these poor women have been through enough……….but OMG it is tempting but wouldn’t get anywhere with them. As you say they believe they have been saved! Thanks for your comment here though.

  52. Ada is is horrific…I’m sure the daily fail did a piece on hyseroscopy a while back and suggested it should be offered as a screening test to screen for uterine cancer. I’m sure even less women would “accept ” their “invitations ” than they do for smears……

    • Kat, some of the stories on there were quite horrific. Medics didn’t stop when asked to. Patients are given foam stress balls to squeeze when the pain gets too much. No evidence that these work, of course, but another thing for NHS to waste money on. Staff blatently say many women scream the place down and these units often put on top floors “where no-one can hear you scream”. Hospitals are on incentive payments to avoid general anaesthesia wherever possible and so certainly don’t advertise it is available. I was automatically offered GA at the outset as I think they suspected my case might be serious, so I was astonished to hear this isn’t usual. Many of the women in the facebook group had had a very bad experience and are involved in drawn out complaints with NHS. When asked one said she’d been referred because nurse thought she saw something on smear, but a lot were possible polyps, but women so readily put on the conveyor belt at drop of a hat. I mentioned I didn’t do smear tests and that met stunned silence. All seemed to be very pro-smears and very much wedded to the gyne merry-go-round with repeat appointments and ongoing terror. I feel I’m done with all that.

      • Ada that’s sick. I was issued a stress busting piggy toy in my role as a trade union representatives. And top floors so screams can’t be heard.? Vomit able. So sorry to hear what u went through.
        Linda…a friend and colleague was offered the one off flexible sig screening test at 55. She was pro screening til then. Attended every smear and mammograms. Family history of breast cancer, she got a few benign breast lumps. She “accepted”her “invitation ” to the flexibility sig. In doing so they nicked or damaged her bowel. She was left in agonising pain and with explosive diarrhoea. She wore an incontinence pad for months as she was fecally incontinent. She had to apply enemas every day then the hospital decided to do xolonoscopyto rule out cancer even through her symptoms only started after her screening. Which turned out fine BTW, A ubbly outgoing woman she turned down an invite to her yearly old school resources union on account of the explosive diarrhoea. She’s fine now but endured he’ll on earth for over a year. She now sees where I come from refusing all screening. …

  53. On another note I’m 55 next week and eagerly awaiting my “invitation ” to hack CO2 gas and a camera shoved up my bum. I’ll obviously be declining and opting out of both this and the shit kits. What then one off screening did to my friend I’ll never forget

      • My friend spoke with me at length before she had the colonoscopy. She realised her “symptoms ” only started after her screening. She’d researched and realised she could or could have died. She felt she had to take xolonoscopyto. ..

  54. Also…on a personal capacity. I found smears repugnant I did manage to have some. I know there’s absolutely no way I’d ever consent to anything going up my backside…what else can I say?

  55. https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/terms-of-reference-review-national-cancer-screening-programmes-england/

    There is to be a review of the UK cancer sceening programmes and people are invited to put forward their comments. For a moment it seemed like they might actually be listening to the UK public on this, but having read the documents it appears that by people they mean Jo’s Tosh and other “patient advocacy groups” who tell you to suck it up and do as you’re told. Naturally the whole conversation is around how to increase uptake. These people live in a bubble of self-importance and self-righteousness. They don’t seem to get it, that a lot of people don’t want this screening nonsense.

    • I suppose it means fewer and fewer will screen, they’ll stall and bluster for as long as possible, then hopefully, they’ll slowly wind the programs back – that will be a great day. Would it be too much to ask to put the money into seriously underfunded areas, for example, people with real health needs – and leave the healthy people alone!
      More money for aged care, palliative care including in-home care, psychiatric services – reduce the wait for elective surgery like hip replacements etc.
      Too much to ask? Probably…
      We’re still wasting money here, HPV testing women from 25, sending lots off for unnecessary colposcopy and biopsies, testing too often and for too long…
      Breast screening: they’ve now accepted they won’t reach the target, so they did the next best thing to protect the program and their interests – they extended the screening age to 75 (from 70)
      Is there any evidence of benefit? No, not really…
      Any evidence of harm? Absolutely, over-diagnosis and over-treatment is a serious risk.

      It baffled me for a long time why we screened the wrong way and continued down that path side stepping the mounting evidence of harm for no benefit to women – then I worked out…it’s got very little to do with women and healthcare, it’s a matter of fine tuning the program to get as many women to screen as possible and keeping all the vested interests happy at the same time, not easy…

  56. Elizabeth what I think is scary is that the programme will b the victim of its own”success”. For years we were brainwashed we need these smears and if they try to pull back there’ll be protests about governments murdering women..didn’t something similar happen in Australia?

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. Anyone who tries to stop the program or even scale it back is going to suffer huge fallout from pro-screening enthusiasts. There will need to be an extensive deprogramming campaign and that literally takes years. It’s not going to be pretty that’s for sure.

      • In the US, we have the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), which is an independent panel of experts that make evidence-based recommendations on screening tests. Whenever they recommend scaling back any screening program, there’s always pushback from pro-screeners saying the insurance industry is behind it, trying to save themselves money. In particular when the USPSTF several years ago recommended against starting mammograms at age 40, there was a huge outcry, with one women’s talk show host comparing it to genocide!

      • I think that’s one of the reasons change has been so slow. Some extremist elements within screening are the ones holding back the tide. I think a minority of NHS quarters would be pleased to see it go, if only to save some cash.

  57. Yep. Look at the outcry when Crapita failed to “invite ” the women to screening. Lives put at risk a disaster for women! Unacceptable! Even though it was pointed out actually no woman was harmed or died. …..

  58. Hi All

    Earlier on today I was trawling through the PHE (Public Health England) – Helping you Decide, to look at something that has been troubling me for some time.

    “So why do we focus on choice rather than just making screening compulsory? Wouldn’t compulsory screening help more people?”


    I was wondering at their choice of language. “Just make screening compulsory” They seem to think that on a whim, their organisation is in the position to make screening for everyone mandatory; that people could be forced to accept screening as something they cant get out of because they have made it law.

    Looking at the Human Rights legislation enacted in 2000, Article 8 of the Human Rights act clearly states that – persons have the right to a private life – including the right to decide who sees and touches their body.

    This is a very important law to help people protect their dignity, especially in a medical setting.
    If PHE was to make screening mandatory would this leave them operating outside of the law? Where would we stand legally if we were to refuse screening? Where would they?

    Would PHE push government to implement new laws which make the old ones impotent or obsolete? Would the Human Rights Act need to be scrapped in order to accommodate their demands? Would a special law enable them to operate within the parameters of the law? Something similar to article 251 for example. Which just about kept the cervical screening programme within the law.

    We all know for the best part of thirty years the British Cervical Screening Programme has been ignoring human rights issues. We know that the way it has been enacted has been nothing short of human rights abuse. – by pretending screening was mandatory – refusing to prescribe the pill or other medication – striking people from their patient lists.

    But times have changed. Women have changed. We know longer accept the stories from the authorities. We no longer trust them because of the trust that was broken. All in huge numbers.
    That is why the numbers of women screening are in free fall.

    So why does this dinosaur of an organisation still cling to the glorious times of days past? Thinking and believing that can make screening compulsory if they so wished it. Perhaps in countries like India or China where there are no laws protecting individuals – But Britain in 2019 seriously?

    • I read through the article, and I’m not sure if that was an indication that they feel they could force women to screen so much as it was a rhetorical question they proceed to answer with an entire article explaining that screening is always elective and admitting that screening has risks and downsides that some women might decide aren’t worth it. Which was kind of refreshing, that they admitted that the risks to screening are not small or meaningless or “not as bad as cancer is so just shut up and do it”, that the risks are legitimately big enough that women might not out because of them. And that that is perfectly okay and not a hint of suggestion that maybe women shouldn’t know the facts because they may choose not to screen if they knew them.I

      It maybe not rhetorically much as a direct answer to the cult of screening that maybe has written letters or left complaints (probably infuriated after talking to a non-screener) demanding that screening be made compulsory and wanting an explanation for why there still isn’t a law that says “all women must spread their legs for regular genital exams or face legal action and prison time, whereupon it shall be forced on them physically”.

      Btw, I know exactly how they’d force everyone to spread their legs,but I’m a little worried to type it out for fear they’ll get ideas. Sounds like the program over there is pretty desperate.

    • This is what I was banging on about in my comments before Christmas! And I recall similar discussions around the “Health MOTs” that the government introduced around a decade ago.

      With the screening figures now approaching critical levels and looking like falling off the cliff with every passing day, there’s only one of two ways in which this programme is likely to go; accept it and gradually evolve and adapt the testing to offer self-HPV testing, or throw it’s toys out of the pram, stamp its’ feet and say, no, women won’t be allowed to “get away” with refusing to screen and resort to more archaic measures.

      The reality is, the Cervical Screening Programme is currently staring down its own gun barrel. What will its promoters do to ensure its survival? What can they do?

      It’s pretty exciting to see the tide turn but I’ve also considered the alternatives.

      The current screening campaigns indicate that its supporters are resorting to increasingly desperate measures. What I’ve noticed online is that the bullying tactic now seems to be losing its effect. Some years ago, a woman would have felt guilty or ashamed for not screening. An educated, informed, young woman today might be more likely to say, “I’ve made my choice. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel ashamed. I’m not losing any sleep over this. Get over it.”

      The bullying is simply irrational and ridiculous.

      We have a number of things to thank for changing attitudes; ease of access to information regarding screening and women themselves. If you believe in “empowerment” and a woman’s right to do absolutely anything, you can’t just then say, but “except when it comes to screening. She is not to be trusted with making her own decision about that”. It’s an anomaly that doesn’t fit with how screening operates.

      I reckon the hassling campaigns will continue, but hopefully they will continue to lose their effect. It will take more women to come out and say “enough is enough” for change to continue.

      I don’t want to discuss Brexit on here as everyone has a different take on it but I have often wondered, what effect (if any) that would have on screening?
      I know the ECHR is not directly tied to EU jurisdiction but they do sit side by side. Does EU Law (I haven’t looked up at EU directives by the way) offer us some guarantees or protections? I know it does with regards to discrimination by the state.
      Even though we’d continue to subscribe to the ECHR, would we be at risk if some lobbyists were successful in amending some aspects of the HRA?
      Or perhaps, it would be the opposite? After all, can it really be said that the HRA has protected us at all? Seems as though it hasn’t as there is a “qualifying” aspect to it. It is not an absolute right.

      We also need to be mindful of misguided liberalism who believe it’s in women’s interests to force them to do certain things.

      An important factor that comes into this argument and which will hold a lot of sway is money. With pressure on the public purse like never before, I imagine a lot of NHS Trusts will be loathe to see something go that enables them to carry out their misogynistic control of women, however the expense of it all can’t really be justified in the current economic climate. Will they continue to fight to keep it, in view of the fact that there are huge waiting lists for cancer treatment for adults and even children? Seems to me that they’d certainly like to, but might not be able to hence why we’re seeing it palmed off on others.

      Perhaps austerity is our friend in certain respects after all.

  59. Another (groundhog) day….3 stories in our beloved daily fail about smears and CC….Why radiotherapy with a needle can beat CC.
    One in 4 women thinks a smear detects ovarian cancer. I commented if they believe that they’re not giving informed consent..
    And ministers plan to end transfer discrimination in NHS screening programmes…..

    • Oh yeah, I saw that and left a few comments! I see the crazies are all out in force again! The points I have raised are, why do so many women believe that a smear will not only prevent cervical cancer but will also “save” them from all manner of reproductive female ills? Where have they got this information from?? I’ve posted on cervical cancer articles over the years and I’ve seen women post about cervical smears detecting ovarian cancer. My two penny’s worth is that the NHS has been over-zealous in their promotion of cervical screening over the years and has actually encouraged all this ignorance to try and get those take-up figures up. Only now, they’re having to backtrack for damage control. Oops lol.

  60. Misinformation was never corrected if it helped the program. Dishonesty was the cornerstone of the program so it was no problem to have women walking away from a colposcopy thinking they had a cancer scare or the removal of “abnormal” cells becaming a treatment for cancer.
    Pap tests covered ovarian cancer too…and uterine cancer. I always found it highly hypocritical when I was quickly challenged by doctors and others when I posted with medical references, outlining the evidence but absolute rubbish was fine. I was also told a few times that women may die if i put them off testing but of course, their disgraceful conduct was fine. Unbelievable!

    • Moreover, these pseudo cancer survivors throw muck into the whole discourse of cancer treatments. They credit whatever they were doing for it – from rafe machines to diet to holding rituals to whatever-primitive-deity-you-don’t-believe-in as being THE CURE for cancer. The truth is that these people – women in this case – never did have cancer. They are not cancer survivors – they are scare survivors. But, they have all of these testimonials from people who are alive years later…. they can use them to sell whatever goofy cure they want to.

      Meanwhile, all of this noise being out there makes some other people cautious. Yes, it might make some of us too cautious, but we demand to see evidence that the procedure helps with this condition, and refuse it if it doesn’t make sense. Then, those who take the good doctor’s advice without any further evidence are the good and responsible patients with their healthcare money, while those who question what the snake oil is going to do are the “irresponsible” ones who often “need” intervention.

      The whole thing throws a lot of confusion out there. When someone has a *real* cancer, that really is advanced and likely to kill them shortly, all of these “cancer survivors” make the polyannas come out in force to “cheer up” the person who is truly dying of cancer – or even dissuade him/her from using the time to “get their affairs in order”, while not wasting money and time and their own energy taking some “cancer cure” bound to fail.

      I guess they need more grateful patients who are sure the good doctor saved their life to get the bills paid.

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