Radical Changes to Pap Testing in Australia

As of December 1, 2017, Australia introduced some big changes to its cervical cancer screening program.   The outdated pap test has been replaced with a new HPV test, and intervals between testing have extended from once every two years to testing once every five years.  There is also a new recommended age to begin testing.  Australian women were previously encouraged to begin screening at age 18, but women are now advised to begin screening at age 25.

The reason for the changes is due to the improved accuracy of the HPV test. Experts claim that HPV testing is more accurate than the pap test, and therefore does not need to be done as often (source).

371 comments

  1. Australia’s new guidelines are a start. I can hear all the gynos out there screaming and howling that women still must come in yearly to get their annual rape done. Women in the Netherlands have a home cervical screening test available to them; I wonder if it will be modified to include (or exclusively be) the HPV. I forget if I mentioned it on this site or not; The United Nations World Health Organization has also spoken out very recently calling for the reduction of paps, and questioning the whole getting felt up the vajayjay part. The organization flat out said that pelvics are over done. Their conclusions were scientific, evidence based. The bimanual part detects nothing. It does not detect uterine or ovarian or anything, frankly. But at least this whole subject is starting to get some attention. I, of course, have made the decision that I am done with all this nonsense. Keep fighting the good fight, women! I love all of you!

  2. http://www.rivm.nl/en/Documents_and_publications/Common_and_Present/Brochures/Disease_Prevention_and_Healthcare/Cervical_cancer_screening_programme/Screening_for_cervical_cancer_invitation

    The Dutch cervical screening leaflet is here in English. They are so progressive. The leaflet makes it clear that screening is a choice, some women may be harmed. The self HPV test is also offered and they do not screen pregnant women.
    Our new NZ programne encourages smear takers to test pregnant women if they are not up to date. They will not treat pregnant women until after the pregnancy and they admit that a specialist colposcopist is needed to look at the pregnant cervix and that what may present as CIN, readily regresses post pregnancy.
    As suspected, the sheeple are protesting about the raised screening age in Australia and the extended screening age. They cannot work out that those running the screening programmes have known about overtreatment for years. They believe they would not be here if their cervices hadn’t been sliced and diced aged 20 plus.
    I had a discussion with a Doctor telling me that self HPV tests were only an option for those refusing the speculum and a poor second to a physician collected sample.
    The new evidence suggests that PCR self HPV testing is as accurate as a physician collected sample.

    • Thanks Kiwicelt for linking the Dutch cervical screening leaflet. The English leaflet states:
      “When you are between 30 and 60 years old, you will automatically receive an invitation for the free screening every 5 years”. Also, if women between 40 and 50 years old do not test positive for HPV they are invited for screening again in 10 YEARS.
      The leaflet states: “If you do not have HPV, the risk of getting cervical cancer within 10 years is very small. So small, that another smear test in 10 years’ time will give you sufficient protection.”
      The Dutch program helps to highlight how excessive programs are in other parts of the world. They don’t begin screening until age 30, and then scale back to once every 10 years for women between 40 and 50 years old who do not test positive for HPV. And yes, they make if very clear that screening is a choice, and that it might not be the best course of action for all women.
      The fact they don’t screen women when they are pregnant or have just given birth is interesting! They do not explain why this is the case . . .

      • Presumably because of the changes to the pregnant cervix.
        I have information from our Updated Guidelines for Cervical Screening in NZ which state ” Changes to the cervix during pregnancy make colposcopic assessment more challenging. Although the squamocolumnar junction (SCJ) and the T zone are more exposed, complete visualisation of all four cervical quadrants is often hindered by oedema, cyanosis, vaginal wall protrusion and thick mucus production. An experienced colposcopist should perform the examination because of the difficulty in differentiating between changes that result from pregnancy and those due to cervical pathology. A less experienced colposcoppist could potentially overestimate the severity of dysplasia, mistakenly diagnose invasive disease and prompt uneccessary investigation during pregnancy”

        The NHS do not encourage screening in pregnancy but NZ are quite happy to get medical professionals to do it.

        Just to say I too, think this site is brilliant.Great to interact with likeminded informed individuals. Thank you.

      • The guidelines also say
        “Because treatment is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications ‘HSIL’ diagnosed during pregnancy should be treated after delivery. This approach is safe as ‘CIN’ progresses to invasive disease during pregnancy in only 0-3% of cases. Almost all of these cases are micro-invadive and amenable to curative treatment. It is also common for CIN to regress post partum.”

  3. I love this website and am really pleased I found it but could I say that the pictures of speculums on this article and elsewhere are really triggering and unpleasant for me.

    I am not able to look at the website some days because I cannot cope with seeing them.

    It would be good if they were removed 🙂

    • Hi Sophia,
      Thanks very much for your feedback. I’m sorry to hear how the picture was affecting you and I have now replaced the speculum picture with an Eve HPV self-test image.
      I am leaving the others in place for a few reasons, including those related to cognitive behavioral therapy (exposure therapy) that some women may find empowering/therapuetic over time. The images do get views, perhaps because some women are simply curious to see what gets inserted, and in this sense might be empowering as well.
      The other pictures are hopefully easier for you to avoid, but I realize the top place position of the now deleted picture would have been more difficult to avoid, and for that reason replaced it with hopefully a less triggering one for you.
      Sue XO

      • Hi Sue and thank you for changing the photo 🙂

        Unfortunately I can’t avoid the photos. There are six photos of speculums on the homepage that I see every time I visit. Each article is listed on the homepage and all show the photo for the article. So there is no way to avoid them.

        I understand that some women want to look at them and why.

        I think having them in a separate article/tab (like you have “About” and “References and Education” etc at the top of the homepage) would be better. If women want to see them then they can look but I am not forced to look at them if I want to read the information/support here.

        This should be a safe site but sadly because of the photos it is not and I have to limit the times I visit or avoid it altogether.

    • Sophia, you can block images on specific websites by changing settings in your web browser. If you Google “how to block images on a specific websites”, you will find step-by-step instructions on how to do it. That way you won’t have to see the images when you visit the website, but other women will still be able to see them if they want to.

    • If you find a picture of a speculum disturbing, you should also Google tenaculum, another tool of female genital torture. Apparently, in this day and age of technological advancement, there is still no better way to hold a cervix or uterus than to take a tool with sharp metal claws, grab the cervix with it by puncturing holes, sink the claws into the meat and clasp the tool, causing tissue injury, bleeding and severe pain. Often this is done without any warning or anesthetic, because old farts at AMA think that “women don’t have nerve endings down there”. Perhaps their wives don’t, since they’ve never displayed any emotions in bed, but all other women do! Can you imagine anything of the sort done to a male penis?

  4. I remember reading somewhere (maybe here) that HPV tests can be done by a self-swab… which made me wonder why in Aust it still has to be done by a GP with a speculum? The first article on this I read in Aus earlier this year said it would still be with a speculum, and the linked article says women won’t notice any difference with the test, other than that it happens less often now. I supposed the increased accuracy is a positive thing, but I’m still not sure if the invasive nature of the test is warranted.

    • Daia there is a self HPV test available for women in the new Australian screening programme.

      http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/6D318177BD8D1D0ECA2581C4001C2F75/$File/CAN180-Quick-Ref-Guide-Self-Collected.pdf

      They are not publicising this. It is only to be offered to women over 30 who are “overdue” by two years or more or who have never screened. I get the impression that Drs are offering it as a last resort if they cannot persuade a woman to accept the speculum. A woman will get one Self HPV test and once on the register, will be directed to a speculum test next time. NZ are not offering self HPV testing when they first roll out Primary HPV testing in 2018.

      • If you are in Oz and you choose to screen, be firm and demand a self HPV test. If more of us do this things may slowly change.

      • Hmmm in a way this kind of makes the whole thing even worse – so even when there are options available for women NOT to have someone poking around inside them, the default is still to go internal…. this really must be some sort of rape… how can anyone ‘consent’ to this procedure if they’re not told there is another option? This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach.

  5. Daia
    That’s right, there’s a self-test option but we’ll be told it’s not as good as a sample taken by a doctor, women who want to self test will have to stand firm, I read somewhere that you’d have to decline the invasive HPV test for 6 years before you’d be offered a self test. They probably hope in that time they can get most women to accept the invasive HPV test.
    The HPV self-test is really just an attempt to get non-screeners on board, the attitude is…”you can’t say no now, he’s a self test option”…
    Wrong, I’ll continue to say NO,
    The program definitely doesn’t want women who currently have pap testing to start doing HPV self testing, so they’ll make it as hard as possible, and mislead women by saying it’s not as reliable.

    There were self test options online, like the Delphi Screener, but I assume too many Aussie women were using them – so they seem to have blocked the sites, that doesn’t surprise me, this is what they do, block all alternatives to force women into the program.

    Of course, women using the Delphi Screener may have worked out the significance of your HPV status: HPV- and you’re not at risk of cc, but more than that…HPV- and no longer sexually active or confidently monogamous…you might choose to forget about testing.

    Our program has (IMO) knowingly and seriously over-screened women for decades and over-treated HUGE numbers, many left worse off…there was always a better way, but they chose to continue to put women through pointless and excessive testing that did nothing but fill up day procedure.
    It tells me they don’t give a damn about women and our health and well-being, I wouldn’t trust them for a second. I know someone heading for Singapore to use the Delphi Screener, there are some cheap airfares at the moment, so she decided to take a 5 day break and use the Screener while she was there…that way she can confidently tell them to shove their program. (she’s confident her status will be HPV-) Remember that about 95% of women aged 30 to 60 are HPV-…

    By the way, the self test HPV option here won’t be available for the “unscreened” until next year, they claim there’s a problem with the lab accreditation, who knows whether that’s right or not.

    • I read that about the self test not being available yet. Maybe they are deliberately holding it back, wouldn’t surprise me.

    • The other thing that enraged me was the fact that if you are” eligible” for a self test, you have to do it under supervision at the GP surgery. Total control! I would just march right out taking my self test with me if I were going to screen.

      • The “Eve” kit is available in the US for $110. It still looks awful, and I would never be able to do that to myself.

  6. Why are they so against self testing?
    I think a few reasons: deeply entrenched paternalistic attitudes in the medical profession, a lack of respect for women, our dignity, bodily privacy and comfort.
    This program has ignored ethical and legal requirements for consent and informed consent from the very start.
    It also comes down to medical profits, they want women going into the consult room on a regular basis. Also, the perceived need to control women combined with the accepted fact that women can’t be trusted with their own health.
    Doctors have used the Pill, HRT and pre-natal care to force women into Pap testing, it’s all about entrapment, there was never anything elective about this program.
    This program doesn’t care about women, they’re happy to force women into regular and invasive testing when they know almost all can’t benefit but can certainly be harmed, they persist with the speculum exam in older women knowing most would be HPV- and knowing it will cause pain, bleeding, bruising/soreness and may even cause a UTI. They do Pap testing on pregnant women, seeing an opportunity to catch these women, but knowing the test is even more unreliable during pregnancy and that testing will often lead to months of worry about a false positive result and the possibility of a referral for an excess colposcopy. It’s cruel…
    We test young women knowing it doesn’t help but leads to lots of excess biopsies and over-treatment, we’ll continue to worry and harm our young women under the new program, we’ll start hpv testing at 25 even though the evidence clearly says…do not test before age 30.
    It says to me vested interests want these young women…to do pointless testing and for all the lucrative follow up.
    We had an opportunity to adopt an evidence based program, one that freely offered hpv self testing, it would have produced results, saved more lives with far fewer women being harmed but no….vested interests won again.

    • You are so right Elizabeth. I agree that screening women in pregnancy is cruel. Imagine being pregnant and thinking you are at risk of Ca cervix, as many will. The health professionals know that even if you have ‘HSIL’ it will not be treated It is a pointless exercise. Hopefully some Doctors and LMCs will put the woman first. In our new programne they are considering offering vaginal oestrogen to get that speculum into post menopausal women! No mention of a self HPV test.
      As I have declined all further screening, I haven’t visited my Doctor in nearly four years. When I hit 55 I will, apparently, be offered a blood test so that I can be cardiovascularly risk asessed I won’t be having that either nor will I allow my weight to be taken or my blood pressure( I monitor that myself). From now on I take total charge of my health care.I will inform my Doctor when I am in need of his help.

    • It actually causes miscarriages in pregnant women, but some doctors will threaten to call CPS if a pregnant woman refuses. They simply cannot let go of trying to rape women.

      I almost qualified for the airforce and turned it down due to the required pelvic exam and even before qualifying, there was a required exam where the woman had to be completely naked while the doctor ran his fingers all over every part of her body. Gross!

  7. I met a woman at at a arty then other night. I mentioned I go to holistic Dr. and I am Dr Phobic. She started questioning me about screenings. ( what nerve) . She would nor acknowledge the fact that I am phobic. Just went on how it would save my life. I just said I choose not to screen.
    Why other women so insensitive , to women who have Dr Phobia. I found women Gyn even worse tan the men.
    I am so happy I finally gave tying to get help foe my issue. ( vaginimous or whatever).
    Yrs of anxiety and abuse and no help!.

    I agree its all about vested interest. SICKING!
    Too bad if Drs don’t respect my right not to screen!

    • I think the women are worse than the men because they were all violated. Women who have been tortured LOVE to ensure that other women are tortured.

  8. https://theconversation.com/never-had-a-pap-smear-now-theres-a-diy-option-for-you-70706
    Some interesting comments…
    Again, no mention that some women choose not to screen, and that’s fine, it’s all about getting every woman screened who falls into the target population. There’s some discussion about HPV self testing, looks like it will now be offered to women more than 2 years “overdue”…but the sample must be collected at the GPs surgery, they’re using a general swab – the comment is made it’s almost as good as a test taken by a GP – so you can imagine the Delphi Screener is going to be just as good.
    Of course, the whole program and official discourse drip of disrespect and the need to control women…and part of that is blocking access to things like the Delphi Screener.

    • “A doctor or nurse will tell you how to collect your own sample, which you can do in private if it makes you feel more comfortable”

      Of course you would want to collect your sample in private! The idea that a doctor or nurse would watch you as you collect the sample brings this process to a whole new level of creepiness.

  9. https://www.tga.gov.au/advert-exempt/advertising-exemption-delphi-bioscience-australasia-delphi-screener-d200
    “Approval under section 42DF for use of restricted representations by Delphi Bioscience Australasia”
    The approval expired on 1/5/2017 so this is probably why the Delphi Screener seems to have vanished here…it was a restricted approval anyway, but now the precious new program is about to start…that’s the end of the Delphi Screener for Aussie women. (unless you fly to Singapore)
    I’ve sent an email to the Singapore office to see if they’ll post out the kit and allow women to return it for checking, I’m sure the answer will be no, unless you go through an Aussie GP.

    If we were serious about reducing the already low incidence of cc, we’d make it easy for women to test, allow them to buy the Screener and then give them sound advice, whether they’re HPV- or HPV+

  10. Australian “healthcare” system has been cornered into changing the program. They run out of lies and excuses, they could no longer continue with the antiquated, unreliable and harmful pap testing. But even then, they delayed the changes for a few years, to get extra time for finding new employment opportunities for the lab staff whose salaries were dependent on the pap-machine. How many hundreds of women have been harmed during these interim years – the system doesn’t care. It has always been about control and profits, not about health or care.

    Unfortunately, even with paps gone, cervical screening registers will still be operating, which means Australian women won’t be able to screen without their personal details being sent off to the genital surveillance database (unless they tell the doctor to write “not for register” on the lab form, and the lab complies). There is also a national surveillance register on its way, and its operation has been auctioned off to Telstra. That’s right: every woman that has ever agreed to a cervical test had her personal and medical information sold by the government to a private company without her knowledge or consent!

    Australia finally ditched the paps, but it won’t let go of control and surveillance. That’s why Delphi screener was blocked: our medical system doesn’t want women to do tests and make decisions without the system knowing. And until Australian medical system allows 100% anonymous testing, I will never believe that they are not obsessed with control and surveillance.

  11. That’s right, Alice, it’s their way or women are left with nothing, they’ve closed off other avenues to force women into the program…you’re left with a trip to Singapore to use the Delphi Screener.
    So they’d prefer you unscreened than doing your own thing, even when that option is far superior to anything offered by our new program.
    It’s a disgraceful way to treat women.

  12. This is wonderful news that testing is becoming more HPV oriented instead of the rather vaguely described PAP test. My only question is if NOT at risk for HPV whatsoever will Doctor’s still insist it be done anyway? Asking instead for date of last HPV test as opposed to the date of last PAP test question and then still berating you for NOT having it done either… I can NO longer tolerate going to the doctor’s because I have been lied to and deceived so, many times about this BS as well. However, there will likely come a time where I once again find myself at a Doctor’s office or Hospital for an emergency situation of sorts. And it would be nice to know there may come a time when they can say to me “NOT at risk NO need to test either at home or in the office, we’ll just focus on YOUR reason for this visit instead 🙂 .”

    • PS. with all the other very critical and more frequent STI’s and STD’s out there the only one these people seem to focus so, heavily on is something that may or may NOT be living in the vagina, but NO one really asks are you at risk or NOT at risk for STI’s and STD’s in general. In the last year or so, the push in the news sources where I live has been for the PAP test with HPV test-( AKA way over testing it!) But, hopefully this too, shall pass.

      • Hi Anna, a lot of women in the UK have been doing their homework and been telling their doctor/nurse that they are not at risk. Unfortunately, many women have then come in for deeper probing about their personal lives: What still a virgin at your age! Pushed to explaining whether penetration took place at all, whether their relationship is a faithful one or not. In the UK, womens records are marked and pop up on the screen before you have closed the door and sat down. It’s the first question that will be fired at you. I’ve read online accounts by women who are still having to explain their virginity well into middle age. It’s deeply insulting, and won’t change unless women recognise how unethical this is and make a stand against this.

  13. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jade-lane/cervical-screening_b_4959164.html
    We need to hear from more women who choose not to screen, this reporter says no to cervical screening, must have been frustrating for many that you couldn’t leave a comment.
    I recall reading the article written by Margaret McCartney and another woman, can’t recall her name, they were soundly criticised for simply being honest about their decision not to screen. It highlighted to me that choice was never part of women’s cancer screening, how dare they choose not to have an elective screening test!
    Go Jade Lane, thanks for making clear we really do have a choice, we can, and more of us do, say NO

      • I doubt very much that any woman is going to be ‘educated’ by articles like that, sorry. On the one hand, it tries to allay the paranoia in young women over breast cancer, yet the very last section reinforces the age-old message that mammograms are hugely beneficial and women should be having them regularly from age 40. An educated woman, fully informed on the problems with breast screening, would be asking herself IF she should be having mammograms, not WHEN she should start.

      • Since the article is from 2010, I could cut the author some slack since the opposition to mammograms wasn’t very public yet. But as a medical reporter she should have known better, isn’t she paid to read medical journals and such?

        But for a woman’s magazine it’s a good article to keep your target audience hoodwinked on the fear of breast cancer, and doesn’t accomplish anything than to remain on the surface of things and never truly analyzing the real issues. The article state that family history is the biggest influence for cancer risk, but when you actually look at cancer statistic, heredity only counts for 5-15% of all cancer cases, and the author never mentions that, it’s a huge contradiction!

        I don’t trust anything that comes out the Komen foundation, since they got so many financial interests in the pharmaceuticals that manufacture cancer drugs and the mammograms manufacturers. What motivate them is to get as much women as possible on these drugs, and the best way to do it is promote the mammogram since it’s 1st step into cancerland.

        Most of those interviewed are radiologists, who have the biggest motivation to have mammograms used as much as possible and be extended to younger women. The article would have been more interesting if she had interviewed pathologists or people working beyond the screening mammogram step as they’re the one seeing the true damage done by these screening campaigns and would have presented a more neutral opinion on the subject.

        Regarding that young women’s fear of breast cancer, it would have been interesting for the author to question how a new generation of women who are into new technologies and spend vast amount of time using them and spend significant money to get the latest IPhones, Samsung galaxy and whatnot (and make a show of it), but yet happily submit and rely on a stone age era device to screen for cancer, who is inaccurate, impractical and dangerous. Same questioning would go for pap smears!

        So no your breasts aren’t a ticking bomb, as long you submit to the screening and the aggressive one, i.e. as early as 40 or even earlier than that.

        And no, learning your family’s history of cancer will not lower your risk of cancer.

  14. Hi, Adawells, I don’t live in the UK…. However, I do understand all too, well the harassment and abuses these Doctor’s and Nurses dish out on a regular basis… As I have had it all happen to me too. And have also had very real physical and emotional damage done on to me by these examining Doctor’s as well. With it all starting prior to my having my first ever PMS experience. My hope (however in vain that maybe) is that having it be the HPV test instead of PAP test may help to clear up some more of the confusion that’s still out there only more, so for those patients who still DON’T know what it’s all for and about… Just as I DIDN’T know for a lot of years, either. What I was told from day 1 was “Have it or else very bad things will happen to you!” And that was all knew of it for a very long time. I wasn’t being allowed to talk about it or be upset by it, it was called being a girl and I had to just deal with it. If the testing had been titled something along the lines of what it actually is for and about, Maybe just maybe my then Stepmother would have known better than to put me through that horrible ordeal in the first place. Anyway, where I live (however stupid this may come across) the information was indeed being made extremely limited until around mid 2011 with still more progressive improvements being made this year, to let still more honest information get through. Prior to this time frame there was really nothing to go on but biased magazine articles and medical websites with sayings such as “pelvic exams and PAP tests are uncomfortable sure but necessary and quick, absolutely!” The news articles also backed this up 100%. What finally started to wake me up from these lies though NOT completely was that last test and exam I had was so, violent it was exactly like that first exam all over again, where I was painfully ill from it for an entire week and suffering once again from bad burn marks on that region of the body. This was caused by the large heat lamp that the Doctor had used to see by. And this Doctor too, DIDN’T care that I was in pain and she too, absolutely refused to stop! -I DON’T wish that pain emotional or physical on anyone NOT even my worst enemy. Right now in my home country the Doctor’s AREN’T going allow the HPV test to be done by it’s self the biased reports brought about by big pharma, etc. is that it’s too, risky to allow it to be done by it’s self and that it must be done only as part of co testing with the PAP test. Meaning that so, long as it is with the PAP I WON’T be allowed to fight it and still seek medical care unless, I can bypass a Primary care Doctor altogether. Which is very rare to be able to do. With some improvements being made in other countries here and there I’m hoping those improvements will one day spread like wild fire and create more change to these policies everywhere in general.

    • Anna , I have to ask if you have been helped by any of this testing or exams. I avoid doctors and only use walk in clinics if need. I hate that they ask the dates of Pap smears. It’s like we have to have a date for them and when I didn’t one time I was insulted by a nurse. I am 33 by the way. It’s funny to hear woman say we have to”. I have have lived so long with out theses exams I don’t fear not having this testing but I do see these exams as intrusive because I am not brainwashed like so many women are. It all seems based on fear and the more woman have paps the more chances they will end up with false positives leading them to believe they were saved by the Pap. I’m in the US btw. That makes me madd what happened to you. I don’t know what I whould do being up in your position. I have herd a woman that was giving birth told the doctor to stop the exam or she was going to file asult charges. A man whould get charged for rape had he not stoped. These exams are intimate and you have a rite to say no.

      • Hi, Kleigh I Thank You for your kind words. I personally have NOT been helped by any of these PAP tests and exams. If anything I find it all very frightening and confusing. Because too,many times their made to sound like they can detect all sorts of issues when they really DON’T. If asked if more blood work and oral swab tests were needed that would be a nicer option, in detecting potential STI/STD and other health risks that’s my opinion. As the PAP test DOESN’T do any of that as you well know. However, I have a mentally ill Aunt who had a twisted ovary misdiagnosed as being cancer right off the bat during an exam one time. Because, the Doctor felt something by pushing on just her stomach but couldn’t rightly see what It was during internal exam so, she automatically said it had to be cancer. Thankfully my Aunt was sent for a sonogram straight away, before any chemo drugs could be issued. I believe had she been sent to the sonogram first and foremost it would have been a much better option, than having the Doctor shout out “cancer!” As though she was shouting out “Bingo!” on a Bingo card game. In my Aunt’s case though, she doesn’t know enough to be nervous or scared over a diagnosis and because she is also extremely low risk I DON’T think it’s right for her care taker to keep signing her up for these things. Especially, when this same care taker is so, very much against flu vaccines. And as far as how I handle my situation I take it one day at of time and sometimes this website helps, too. I think it’s like anything else there are good days and then there are bad days.

  15. So I have a question – during my last gyno visit, I got offered a breast ultrasound. Kind of surprised me, as I was only 3o at the time. Are there any health risks related to ultrasounds? And how reliable are they, compared to mammograms? Would it be possible to replace the mammograms with ultrasounds? Or is it another shill made by the doctors?

    • Ultrasounds are safer than mammograms as they do not expose you to harmful radiation. In addition to radiation harm, mammograms are ineffective in women younger than 40. Ultrasounds are also more informative, as they are happening in real time and the sonographer can have a better look at the puzzling areas there and then. Often if a mammogram shows something ‘abnormal’, the woman is sent for an ultrasound to investigate the area further.

      However if you had no symptoms or complaints regarding your breasts, the offed examination would be totally unnecessary. This phenomenon is called ‘bikini medicine’, when the entire medical system or a specific doctor are obsessed with only two parts of female body: breasts and genitals, while ignoring more important concerns or disregarding the real reason of the woman’s visit to the doctor’s office.

  16. Just received an email with an article in a local newspaper from a Brisbane friend:

    “Women turning 50 who don’t participate in BreastScreen Queensland’s screening program will soon receive a pre-booked breast-screen appointment letter.
    The appointment letter is an initiative to increase participation in the breast-screening service and will arrive by mail around the time of a woman’s 50th birthday.
    The introduction of pre-booked appointments follows a successful trial within Brisbane Southside Service, which saw four times the usual number of new clients attend for a breast screen during the trial period.
    Dr Kate Taylor, medical director at BreastScreen Queensland in the metro south region, said previous consultation* showed the community supported the idea of pre-booked appointments.
    Dr Taylor said women who receive a letter could easily reschedule the time and day of the appointment online at breastscreen.qld.gov.au or by calling BreastScreen Queensland on 132050.”

    Happy 50th birthday Australian woman. Now you have two options: to present your breast for squeezing and radiation as ordered, or to reschedule. Not a word about opting out and banning BreastScreen from ever harassing you again!

    * A note for foreign readers: “community consultation” is an codename used by Australian authorities to disguise or justify the introduction of anti-privacy, anti-freedom and anti-democratic changes to the status quo. The process of actually consulting the community is not a part of it.

    My friend was rightfully outraged: This is intolerably patronising and totally unacceptable! I have never given my permission to BreastScreen, or any other Screen, to access my personal details, let alone prebook anything without my explicit consent.

    We have just managed to get rid of Pap smears in this country, after knowingly harming millions of women for decades. Too early to celebrate: the government attention quickly turned to another part of the ‘bikini medicine’ – our breasts.

    “Four times the the usual number of new attendees”! Huh? How low was it before then?? Simple maths tells us definitely below 25%. So what part of NO doesn’t BreastScreen understand? If you get below 25% mark at school, you fail. If you get below 25% of votes in an election, you lose. Yet BreastScreen, after getting below 25% screening uptake, managed to get access to our personal data and extra funding from our tax money to hassle us with letters! I wonder whose pressure, whose lobby, whose vested interests were involved to achieve that?

    Enough of these harmful screening programs that insult women’s right and ability to choose and decide for themselves. Brebooked appointments is the last straw. Every Australian woman reading this, please contact BastScreen, that Dr Taylor, politicians, privacy advocates… anyone you can reach and voice your protest. We must stop this contempt of female independence and bodily autonomy, before it’s too late.

    • Wouldn’t it be possible to simply ignore the letter and not go to the appointment? Or would you get penalized for it somehow?

      • Just shred the “invitation”. That’s what I do with mine. I don’t bother to cancel. I didn’t ask for the appointment. It’s an “invitation”, not a summons.

      • I’ve cancelled mine in the UK in the past, and had no reminders, although it’s quite apparent that your GP is notified and your records flagged for “discussion” at your next appointment. We are sent prebooked appointments. I’m expecting a 3rd this year and am considering whether to opt out permanently or not when it comes. I’m toying with the idea of opting out of recalls, but half of me thinks it’s wise to keep an eye on what the enemy is up to.

      • Of course this “invitation” will be shredded. It’s just the fact that our hard-earned tax money is wasted on such patronising and insulting “initiatives”, and our personal data is given out by the government left, right and centre.

        Enormous funds are given to boobs&vagina hunters, while such important areas as aged care and mental health are in a dreadful state in this country and subjected to more funding cuts every year.

  17. We might be rid of Pap testing to some degree but I think women will face a lot of pressure to have hpv testing, the invasive test taken in exactly the same way as a Pap test, they have a call and recall register, and intend to offer self testing to never screened women or those long overdue…they don’t get that you can’t be overdue for a screening test!

    i’m ready and waiting for them to make contact…make my day.
    My GP will not be providing them with a list of her unscreened patients, so if i’m contacted it will be after a lot of effort cross referencing census data with the old screening registry.

    A pre-booked appointment is about coercion, backing women into a corner so they feel they have to attend or call and make another appointment, no other option, i’d suggest tossing the “invitation” in the bin. I’d like to see how you change your appt online, can you just cancel altogether? Is there a link to opt out?
    Given all we know about breast screening, in my opinion, it’s culpable to continue to focus on the target and protecting the program…it shows how brazen these programs are, and how they have zero respect for women or concern about our health or legal rights. How is that permissible in 2018?
    I’ll send the link to Robin Bell from Monash, she was brave enough to speak out about the risks of breast screening…hopefully, she’ll publicly condemn this disgraceful approach.

    • Too true Elizabeth. I suspect BreastScreen got their snout either into Medicare database, or Electoral Commission lists, or as you suggested – the Census nazis disclosed our personal data. In either case, this is gone too far! The government and medical bureaucrats think that our personal data is their property and they can do with it as they please.

      I have contacted a few privacy advocates about this disgraceful “initiative”. Hopefully BreastScreen, and this blatant disrespect for personal choice and individual privacy will get such bad publicity that their pathetic 25% attendance falls even lower.

      • Hi Alice
        Yes, there’s a few ways they can locate the “unscreened”…what a huge waste of time and money, when so many other areas like aged care and mental health are crying out for more funding. It’s supposed to be an offer, not a pursuit!
        I’ve sent something to a couple of people here who might do something, at least make it known they can just ignore these appointments.
        Some women believed Pap testing was compulsory, some might still feel that way, these pre-arranged appointments may lead some women to feel the same way, like they must attend…that’s unacceptable

    • Ada I opted out in 2015 after cancelling my first and only “invitations “.it’s not been raised since though smears have even though I opted out in the same year. I avoid the doc who keeps hassling me about it. I ask for a fantastic woman doc if I need to go for any reason

      • This is shocking. Sounds like ethnic cleansing to me. I’ve seen adverts targeting Asian/black women in the UK, but not actually aware of them being picked out in this way.
        I’ve read Lynda Bryder’s book on the National Women’s hospital, and the Maori women forced into smears were treated to very badly.

        I’d steer clear of this Nazi too. I hope this isn’t near you?
        https://www.pinnacle.co.nz/news/hillcrest-medical-centre-making-inroads-?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=postfity&utm_content=postfity84283

      • Nazi is right, ” convincing these women to have their smear”!! Where is the informed consent? I don’t live there but they have special days for “priority group women” near me. I am thinking of fronting up one day and asking some hard questions. Sounds like in this practice the GPs inform on any woman who hasn’t had a smear and the Nazi nurses move in before she is allowed to leave. Totally disgusting! The truth is many nurses are clueless about the harms of screening, just like many of the general public.

      • This bit got me that the clinics gave consent for the womens details to be given out. The owners of the details had no say in it. Precisely the way we in the uk are treated though we don’t get the bribes. I wonder how many of the women actually wanted to screen but gave in under pressure

  18. Hi Sue, As Kat mentioned, it is cervical cancer brainwashing week next week, and I wondered whatever happened to the poster that Ann did a few years ago: the one with the crying boy, stop the propaganda? Is anyone able to download/ use it?

  19. This is really important. I saw on mumsnet this crying child poster was the catalyst making a woman screening. She didn’t want to leave her DC crying children. …

    • Yet it is more likely that a mother will lose her unborn child if she has screening than if she doesn’t. How they had the nerve to produce this propaganda is just shocking.

  20. Daily fail yesterday. Britain’s most tattooed man (he’s even had his eyeballs stained). He has a beard and is straight as in heterosexual. He has all his man bits but registered as gender neutral at his docs as he feels that’s what he is with the tattoo’s. We’ll
    You guessed it he’s been “invited” for a smear test even though it really is physically impossible for him to have one…the paper wonders if he is also going to be “invited” for male related screening…

    • The NHS are so desperate to increase the screening figures, it seems like they are going to include every individual that might have a cervix.

    • Anal pap test
      https://academic.oup.com/labmed/article/41/3/168/2504923
      So if they really don’t want to fire all the cytologists then they might start pestering men to get this. The article recommends screening all homosexual and bisexual men even if I suppose they always use condoms. So why not screen all men since they might have had some type of activity where they could have possibly got an hpv infection? Of course they just stick a swab up there and no speculum type device. But would men really go for that?

    • Add to that list… anyone who had a colonscopy because they could have been infected with HPV or mamy other microbes. The equipment for these procedures is difficult to clean and sterilize properly or maybe someone made an error and used a dirty one. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/12/06/endoscope-sterilization.aspx
      Some clinics use pressurized hydrogen peroxide but no method works when it is clogged up with debris or whatever that has not been properly brushed out.

      It might happen but I know it does happen. I knew an elderly man who was bullied into a colonscopy. He had hemrhoids so that screeening test was falsely positive. He later received a letter from the hospital that he could have been exposed to HIV, HPV, hep C or whatever since they accidently did not sterilize the equipment properly.

  21. There has been so much in the news over the last few days about more and more women not going for their smears and how dangerous it is and how they are risking their lives. This has raised my anxiety to an all time high. My last smear was over ten years ago and i’m so scared by all this news coverage, what if I have cervical cancer and my kids will be left without their mother and its all my fault. I’m 51 and have read that in menopausal women smear tests can come back abnormal so i’m even more scared than ever to go for one.

    Sorry for the rant, just very anxious today.

    • Tracey, the NHS is planning on introducing HPV primary testing sometime next year. Which means they have concluded that your HPV status is the most important risk factor.
      Unfortunately they will still ‘need’ to scrape a skin sample from your cervix so women will still be expected to submit to this humiliating exam, even though self-testing kits have been around for a few years.
      If you’re really concerned about your risk, as Kat says, you can buy self-testing kits online – and it may well be that some of the women who are allegedly ‘too embarrassed’ to bare all for dear old nursie may be doing exactly that!

      You need to understand that the smear test is appallingly unreliable – more than 100,000 women undergo needless surgery every year thanks to this awful programme. Most of these women believe they’ve been ‘saved’ from the jaws of death and become rabid supporters of the programme. That’s why the Jo’s Trust charity is always in the media whining about those of us who don’t go for our test because they rely on the support of all of these ‘survivors’. If they are so concerned for women’s health, why not put the money they make into researching better testing and treatment instead of this constant stream of ‘awareness’ campaigns?.

      • I couldn’t agree more Kate. I think someone on this forum used the word “odious” to describe Jo’s cervical trust that is so apt!

    • Yes Kat is right. If you Google HPV self-test there are a lot of suppliers online, test.me, superdrugonline. You can’t buy them over the counter at Superdrug stores you can only order them from their website. From those who have done them they arrive in a couple of days and you get the result within a week. Unfortunately they cost about £50. Not available on the NHS as they don’t want women to find out about them. If HPV negative you’re not at risk. Hardly any women over 40 are HPV positive.

      https://www.test.me/

  22. Hi Tracey . that’s precisely. WHY they run these scare weeks to round up scare and guilt trip us into this testing! Don’t fall for it Yes menopausal women are ore likely to produce a false positive result due to hormonal changes linked to the menopause. As the menopausal cervix doesn’t shed cells easily its also harder to get a result and a re take might b required.
    Please remember the cancer research stats. 0.65%risk ofCC…lifelong risk of lung cancer for never smoked 53 year old me 8%. Ditto8% for breast cancer but I’ve never been chased about mammograms.
    And at 51 you’re hardly likely to have HPV however should you wish to check there’s the Superdrug kit for around £50 to be sourced online thinking of you. X

    • That’s absolutely disgusting that they are still going to scrape the cervix to test for HPV. Why?! Women are perfectly capable of swabbing themselves. I did a home test myself recently. It makes you wonder about the ulterior motives of this whole scheme.

      • Jen, all of these mass screening programmes provide jobs for thousands of people, and cervical screening is a lucrative source of extra income for GP’s. Any change to the programmes means a huge amount of upheaval and it seems to me that the screening Nazis are more concerned with the welfare of the people working within the programmes that the welfare of the patients. If the screening ‘experts’ really cared for the health and wellbeing of the patients they would be striving to create better tests and treatments instead of pouring money into scare campaigns and initiatives designed solely to get more bums on seats.
        Everyone involved in screening, the charities (looking at you, Robert Music), and the politicians responsible for these appalling screening programmes all profit from them one way or another, so naturally they want their little gravy train to keep chugging on for as long as possible. Change will only come when the patients turn their back on the system.

        With any luck, by the time the NHS gets around to HPV primary testing, word will have spread that HPV self-testing is a viable alternative to an invasive exam and even fewer women will play ball with the programme.
        The problem with HPV testing of any kind, though, is that you cannot be sure how long you’ve had the infection – it’s only persistent infection one needs to worry about. Even if they offered us all home testing on the NHS, a positive result means an appointment with the dreaded speculum and possibly surgery for an infection which could have cleared in time. Naturally the experts want women to believe that an HPV infection is a death sentence to keep us fearful and compliant. So no matter how much they fiddle with the system, it’s still going to lead to too much overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

      • Tracey, cervical cancer is believed to be caused by certain strains of HPV, a skin virus. HPV is as common as a cold and many women are infected with these ‘high risk’ strains during their twenties. In the vast majority of women, the immune system clears the virus within a few years. In a tiny minority of cases, the immune system cannot get rid of the virus and it’s these people who can develop cancer many years later. And I would say that if these people have such a poor immune system they cannot deal with common skin virus then they’re at high risk of developing all sorts of nasty diseases.
        Bottom line is, at age 51, you’re likely to have picked up HPV at some point and cleared it from your body already. As we said, if you’re worried about your risk you can use a self-testing kit. The NHS has already decided that HPV is the cause of cervical cancer – the vaccine’s been around for quite a few years, right? Yet under the current system, they’re still searching for ‘abnormal’ cells – which can be can be caused by anything – and only testing a minority of samples for HPV. Since you’re menopausal and your body is fluctuating, you run a very high risk of having unnecessary surgery if you rely on a routine ‘smear’.

    • Is it not possible to be re-infected with hpv later in life if you change partners? Women in their 50s and upwards to get cervical cancer. How do you know for certain that the virus doesn’t lie dormant in our bodies only to be activated at a later time? Is it not the same as the virus that causes cold sores?

      • No, it’s not the same. I believe this theory that the virus can lie dormant is a lie concocted by the screening Nazis to keep women who are celibate or in steady relationships coming back for more smears. If your immune system cannot eliminate the virus, then the vaccine wouldn’t work.
        True enough, there are several different strains of HPV which are thought to cause cancerous changes in a minority of people which can be caught at any stage of life, but the reality is this: If you catch one of the high-risk strains and it does not get cleared, it takes many years for cancer to develop, it doesn’t happen overnight. The reason everyone insists that we ‘need’ screening every three years is because the traditional smear test is so unreliable. It has a very high rate of false positives – labelling normal cell changes as ‘precancerous’ when they’re not – and a high rate of false negatives, where women who do have genuine cancerous cells are given the all-clear. Thus, the expert thinking is that, since the disease takes such a long time to develop, if we miss any real problems this time around, hopefully we’ll pick it up the next time. Hopefully. Yet a good proportion of women who are diagnosed with the disease have had regular screening. Of course you never hear about them, so most women believe such cases are rare.
        I realise this is not helping with your anxiety levels, but again, if you are worried about your risk you would be far better off using a self-test HPV kit than having a smear test.
        As I said, the NHS does not routinely test for HPV, and when they do eventually get around to doing so they will still require you to have an invasive exam, which I presume you may not be too keen on considering you’ve not had one for ten years.

      • I dont understand why medical professionals would lie to us. What do they have to gain by doing this? If you have hpv would your smear show up changes? I’ve had about 4 smears and they have always come back fine, should that reassure me?

        Sorry for all the questions, i’m going to look into the home hpv tests. If it’s clear does that mean I don’t need a smear?

      • Hi Tracey,
        It’s not that GP’s lie to us, but in the UK they have to work to a system of incentive payments for the work they do. If you see a GP now, they will bring your details up on their computer, and a number of pop-up windows will remind the GP of all the tests you are “due” while you are there. There are incentive payments allocated to each test, so the more tests the GP carries out the more money he gets. Cervical screening is one of the tests, but there are many others depending on your age group and sex. In cervical screening, the GP can start to earn incentive payments if over 45% of the female patients accept a smear test, but if he can persuade even more to do so, the stepped payments increase with every additional 5% he can persuade to screen, the maximum payment being awarded to GP surgeries which can hit an 80% uptake rate. The government set this up to increase competion between GP surgeries, iron out discrepancies between treatments the public gets, and ultimately privatise primary care in communities. However, there has been a lot of anger that it is getting GPs to concentrate on only the diseases they get paymrnts for and not others.
        http://www.nationalhealthexecutive.com/Health-Care-News/gp-pay-for-performance-incentive-morally-wrong–patients-association

  23. Tracey I’m not as well informed as some of the others here but here goes. What do medics have to gain? Sadly money. The GPS who get incentive payments to herd the maximum number of us into screening. The companies who produce the speculum and brush kits landslides.. The people who read the smears.. The colposcopy clinics rake it in to. I actually read a post on the PHE blog from a worried screener worrying about redundancy. Yes redundancy is awful but this is women’s health we’re talking here!
    The UK is still rolling out primary HPV testing I believe most districts test first for abnormal cells and then for HPV.. Remember abnormal cells can be caused by lots of things a new brand of tampons. Having sex. Or in menopause when hormones fluctuated. Now remember the vast majority of cell changes revert to normal very quickly and would never have been discovered if the woman hadn’t screened.. Even severe changes can revert to normal . .Also they can’t predict whatwull develop into cancer and what won’t. Hence a lot of over treated women. If a smear comes back abnormal and high riskHPV is found you might be invited for colposcopy.. Or you might be asked to test more frequently to see what’s going on. Again only a tinyfew ofHPV cases develop into cancer.
    If you test for HPVand get a negative result and you’re confidently monogamous or no longer sexually active you might choose not to test again or only if your circumstances change. If your result is negative you are at no risk of cancer. If your test is negative no you dot need a smear this is another reason I think the NHS is stalling they want women to keep getting smears.

    • Also worth bearing in mind is each year a whopping 200,000 smears come back abnormal meaning a lot of worried and anxious women. Obviously there aren’t 200,0 cases of cervical cancer a year! Just proves how unreliable the test is

  24. Ladies I found this gem on the cervical screen 1 Instagram page. Warning its totally nauseous.
    Never fear your cervical smear
    Book it now not next month or year
    Delay it longer you could brig tears
    To all loved ones you hold so dear
    Get on the phone and call your GP
    get an appointment don’t do it for me
    Do it for your future family and life..

    Any comments other than blergh?!

      • Oh Tracey… this whole programme is built on lies. Most of the things you are told by the ‘experts’ – screening authorities, healthcare providers, charities – are lies.
        See, the smear test has never been though any trials to prove that it is safe and effective. Medics believed that it detects ‘precancerous’ cells. But it doesn’t. It just detects changes in the skin which, in most cases, have nothing to do with cancer.
        We do not know how many lives the programme saves – all we can be sure of is that at least 100,000 women every year are having surgery for something that would never have troubled them.
        Cervical cancer is not, and never has been, a common disease, and the smear test is horribly unreliable. If the powers-that-be had allowed the test to go through proper trials, it would have shown how crap this test is and the programme wouldn’t exist. Dopey politicians gave the test the go-ahead because charities and women’s health groups were screaming for it. Anything to win the pink vote, eh?
        But the point is, using an unreliable test for an uncommon disease means you have to screen huge numbers of people to have any hope of helping anyone – they need at least 80% of us to have regular testing to make the programme look like it’s worthwhile. They take around 3 million samples every year – as Kat says, that means there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who’s jobs only exist because of the programme, and GP’s, pharma,and charities make money out of us too.

        When you set up a huge system which employs so many people, you can’t just shut it down once you realise it doesn’t work very well – especially when you’ve convinced so many women that we’d all be dropping like flies without regular smears. Any politician who suggests shutting down such a scheme would be committing political suicide. Look at what’s happened to the breast screening programme – evidence shows quite clearly now that it’s does more harm than good. Many experts now think the programme should be scrapped – did the government listen? No. They’ve extended the age ranges so even more women are pulled into the programme. Protecting the programme and their careers.

        But to answer your question: HPV causes changes in the skin. So yes, it’s likely that if you have an HPV infection your smear will come back abnormal. However, cell changes can be caused by all sorts of things and your smear can come back ‘abnormal’ even when you don’t have HPV. And sometimes you can get a ‘normal’ result when you do actually have abnormal cells! The smear just can’t be trusted.
        Again, if you’re worried about your risk, the HPV test is your best bet, because the NHS isn’t acting in our best interests.

        If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.

        And Kat… it’s my understanding that HPV testing is only done on women over 30, and then only on borderline/minor abnormalities. Younger women and those with moderate/severe changes are sent straight to colposcopy. We have to keep the colposcopy staff fully occupied, right, because if we shut the clinics the poor lambs would have nowhere to go. I mean, it’s not as if hospitals are crying out for more staff now, are they? *rolls eyes*
        I’m also under the impression that young women don’t have any HPV testing until after they’ve had surgery as a ‘proof of cure’. I could be wrong, but if I’m right then that’s nothing more than a scam.

    • Kat, I don’t have an Instagram account, but if I accidentally swallow anything poisonous and need to induce instant, projectile vomiting, I’ll take a look. It’ll be sure to work and be about the only time that website has ever saved a life!

      • Thanks Kate. ..as I said I’m really not so well informed. And ladies can anyone suggest natural remedies for stress related illness ? Really I don’t want blood test and conventional remedies?

    • Yuck, yuck and yuck. I have been following the revolting #smearforsmear campaign on Twitter and chipping in where I can. A few women actually took interest in the Margaret McCarthy article when I sent them the link.

      Overall I have actually seen a few women come out against screening and Jo’s Trust’s propaganda. I was pleasantly surprised, they are the minority but more than I thought.

    • Only one more day of this awful campaign and that should be it for a while…
      I came across a post by the lady who runs cervicalscreen1 recently. Turns out she has become very overweight that it is affecting her health and has had to go on a strict diet. Now isn’t that just typical – she tells everyone else how to run their life? I think her site is terrible. It’s full of wannabe porn stars. Perhaps we ought to set up a website telling her how to run her life and get healthy?

    • Hi Kat, what was happening? I hope it’s working okay now?
      I have no control over that part of WordPress. Sometimes comments end up in spam, which then can get ‘trashed’ without my knowing about it.
      Thanks for letting me know. Were comments not appearing properly? I will go check the spam bin and if I see some of yours in there I will rescue them!
      Sue 🙂

  25. Sorry to be a nuisance but I was talking to someone today who told me that her mother-in-law was diagnosed with cervical cancer in her 80’s, how would that happen?

    • Tracey, cervical cancer can happen at any age, although it’s extremely rare in the under 25’s. Just because screening stops at 65 doesn’t mean you can’t develop the disease when you’re older. It’s only fair to say that some of these women may never have had smears or stopped testing at some point – many older women stop going for smears since the test can become very painful after the menopause. It’s actually very difficult to get a good sample from post-menopausal women, too.
      Even so, as we keep saying, the test isn’t foolproof – it’s not guaranteed to prevent you from getting cancer even if you have regular testing.

      I’m not surprised that you find it hard to believe a woman in her 80’s could get the disease. The screening Nazis have been targeting very young women for years, it’s seen by most as a young woman’s disease, and now more young women are ignoring the scare campaigns, suddenly the ‘experts’ are concerned about older women, trying to scare them into going, when they know full damned well why these older ladies don’t want to go.

      Not sure if I answered your question, but if you’re wondering how you diagnose a woman in her 80’s, it’s like any other illness. The patient develops symptoms, they go to the doctor, and with any luck they have tests which reveal the problem.

      Remember, screening is for people who don’t have symptoms – if you have a problem you need to be properly checked out, not have a screening test. A screening test can only tell you that you ‘might’ have a problem, not tell you what the problem actually is. It can even make matters worse by giving the wrong results and delaying your diagnosis.

      • I was just surprised because it would mean that this woman must have had hpv and I would assume that she may not have been sexually active at her age, so maybe the virus lay dormant for a lot of years. I thought that didn’t happen.

      • http://www.bmj.com/bmj/section-pdf/898705?path=/bmj/350/8013/Analysis.full.pdf

        Hi Tracey, I found this article about older women and cervical cancer. It sounds as though this elderly lady had had the HPV virus for some time, and succumbed to it eventually in very old age. The paper explains why a lot of elderly women may not recognise the symptoms, and often only report ill health when the cancer is at an advanced stage. This should change with HPV testing. As the paper explains, anyone leaving the programme should be offered an HPV test (preferably a self test) to make sure they are not still HPV positive.Up to now HPV testing is only running in a limited number of UK pilot sites, and is not due to be rolled out nationwide in the UK until 2020. I think they should bring in HPV self tests as a 5 yearly option for all over 30 and ditch our current screening programme right now. Older women could test themselves whenever they like.

  26. Also it seems like you’re saying that this woman could have got cc because she’d never had a smear but is that not the point of this forum? I’m more confused than ever now.

    • As I said before, it can take many years for cervical cancer to develop – I remember reading a report some time ago where they said it could take anywhere between 10 and 40 years for ‘abnormal’ cells to turn into cancer, so she was probably infected decades before.
      Maybe this lady didn’t have screening. Maybe she did when she was younger but stopped doing it later in life because it became too difficult for her. Or she could have been tested her whole life, maybe even had ‘treatment’, and still got cancer anyway. We don’t know what happened. A lot of women have testing for years and still get the disease. In fact, some women probably die because of problems with the test.

      I know it’s confusing. But the bottom line is that if you are worried about your cancer risk you are better off knowing what your HPV status is than having a smear test. The HPV test is a new, accurate test. The smear test is 80 years old and totally unreliable.
      Again, if all goes well, the NHS will be doing HPV testing next year but you will still be expected to have the same exam as before when they should be using the home-testing kits.

      Do you actually know what a smear test is? I know you’ve had them before but many women get really confused about it because the information we’re given is awful.

  27. Ada, I think HPV testing should be offered to the under 30’s as well. I know we’d have lots of positive results, but under my scheme I would simply have them retest in a year or two.
    Why continue poking around for those mystical ‘abnormal’ cells when we now have the vaccinated cohort entering the system? The overtreatment rates are appallingly high for young women at the moment because they just presume that every abnormality in the under 30’s is due to HPV.
    Amazing how there’s a magic money tree for our precious screening programmes when other healthcare services are being cut to the bone, huh?
    Also amazing is the fact that they send out self-sampling kits for bowel screening yet we apparently can’t be trusted to find our own vaginas!

    • The problem I see, Kate, about 40% of women under 30 will test HPV+…only about 5% will be HPV+ by aged 30, now under our new program it sounds like these women will be sent off for a colposcopy and biopsy, that’s a lot of biopsies and $$$
      There’s too much money to be made, and on young women, a lifetime of income awaits vested interests.
      There’s no doubt in my mind we’re ignoring the very clear evidence and doing HPV testing on women from 25 to appease vested interests, in other words, this was the concession made to keep vested interests happy, when you’ve been abusing and misleading women for decades, you must stay on the same page.
      When we started talking about changing our “hugely successful” program (for whom?) we started getting some grumbling from vested interests, “lives will be lost”…”this is about cost cutting” etc. it would have been easy to start a land rush with so many “treated” and “saved” women in this country (tellingly, huge numbers were “treated” in their teens or 20s)
      So I think they backed down and threw young women under the bus once again – to keep vested interests happy and women in the dark.
      Some say the HPV+ results will be lower than 40%…we’ll see, well, we might see, they tend not to fund anything that might inform women or cast the program in a negative light, of course, they say things like, “we don’t want women losing faith in the program”…it’s all about the program – the business model.

      If young women were given all the evidence and then permitted to self-test for HPV, that might be on thing, but to test them as part of a program means many will end up referred…also, the watch, wait and re-test doesn’t work for some women, many end up terrified and worried sick so they demand immediate referral – remember women have been trained to greatly fear this rare disease, very rare before 30.

      So if a young woman wanted to test for HPV – I think she’d have to be fully informed so she doesn’t end up being another victim of the program or consumed with fear and worry for years.
      So it might work under Kate’s scheme, where women are fully informed and in control, but it would never work (for women) with the govt, medical profession and other vested interests in charge. Also, women would never be permitted to do their own thing, control of the herd is viewed as critically important, they’d rather you were unscreened than do your own thing, even if there’s something better out there (and there is) and it might save lives. (it would)
      Yes, they’d rather you get the disease so they can tut-tut – “silly woman, didn’t screen and now look at her” – and hopefully, convince her into doing an awareness campaign for Papscreen. This is the reason they’ve blocked the Delphi Screener as well, to force women into the program – block other options.

      I also read they’ve had access to the Electoral Roll so they can “invite” unscreened women to screen, I’m looking forward to that letter! It might even be a call if I ignore the letter, they have limitless resources when it comes to feeding these programs, profiting from the asymptomatic female body is too important to approach in a flippant way, this is big business at work.

  28. Adawells, I read the article. It’s just worried me more. So, it seems that older women are getting cc because they haven’t had smears and it has gone unoticed. If its true that you need to have hpv to get cc then that means that all of these women hpv and most probably have never cleared it from their bodies or the virus CAN lie dormant for years only to be activated later on.

    • Tracey, there is NO evidence that the virus can lie dormant – it’s just an idea that some screening fanatics have put around to frighten women into staying in the system.
      Women who are no longer sexually active who test negative for HPV may decide not to have any more smears – as we said, the programme needs huge numbers of women to go for tests to keep it going, and will do and say anything to make sure you keep coming back for more punishment.
      What’s happening is that a very small number of women will catch the virus later in life than most and their immune system cannot fight off the virus. Cancers in older people tend to be slow growing where cancers in the young can be fast and aggressive, because the whole body slows down as you age. So an HPV infection in older women can take decades to turn into cancer. The virus hasn’t gone into hiding – it’s just been there a long, long time.
      A smear test is just a scraping of skin cells. There are many women who find a speculum exam humiliating and painful, and it can be particularly tough for women after the menopause due to the changes in their body. These changes make it difficult to scrape enough skin cells, too, so it’s common for older women to have to go back for repeat smears. When the test can be traumatic, it’s not surprising that some women stop going at that point in their lives. Routine HPV testing using a painless, easy to use device that you can use in the comfort and privacy of your own home would easily identify the women who need to be monitored and leave the rest of us alone to get on with our lives. Our programme just doesn’t seem to want us to have better testing – too many jobs depend on the programme doing as many tests on as many women as possible.
      The experts have also been telling women for years that the smear is the perfect test. Many women think that if you have regular smears all your life you can’t get cervical cancer. That’s not true. The smear is unreliable and there are many women who have testing for years and years who still get the disease.
      As I said, all the scaremongering is aimed at very young women and that has lead many to believe that older women don’t get the disease. So older women may ignore symptoms, whereas young women will rush off to the doctor as the first sign of a problem because we’re so afraid of this disease.
      When have you ever seen a story about this disease in a newspaper or a magazine about featuring an elderly lady? Never.
      Again, the screening rates are dropping, especially among young women, and there have been a ridiculous amount of ‘awareness’ campaigns and initiatives to try to force the youngest women to go for ‘their’ smears. But they’re just not working. It might very well be that more women are saying no to the speculum and using the home testing kits.
      Only now that they’ve failed to bully and scare the youngest women into dropping their knickers for the nurse are they now looking at older women and talking about them.
      This disease has always occurred in older women, why all of a sudden, after 35 years of screening, are they ‘really concerned’ about older women when they gave zero shits before? All they care about is the programme, not the welfare of women.
      Sometimes I wonder if the system views woman as nothing more than breeding machines – young women are more important than older ones because they can pop out a future taxpayer. Once you’re no longer able to reproduce, your ‘female’ parts are worthless and disposable.

      Anyway, let me ask you a question. Tracey. You said it’s been, what, ten years since you’re been for a smear. Why is that? You can be perfectly honest here, many of us are in the same boat.

      Elizabeth, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, if I were running the country my screening programmes would be very different to the ones we currently have!

      • It’s been ten years because waiting for the results causes so much anxiety in me that I can barely function. I went 11 years between that smear and the one before, I was a complete mess until I got the results.

        My sister has’nt had one for 22 years and at her last one she had abnormal cells which were treated.

        I worry so much that i’m being irresponsible and that i’ll die from cc and my kids will hate me for not going for my smears.

      • I also worry because i’ve read that the more children you’ve had the higher the risk of cc. I have 5 kids.

      • Tracey, medics believe that trauma – bruising or tearing – that happens during childbirth can make your cervix more vulnerable to infection, so the thinking is that the more children you have, the weaker your cervix will be.
        However… if you have ‘treatment’ for ‘abnormal’ cells they are actually cutting out part of your cervix, and the flesh is burned to slow down blood loss. Now, if a normal natural process like giving birth can raise your risk of getting CC, surely cutting off and burning the flesh is even more dangerous?

        If you go for a smear now, this is what’s going to happen; If your smear is normal, this doesn’t mean everything’s ok because the test often fails to pick up abnormal cells.
        If your cells are ‘abnormal’, it’s highly unlikely that you will get cancer – those cell changes could be cause by your hormones, among other things. If the abnormal cells are very minor, they will test the sample for HPV. If the cell changes are worse, it’s straight to the clinic. No HPV testing.
        You may end up having surgery for something perfectly harmless.
        If your test shows no HPV, you’ll be told to come back for another smear in 5 years.
        If you use a home testing kit you’ll get a definite yes or no and you’ll certainly get the results back much quicker than you would on the NHS!

        If there were no screening programme, no smear tests, no constant ‘awareness’ campaigns in the media, you wouldn’t worry about this disease at all.
        There are almost 20,000 cases of lung cancer in women every year, do you worry about that? No? That’s because there’s no screening for it. You shouldn’t be living in fear of your own body – that’s definitely not good for your health!

        Something for the other ladies, now – I suddenly noticed that the figures quoted in our screening brochure and the official statistics don’t add up.
        According to the leaflet 6 in every smears is classed as abnormal, and 4 of those 6 women are ‘invited’ (ha ha!) to colposcopy.
        According to the most recent (2015) stats, there were 3.2 million routine smears.
        6% of 3.2 million is 192,000. And, according to the leaflet, 128,000 of those women would have been referred for colposcopy.
        Yet the official stats claim there were 198,000 referrals. I did wonder whether those figures were also including clinical referrals – women being sent for investigations due to having symptoms – which would explain the discrepancy, but there is also another table which states the number of new appointment for colposcopy as 246,968.
        It is my suspicious mind going into overdrive, or are they fiddling the figures?
        Any thoughts?

      • Kate, same story here in Australia: the numbers in those pro-screen propaganda brochures never add up. The medical system just lost its way and got confused in its own lies. For example, the latest breast screening brochure I saw had a huge discrepancy in both risk numbers and the number of women it claims to save.

        The point is simple: if someone is telling the truth and using real facts, everything looks clear and always adds adds up. But when someone is perpetually lying, there are always twists, discrepancies, appeals to fear, confusion, and a different story every day. That’s how every screening programs sound. Typical.

  29. Smear tests hit the. Commons this week with Teresa May saying she knows they’re uncomfortable because she has them as others do but of course we should always go . Also its been brought up about testing under 25s after the death of amber cliff. Also PHE Have released a new bog for CC prevention week . To combat the drop in attendance they plan…wait for it drum roll….another awareness campaign!! I’m sure even the space aliens on Mars have awareness of it now . Actually it really wound me up because “its great we have smear for smear to help women remember about their smear test! Patronising or what? I left a couple comments but doubt theyl pass the censor lol
    Ada you’re right about that cervical screen 1. She’s added lots of posts this week. All news and weather presenters bleating on about how amazing smears are woo hoo.. Tracey I found a stat for you on the new PHE blog that might put your mind at rest. Remember there’s around 30 million women in the UK? in 2015 there were 2,517 cases of CC reported and 660 deaths from it reported in England. Hope this helps

    • Kat and Sue, I’ve had a few posts like that which fail to come up. Resending them gives me the message “you’ve already sent that once do you want to send it again?” but the post is nowhere to be seen on the site. Maybe WiFi hiccup at our end?

      • Hi Ada,
        That might explain why some comments end up posting twice, thanks for letting me know. I checked spam but didn’t find any from you or Kat. WordPress has some glitches here and there. Maybe when it happens next time you could send it again and if it ends up posting twice I can just delete the double?
        Sue 🙂

  30. has anyone here heard of “yonacare”? it’s a company that’s “reimagining” the medically redundant and dangerous pap smear/pelvic exam procedure. it’s done by a “kickass group of women” who don’t use the word “women” regarding the patients, rather they use the term “people with vaginas” or just “vagina”. not at all misogynistic, outdated, or useless. it’s infuriating seeing yet more women waste their time on trying to fix the intentionally broken and humiliating male-created system instead of gathering and creating more legitimate research.

    • Just Googled it and very worrying. They say it is to make “your trip to the gynecologist more enjoyable” and have based the new speculum on a sex toy which is available from a sex toy outlet called “Good Vibrations”.

      They clearly want to maintain the annual exams in the face of the new 3 yearly pap which is coming into the US anytime now, I think?

      They sound like the same kind of people who clambered for mass cervical screening to be introduced in the first place. Perhaps that’s where gynecology should belong: in the sex shop. Let them get their regular perverted pleasures from there, and the rest of us have a healthcare service which addresses our healthcare needs instead of a regular fingering for cash incentives.

      • hear hear, adawells. at least someone with a strange fetish they didn’t drag the unwilling into could never create the horrible damage that the mass rape-n-scrape does. even women who are into gynecologist roleplaying say that the actual exam is humiliating. that about says it all!
        (as a tangent, shouldn’t people who call themselves “sex-positive” be MORE interested in the privacy of women and girls than they currently are? after all, how can you be an empowerfulized fauxminist when everyone’s up in your business, so to speak.)

  31. I tried to email those Yona Care freaks to give them a piece of my mind and the message came back as delivery failure. 😦 Those demented broads inventing a new speculum for the gynorapogists to rape them with… isn’t that charming? And their idea of sending texts about your vagina is so effing sick and creepy!

    • I think ACOG must be sweating, as time goes by more women will say NO to routine/screening CBE, bimanual pelvic and recto-vaginal exams, they’ll have worked out they’re of no proven benefit but all carry risk. ACOG was worried when Pap tests were stretched out, pointing out women still “needed” a routine pelvic and breast check every year. Clearly, desperate to keep the waiting room and day procedure centre full…

      I know they’re hoping mothers will follow their recommendation and bring in their 10 year old daughters for an annual rummage-around, that way securing the next generation of income-producing, perfectly healthy, female bodies. (healthy until this mob get a hold of them!)

      Now that women can get the Pill over the counter in some States and on the internet, more women will ditch these exams, I’m sure a large number only went through it because they wanted the Pill. I’ve spoken to American and Canadian women online who’ve said, “I don’t need the Pill anymore so won’t be having any more invasive exams”…some women have clearly resented being forced to have these exams when they simply wanted the Pill – others just can’t face them anymore or find them too painful after menopause. A lot of these women will carry damage thanks to unnecessary and avoidable procedures.

      I’m sure ACOG will be scrambling to find other ways to support their business, like pap tests for uterine or ovarian cancer, I’ll bet they’re watching or even funding that research.
      I hope more women wise up to them though, the bottom line: if you want to damage your health and well being, just follow their “medical” advice.

      • I’ve been very concerned about them promoting the pap smear for uterine or ovarian cancer. There’s a few research projects going on to find alternative uses for the smear, and it’s really upsetting they are doing this. Yes, the smear test does pick up endometrial cancer cells, but usually the disease is evident by this stage anyway, as most of these cancers cause postmenopausal bleeding. I kept being asked where my smear tests were, when I was undergoing investigations for PMB. It upset me deeply. What if I had had smear tests and they showed endometrial cells? The treatment would have been exactly the same as if I’d left it until symptoms arose.

  32. We have to be so careful with imaging – ultrasounds, CAT scans etc. especially after age 50, I know a few people my age faced with difficult decisions, in particular, an asymptomatic kidney stone, picked up when the stomach and gall bladder were being examined by ultrasound. Treat or watch or forget about it?

    The GP suggests a referral to a urologist – if the stone is small, it will probably pass on it’s own, if it’s larger, it might stay in the kidney for years causing no issues, it might break down or it might enter the ureter blocking the flow of urine and resulting in renal colic.

    What to do? The options are all fairly invasive, and carry some risk to your kidneys, ureter and other issues. A friend was advised to have treatment because she likes to travel – you don’t want renal colic to develop while you’re overseas…she’s hesitant, the stone has never bothered her, she didn’t even know it was there…
    Whenever we have imaging, there’s a risk of an incidental finding, that’s why Dr Welch recommends we ask for a close-up image, not a sweeping image of the entire abdomen.
    My mother was having an ultrasound of her bowel when they picked up “something” on her kidney, she started worrying about It and eventually had the kidney out.

    We know that kidney cancer is over-diagnosed as a result of incidental findings, so is thyroid cancer, my mother has “something” on her thyroid too and a cyst on her brain but she won’t be having any more surgeries. These things are stable, haven’t changed in years, so she’s decided to leave them be…and thankfully, she doesn’t worry about them either.
    Has anyone had experience with any of the treatments for kidney stones?

    • Reminds me of what Peter Goetzsche says in his book “Mammography screening: truth lies and controversy” that after age 50 nearly all of us have a hidden cancer somewhere, but most will never progress to anything. There’s cancer and there’s cancer. Is yours a rottweiler or a poodle? We have been encouraged to regard every cancer as a death sentence, and pop along for screening. The screening authorities don’t want people to know that some cancers are harmless. They are afraid that some people will get blasé about it, like they’ve found a lump but don’t bother getting it checked because they’d rather wait and see if it’s one of the harmless ones, or, because they feel well, they assume it is one of the harmless ones and don’t bother getting it checked.

    • What concerns me about these kind of articles is the misinformation spewed out by the so-called experts. This, for instance, from a Professor:
      “Only 50-60% of women participate regularly in the screening program,” he said. “If that was 100% we would have no cervical cancer in this country even without the vaccine.”
      What a crock of shit! We know that the test produces a high rate of false negatives, so either this man and his cronies are completely ignorant or they’re bare-faced liars.

      • My thoughts entirely, Kate. Whatever happened to this test finding up to 70% of cancers? That’s always been spouted before – no screening test is entirely accurate. I wonder if he is as convinced about the PSA screening test. Ooops, sorry, I meant the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme for men.

      • typical foot-stomping drama kween male. why are these pharma-fellating walking dildos allowed to practice medicine or have any public sway?

  33. https://theconversation.com/doctors-must-stop-misleading-women-about-cervical-screening-90496

    The author of this article, Prof Dickinson, had an article published in the MJA many years ago, pointing out women here were being seriously over-screened and it was time to change the program. Nothing was done…
    He’s now writing about the Canadian program.
    Interesting, he says doctors should stop misleading women, but that’s all that’s ever happened, there’s never been any respect for our right to choose or to make an informed decision – our access to real information was locked behind paywalls and of course, very few doctors were prepared to warn women about early/excessive screening or over-treatment.

    Of course, if we’d been given all of the evidence from day one, more women would have said no to screening and been more confident to stand up for their rights – demand the Pill with no Pap test etc. but keeping us all in the dark and misinformed, IMO, was a definite strategy – the focus has always been coverage.
    I know many women here are confused – if it was risky to leave a Pap test any longer than 2 yearly from about 18, how on earth is it okay to stretch testing out to 5 yearly from age 25!

    Talk of informed consent, honesty and transparency is IMO, too little, too late..

    • I think the petition in Australia last year has quite taken everyone aback about the extent of the brainwashing. There has been a definite thawing in the attitude of the screening authorities in the UK in the run up to our “new programme” in 2019. There are still (after many years) petitions running to lower the age to 18 by misguided women. There was a huge backlash when they raised the starting age from 20 to 25 a few years ago. The cause of all this are the lies and brainwashing. If they’d only told women the truth. If they claim that a pap smear test at 25 is life-saving and essential to health, it’s hardly surprising those aged 24 and under don’t get why they can’t have it.

      • So true! In NZ our screeening age is about to be raised to 25. It will be interesting to see how the NCSP handle the howls of protest coming from outraged women. There is a 28 page document providing the evidence for the change in screeening age. Surely some women will question the fact that this information is SUDDENLY available?? Truth is it has been known for years!

      • Thank you for this, Kiwicelt. A very interesting read with loads of information on the history of the programs. How long will it be before women realise that they may not have had their lives saved at all, but been victims of a hoax, or worse still, find out that their baby may not have died if they hadn’t had that “treatment”.

  34. The medical profession behaved like criminals regarding cervical screening. This includes GP’s, nurses, admin staff, governing bodies, cancer screening authorities as well as Jo’s Trust. They are all culpable for outright attacks on women. Only recently are we hearing of ‘choice’ and some facts about the downside of screening and thats only because of one or two dissenters who’ve managed to have their voices heard. Otherwise it would have continued on its merry way unchecked.

    I will never forgive Dr V—— and Nurse G—- . In my opinion they are rapists. They pretended some governing body had made screeing compulsory. I was given no choice. I still remember how the conversations went. I hope I run into them sometime. I’m no longer some meek and mild sap!

    • In my humble opinion I think that many women are beginning to question, particularly those who have experienced the screeening programne from it’ s inception. We can have an effect by continuing to comment on media articles etc. Even if a few women do their research, they will be able to give informed consent/ decline unlike we were. I take great pleasure in noting that the number accepting screening is at a 17 year low. Some of us have daughters who are informed young women able to decline this archaic test. We need to keep talking about self HPV tests for those who choose to screen.

    • What I can’t understand is why would the gp’s, nurses, screening authorities and especially jo’s trust be lying to us? It doesn’t make sense. What are they going to gain from that?

      • This question has been asked before, and been answered before, so I’ll keep it short.
        There’s a ton of government targets in the NHS these days. GP’s can earn thousands of pounds from reaching a cervical screening target, so there’s money in it for them. Not sure if the nurses gain too much, aside from a boost to their ego, but they must know about the targets and are therefore complicit with the money grab.
        The cancer charities know full damned well that many of the tests they promote are crap. Most of the people who flock to these charities are not victims of disease, but victims of bad testing. Unreliable tests keep the supporters and the money pouring in.
        The screening authorities only exist because of the screening programmes. They need vast numbers of people to have the test just to keep the programme – and thus their careers – afloat. They manipulate statistics, withhold vital information, and ultimately deceive us into thinking these tests are far more beneficial that they really are. It is truly criminal behaviour.

      • Another issue has been that the true statistics about Ca Cervix have been withheld from even medical staff. When the screeening authorities show graphs about the decrease in mortality, they only show the graph from around 1988 when the programne was introduced. It is , therefore, impossible to see that mortality was trending down from the 1950s irrespective of screeening. Cervical cancer is the 11th most common cancer in NZ and if you are going to die of a cancer here, there are 18 more likely to kill you. Medical staff are not getting these stats unless they actively look. Documents II have seen from our National Screening Programme still use the world wide statistics to mislead. We were able to write a submission regarding the proposed changes to the screening programme a couple of years ago and myself and a women’s health group called them out on their use of statistics. They are so disingenuous that they do not include any statistics on the new website “Time to Screen”, even the title should ring alarm bells! If women knew the true stats they would likely question the need for screeening. The huge rates of overtreatment for inconsequential CIN keep women in the programne because many truly believe that Ca Cervix progresses in a linear fashion and that they were only a few steps from developing cancer. It suits the screening authorities to keep women believing this, so they don’t mention regression. It also suits the promoters of the HPV vaccine to have women believe that they had a “pre-cancer” these women are fearful and more likely to get their daughters (and sons in Australia and New Zealand) vaccinated. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and access to information previously hidden, women are doing their research and getting to the truth. Then we have brilliant women like those on this site trying to spread the truth. No one ever says don’t screen but if you are going to, know that there are harms and they are significant for many women. Unfortunately, many of us were never told about the harms, the screeening targets, the GP incentive payments, the rarity of the canceretc and therefore we are very angry. The test is degrading, embarassing and many would say, downright disgusting! To have been led to believe that it was a necessary part of women’s health care for all those years, makes many of us in our 50s want to promote the truth to protect our daughters, their friends etc.

      • A lot of money is the simple answer. About 2000 the UK govt set up financial targets for GPs to go beyond their basic pay and earn a lot more money. Practices can earn around an extra £132,000 in cash by carrying out certain health procedures on patients who may have made the appointment for entirely different reasons. Has your GP ever done any other procedures on you whenever you’ve visited? Blood pressure? That’s one of the Quality Outcomes Frameworks and the GPs will earn points for doing this. The more points a GP hits the more money they get. Cervical screening is one of the targets and is worth 11 points, and the higher the percentage of women who are tested the more money the GP gets. Jo’s wants money to run its business. They recently got about £600,000 from the govt tampon tax, and want money to run. To the best of my knowledge none of their money goes into medical research, just their running costs to run uptake campaigns, and they also pay universities to write statistical papers showing how much it saves lives. AFAIK all screening is now run by Public Health England and not NHS. PHE seems to be a section of our healthcare which could be privatised and run by a company like Virgin, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our screening services, don’t get privatised soon.

  35. Worth also noting Tracy, is that in the UK approx. 200,000 women have abnormal tests for a variety of reasons, not just cancer, this includes many harmless cervical changes. There is no way 200,00 would get this cancer, but hey ho they treat as many as possible , even though they admit that they are unable to confirm which abnormal cells will turn to cancer and which will not, the high majority will not….this is unfair to treat all these women for no gain, putting them through this “claimed simple test/treatment”, it is a traumatic situation for women with risks attached and they all think they have been saved from death, it’s BS basically. Yes a very few are saved but at a cost to so many other women’s health. It costs the health system an enormous amount of money, money better spent elsewhere especially while they claim to be strapped for cash. Another thing is that moderate/severe abnormal changes CIN11/CIN111 goes on the registers as “cancer” treated/lives saved….clearly a big fat lie as most never reach cancer! I can see that most NHS hospitals are failing to meet their referral/treatment targets for other conditions/cancers…..because there is not enough money so spending on screening “healthy people” with no symptoms/illness turning them into patients is wasting a lot of tax payers money when its needed elsewhere for “real people with real illness”, some are dying for goodness sake! Hospital acquired Sepsis is a bigger problem and again people are dying because of it. There are around 7000 suicides a year (I wonder how many relate to cancer screening & couldn’t cope mentally), and thousands more dying because they can’t get the help/treatment needed. My own father died because of colon screening, he didn’t need this but trusted them and paid the highest price……a 2cm tumour (no symptoms) that would never have troubled him in his lifetime, at the age of 76 the op put him in a coma for 8 months, 5 more ops, 4 bouts of sepsis and thereafter really poor quality of life/health followed by death! He would still be here today if he had listened to me and left his colon well alone, so gutted & so angry!
    The whole screening of the population IMO and many others here, should be scrapped!
    Okay my rant is over, I really needed that!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad, that’s awful. Are you against bowel screening?

      When my daughter was about 25 she had cin111, she had the treatment and the dr who treated her at the colposcopy told her that if she didn’t have the treatment then it would almost certainly develop into cancer. Are they really lying about this? It’s awful that they get away with this, shocking!!

      • Tracey no Doctor can tell whether CIN3 will go on to become cancer or not,. Rates of regression , particularly in young women, are high. Unfortunately your daughter is far more likely to have been overtreated than have had her life saved. A close family member of mine had treatment for “abnormal” cells when she was 21,two cone biopsies and laser ( she still had “abnormal”cells after, which disappeared / regressed in her late 20s, funny that!)This treatment caused haemorrhaging so that we had to take her , semi-conscious, to A&E where she was vaginally packed, catheterised and needed three units of blood. The damage to her Cervix has meant all her pregnancies were high risk, one was a C section. She is in her 50s now, no sign of any Cervical Cancer.

      • Tracey, CIN is just the fancy term for changes in skin cells – it’s not a disease in itself, it’s considered a risk factor for cancer. These changes happen all the time, and they usually resolve. Even the most high-grade changes like your daughter had are more likely to return to regress than to progress into cancer. CIN is incredibly common in young women, mostly due to HPV infections which usually clear on their own in time, but it can also be a sign of inflammation caused by other things.
        The problem is that the medical profession have no idea which changes are destined to become cancer and which ones are not, so they are all labelled ‘precancerous’ and removed ‘just in case’. It’s fair to say that a small minority do benefit, but many many more healthy women undergo surgery – which in some cases can lead to permanent damage – for a condition which would never have harmed them.
        If your daughter’s doctor told her that there was a chance her CIN3 *could* progress, then that would be true. If they said it would definitely progress, then yes, they were lying. This program thrives on fear.

        This is the problem with preventative medicine aimed at the masses. Most of the people popping the pills or undergoing treatment for ‘pre-disease’ will not benefit and are actually putting their health and wellbeing at risk. If we are to make a truly informed choice on whether to take those pills or undergo that test we need ALL the information in order to weigh up the pros and cons and decide what’s best for us. But we are rarely told about the risks, and the statistics we’re given about the ‘lives saved’ are twisted to make the intervention look far more beneficial than it truly is. Of course, we now have vast amounts of people who’ve been overtreated yet believe their lives have been saved who are only too happy to tell the world how ‘wonderful’ and ‘important’ these tests are.

        If this still sounds like conspiracy theory stuff to you, let me ask you this: Have you noticed that when we’re told about various illnesses or diseases they will spew out a figure for people’s lifetime risk? It’s 1 in 8 for breast cancer, 1 in 9 for prostate cancer, 1 in 10 for this, 1 in 3 for that… yet I can’t recall ever being told what the lifetime risk for cervical cancer is, can you?

      • Thank you Tracey. Yes I am against all screening of the healthy population….because all screening incurs over treatment, harm and even possible death, I’m not saying they don’t save some lives but its more of “a needle in a haystack” out of millions.
        I’m sorry your daughter had abnormal cells, but honestly at that age HPV it is quite common and like I said most do not turn to cancer. The Doctor was wrong to say “it would almost certainly develop into cancer”……they can never be 100% sure. Screening is the process of identifying healthy people who may OR may not have an increased chance of a disease or condition. We are all at risk of every condition there is, but its just a risk, a risk of maybe and risk of maybe not. Even when screened or treated it only reduces the risk as it can’t eliminate it. Too many false positives and fewer false negatives.
        People tend to overuse that word risk or take it out of context. My granddad smoked 60 ciggies a day but he never died from it and lived to 94. I smoke too but it doesn’t mean I will definitely die from a smoking related illness, at risk yes
        Like I said my dad had bowel screening and didn’t need it, he died because of it. One of my mum’s friends had bowel screening too with the colonoscopy & biopsies, but they perforated her colon, she also got sepsis and died! I personally could never accept that kind of risk……..dying from the actual screening rather than the actual condition, makes no sense to me and would rather act on symptoms only.

    • Chas, excellent rant! Sorry to hear about your Dad. I think the best information I have read about bowel cancer and screeening is in Dr Margaret McCartney’ book, The Patient Paradox.
      I know of someone who had an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It got to the size where they like to operate. He was high risk so they did it via his groin. It failed so they did a redo which caused a pseudo aneurysm outside the graft. He has basically been told he has a high chance of it rupturing and is now for palliative care, quality of life is totally screwed. Had they left him alone, the original aneurysm may never have harmed him or it might have ruptured at some point, killing him quickly. Modern medicine, don’t you just love it!
      The one question people need to ask is “What happens if I do nothing?”

  36. Tracy I won’t bee having bowel screening either! A close friend and colleague of mine had it 2 years ago . She has regular smears and with a family history of breast cancer and a few benign lumps of her own she has regular mammograms too. I refuse both. She had the screening and no polyps or problems detected. However during the process they nicked part of her bowel with the equipment leaving her in severe oaun and passing explosive diarrhea for months after. She had to wear a pad for months because she leaked poo. The hospital then insisted on doing a colonoscopy which further terrified her. A bubbly outgoing woman she refused to go on her annual old school reunion because of the smelly diarrhea. While she’s fine now she really regrets that screening!

    • Hi Kat. That sounds terrible. Poor women. This is the problem of not thinking about the downsides of screening seriously enough. Staying away from doctors really is the best way to stay healthy.

      • Looking at the article, they seem to be crossing over to endometrial biopsy territory as the Tao brush is used for this purpose. Are they seriously suggesting that they can persuade millions of women to agree to invasive routine endometrial sampling when they are having problems getting sufficient numbers for their cervical sampling targets?
        This actually beggars belief.

      • Thank you. OMG I just looked up the Tao brush, no way would I allow that to be used, not a chance! Awful. And still they keep using Jade Goody as an example, she died 9 years ago and who knows perhaps her so called treatment moved her closer/earlier to death! Loving all your comments ladies.

      • Chrissy presumably if they are going to use the Tao brush they might also have to use a tenaculum to grasp the cervix and then dilate it.
        A tenaculum is vicious and painful for many women.Good luck trying to promote this as a non invasive screeening test!

      • Kiwicelt,
        That looks like something the Marquis de Sade would be at home using. Barbaric.

      • I know! They use that for holding the cervix for procedures like IUD insertion etc and try to tell you that it is painless because the cervix is not inervated, total BS!

    • I keep seeing these ideas and it really is upsetting. Endometrial and ovarian cancers occur overwhelmingly in middle aged women, so how is checking for this in a 25 year old going to help? I’m sure young women will be delighted to find out that they might die in middle-age because they’re destined to get cancer. Hasn’t anybody thought through how they’re going to treat these results? Of course not, it’s anything to keep the smear and hysterectomy business going. Endometrial cancer has obvious symptoms from the start and 90% are cured early. It has better outcomes without a screening test than cervical does with a screening test. It’s screening without thinking gone into overdrive.

      • …..oh and the doctor also said that the biopsy was “painless – just like a smear”. Liar liar pants on fire!!

    • Chrissy, this looks terrifying. Totally agree that going inside the womb is seriously invasive. I had a hysteroscopy myself when I got endometrial cancer and had a general anaesthetic for this. It is possible to have one for about 20 minutes. Although I found this a terrifying experience, I was amazed to see that this procedure is often done with no anaesthetic and is very painful. I’ve seen some posts from women who’ve had a very bad time with this procedure and no anaesthetic, which is normal at some hospitals. In the UK there is now a Hysteroscopy Action Group to force all hospitals to offer a GA for this procedure. Of course it costs the hospital much more to do this, with the anaesthetist and nursing care etc. As you say, if women find smear tests painful, this is going to be far, far worse.

      • Hi Ada, I couldn’t agree more.
        I visited a gynaecologist in my late 40s as my endometriosis was becoming intolerable alongside symptoms of menopause. On the first consult, she told me she would be doing an endometrial biopsy. Not asked me. Just told me. She then proceeded to instruct the nurse to get the equipment ready. Fortunately, I had researched this procedure and knew exactly what it entailed, particularly with no pain medication. I refused, which surprised her, then she promised she would stop the procedure at any time. I still refused. She asked me if I actually knew what the procedure was and I explained it to her in detail. At this point she realised I had done my research and stopped trying to persuade me. Goodness knows how many other women she had blindsided like this. At the very least, these doctors should engage in a proper discussion and discuss pain medication, sedation or a GA.
        It turned out that I didn’t need the procedure anyway. But for women who need it, proper anaesthetics should be offered, because for many of them it most certainly is not a walk in the park.

      • I was “offered” an endometrial biopsy once – just like Chrissy I was told I was going to have one. No discussion. I said no thanks and the doctor went from amiable to really angry because I dared to refuse. He blustered and shouted at me. He told me I was silly and that it was a quick and painless procedure. I told him that I had done my research and was refusing. Hd stormed off leaving me with a smirking nurse.

      • Ada I looked up this brush and it looked more like a kebab skewer! I can totally get,why,with your forced sears and your cancer, you get so upset by this. But really I cat see it happening. I’m sure they wouldn’t put out yet another screening program for women without first doing control trials…and deciding how often to “invite” us. And as already said if they can’t hit their cervical screen targets they won’t be able to hit any targets for this!! Let’s assume smear refusers are all too embarrassed or busy or scared of the pain to smear…why would they suddenly make tie for this?? The program is stuffed and they know it
        I remember reading I think in the daily fail that fatty deposits could be seen on mammograms and this indicated the woman was more at risk of heart disease so maybe a mammogram could be a useful screening tool for this too Totally ignoring the fact if a women declines breast screening because of concerns over radiation she’s hardly likely to accept it for heart disease ..especially with better tests already in pace.
        The idiocy of these supposed intelligent medics astounds me….

  37. Mint, he says it’s painless, how would he know?
    Even when women scream out in pain, it’s often dismissed as someone being overly dramatic.
    I read an account from a man, he could hear his wife screaming and pleading for them to stop from the waiting room – when he asked to immediately speak to the doctor…he was waved off, “your wife is being dramatic, it’s not THAT painful”….

    I wonder if the thinking goes, women have babies, that’s painful, older women have Pap tests, that can be very painful so an endometrial biopsy shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve always felt there’s an underlying coldness and callousness when it comes to the treatment of women by the medical system – just one example: we stand in the way of HPV self-testing, we’d prefer to put women through speculum exams, even when we know that will be very painful for some and even cause damage – tearing, bleeding, bruising, soreness, UTIs, distress, embarrassment etc.

    If women turn up for a screening endometrial biopsy/scrap, I’ll bet they don’t turn up for a second one! Talk about instruments of torture…

    You were very wise to refuse and to do your research, it’s easier to stand our ground from an informed position. It’s so true that it’s those “in the know” and the rest of the world.

    My late SIL knew that lumbar punctures were very painful, she was a nurse for a few years before going back to University to study law, she knew people often screamed out in pain, ended up weeping and traumatised – patients were told they’d feel a bit of discomfort and some pressure.
    When a 12 year old was screaming that it was hurting, he was told, “no, it’s just pressure”…

    Anyway, she insisted on sedation and stood firm, she got it, others were not so lucky, they went in clueless or were talked around…
    Interesting though, when one of the specialists needed one, he insisted on sedation and no one told him, “no need, it’s just a bit of discomfort and some pressure”…wouldn’t work, he’s in the know

    • Sadly, we all heard the infamous “you may feel some mild discomfort” only to find out later we were sent to a torture and agonising pain. Ufortunately, pain is impossible to quantify and the patient can’t prove anything, so the medical profession will continue lying and deceiving.

      The most appalling are the cases when a male doctor tells a woman that she is being overly dramatic, a wuss, or hysterical when she complains about severe pain during a gynecological procedure. How would he know how painful it is? Paternalistic liar.

    • I don’t know about other countries, but in Australia the real meaning of medical promises is as follows:
      “painless” = discomfort
      “virtually painless” = painful
      “mild discomfort” = very painful
      “some pain” = extreme agony

      I have absolutely no idea why the medical establishment chooses to lie and mislead patients. It doesn’t alleviate the physical pain, but it causes hurtful feelings of distrust, violation and betrayal.

      Do doctors really think that patients are so stupid that they won’t remember or quickly forget such abuse and insult to their intelligence? It may be possible to deceive a person once, but next time the patient will either decline the procedure or will not see a doctor again at all.

      Funny enough that doctors hate it when patients turn to the Internet for information. Because they are not getting true facts from the medical profession. Who else are they supposed to ask?

      • So true Alice. I found smears truly agonising and at my last one 19 years ago she carried on after I told her to stop because “do I really want to have to come back? ” and of course “all women have this test”. That was the very last test I had. I made very sure of that!!

  38. Any ladies with instagram pls check out the vomitable cervicalscreen page supporting Amber law to lower smear age to 18. A doctor said she saw a 15 year old with severe CIN but her parents never brought her back for treatment.

    • These people really get on my nerves. Why do we need a law to lower the screening age? It’s a medical test, which should only be used in cases of medical need. Those stupid people just don’t get it, yet I’m sure the difference between screening and other diagnostic tests have been explained to them already. Even Jo’s Tosh have grasped that bit of truth and put it on their website, but these people are so clueless. That lady running this website is simply spreading the wrong kind of message, and she shouldn’t be giving these twits a platform.

      • The medical evidence, research supporting the age extension is overwhelming. These numbnuts can rant and protest all they like but nothing is going to change. The changes to the new Australian program were met with protest and a petition but to no avail. It was delayed but introduced anyway. The media and that disgusting charity have recently reported that the number of women spreading them for a screening is at a twenty year low! They are going to see further falls.
        Surely when primary HPV testing is brought in, those HPV negative and in mutually monogamous relationships etc, will question the need for any further screeening?

    • I wonder about doctors who’d do a Pap test on a 15 year old girl, who’d think any abnormal result might require a treatment, they’re either incompetent or perverse.
      I do think some GPs and even specialists have accepted some of the hype as evidence and some are poorly informed.
      On a forum a few years back a male gynaecologist claimed adenocarcinoma was not linked to hpv, the argument then becomes…all women need Pap testing, regardless of their hpv status. I linked some articles and he accepted that he was mistaken, but how many women had simply accepted his medical advice, he’s the medical specialist after all…

    • It’s like the people who think we should be doing mammograms in our 20s, after all, young women get breast cancer too. Annual hit of radiation from your 20s…that’s likely to actually cause breast cancer!
      These people think screening is a no-brainer, it’s not that simple, it can and does harm us and can even take our life…far from a no-brainer.

    • Unfortunately, Australian medical system and Medicare are obsessed with control, surveillance and data collection. It will be long time before they offer anything truly self-testing, if ever. The last thing they want is to see women doing their own tests and making their own decisions, all without being forced to see doctors, being pressured into more screening, or entered into some screening register for further recalls, reminders and other harassment. The antiquated pap-crap is gone, but women are still far from independence.

      • So true, they even approved the sale of the Delphi Screener (for those women who knew about it) but that approval ended just before the commencement of the new program. All designed to block options and force women into the program.
        The need for control is so great that those women offered self testing, well, they’ll be required to do the test in the bathroom at the clinic or behind a curtain in the consult room, they can’t take the test home. Paternalism in medicine (and elsewhere) is alive and well…the program continues to treat women like targets to be captured, count us off, cervix by cervix.

    • Yep. Women must want this test but they are unable to put their desires into actions and act on it. We must put tons of tax payers money into finding out how women can be empowered to make decisions for themselves, and not helplessly decide to spend their time doing their own research and mis-educating themselves in matters too complex for their silly little brains. 😂🤣😂🤣

  39. I have just received my “invite to get screened for cervical cancer” in ontario Canada, it goes on to say that “cervical cancer will be found in about 1500 women in canada and atleast one woman will die every day from this disease”
    This letter has massively triggered my own traumatic event from a pelvic and anal exam during an acute appendicitis episode, after the “pelvic exam” i still had to have an ultrasound and was rushed into surgery because it had burst. I plan to reply to this coercive insulting letter, if you have some info to share for it please fire away! I absolutely want to vomit, i cant focus on what i had planned for my evening now due to this so called invitation.

      • What have GP’s done to us women? We are in the position where we have to ‘stand firm’ in the consult room so that we can leave without an unwanted examination being ‘forced’ on us. We have to scour the internet hoping to find ‘opt out’ forms for something we never ‘opted in’ to. Its makes women feel like petty criminals, Like school children having to hand over a letter from ‘mum’ to excuse us out of something.

        This situation is global. On reddit there is a post from a young american women (2017) who is sick with worry about turning 21 and having to start her smears.

        How dare the medical profession do this to women. This young women is unable to think straight because of the fear doctors have instilled in us, that once we reach a certain age we lose our autonomy to them. And its not just her. There are dozens of posts on other sites similar to that one.

        These tests are supposed to be a ‘choice’. If a woman feels she wants one then its her decision. But if she doesn’t want one then that ‘choice’ should be respected equally.

        Here in Btitain the situation is slowly changing. Less women are having smears. They are ‘choosing’ not to have smears. This is inspite of the medical profession thinking up all ways to get us into screening. The drop in numbers screening is clear evidence of choice.

        Our American sisters still don’t have ‘choice.’ My cousin in New Zealand also has no choice.

        This is a human rights issue still affecting women all over the world.

        If a doctor tries ‘forcing’ a women through ‘coercion’ or ‘intimidation’ its time to fight back and start being rude to them. Let them know you will stand for no nonsense.

        The suffragists and suffragettes didn’t just put up with things the way they were, they ‘fought’ the system.

        Women today have to do the same.

      • Hi, why have you decided against the bowel and breast screening? I haven’t done the bowel screening or had my first mammogram but my reasoning is fear! I have severe health anxiety and a huge phobia of any medical testing. I worry that i’m taking huge risks with my health by not taking part in any of the screening tests.

      • Hello Tracey! you’re question earlier was this
        “why have you decided against the bowel and breast screening? I haven’t done the bowel screening or had my first mammogram but my reasoning is fear! I have severe health anxiety and a huge phobia of any medical testing. I worry that i’m taking huge risks with my health by not taking part in any of the screening tests.”
        this is exactly what they hope for!!! ……to scare you into doing all the screenings! by bowel screening i believe you mean colonoscopy.??……which is one of the the most dangerous of them all in terms of risk factors! do your homework for sure! here is a great site to read up on it http://roarofwolverine.com/archives/2772
        the medical stats on these screenings are highly suspect for manipulation to reflect a positive outcome of “saving lives” please please please, before you book a colonoscopy , read up on it on the Roar of the Wolverine , go deep into that rabbit hole. his level of regret is huge because he was uninformed before the procedure and his life changed in an instant because of it. Ive read on other sites where those that were afraid for their health and went ahead and had the colonoscopy and during the procedure begged them to stop because of the pain and the surgeon kept going, these people were lied to, manipulated, coerced and violated in the most disgusting of ways, this is one procedure ill be avoiding probably to my death bed.

    • It is interesting that yet another study highlights that women are “allowed” to make a decision not to screen but only if they are deemed to have read all the relevant information first. How patronising!

    • Truthfull honest information is witheld from the public so that they can continue to claim women are not making an informed choice about this. Crops up over and over again. They hold all the aces and then say women are silly not to play along.

    • They portray non screeners as too busy, embarassed, uninformed, risk takers etc. In NZ it is an equity issue to be addressed so Maori, Pacific and Asian women are heavily targeted. Heaven forbid that word gets out that intelligent, informed women are actively declining, others might do the same!

      • “Deciding not to attend screening is a legitimate choice, but it is important that women consider the risks and benefits of screening first, and base their decision on accurate information.”

        So why don’t they provide us with the accurate information women need to make an informed decision?

  40. Exactly, I’ve always felt the only women who make an informed decision are the handful with access to real information, and they certainly don’t get that from any official source. Thankfully, that number is rising…
    Of course, there’s no concern about all the woman coerced, pressured or misled into testing.
    This is why the talk about informed choice is a joke…
    Screening is a choice, it means we can say no for any reason, a micro-analysis of our reason is disrespectful and inappropriate.

      • Thanks Sue, I was a bit worried as I check nearly every day and thought the site was being shut down – I had a wee panic LOL x

      • Chas, I felt that way when the old Blogcritics site was down. The site went down, then came back up, then went down for good 😦 You were the one who found the comments in the outer blogoshpere, copied them and sent them to me. You rock Chas 🙂

        I won’t be shutting this site down, but I still worry about it too. Remnants of feeling hunted. Just in case this site does get shut down by higher ups, we could meet up on the sister site (unnecessary Pap Smears) where all the old comments are: https://unnecessarypapsmears.wordpress.com/ or on Kat’s site: https://katrehman.wordpress.com/ If others have sites please link them here. We could find each other in other ways too, commenting on idiotic articles for example lol Yazzmyne’s site is still going strong as well.

  41. Chas, I haven’t posted for a while. I was also a little concerned, but I’m sure there’ll be some idiotic piece of news about screening coming along soon.

      • Hi Chas. They will do anything!!! Free haircut and shave for a prostate exam anyone?
        £10 shopping voucher for a cholesterol test. HMV voucher for a blood test.

        It just shows there is nothing sensible or mature about cervical screening. Women should be given the facts about the pros and cons of screening and left to make their own decision whether to have it or not. Not offered stupid sweetners that make no sense.

      • Chas this is what they are doing in NZ. If
        Maori women attend screeening mammography, they get a $20 supermarket voucher. They will provide transport to get them there.The GP surgeries are releasing the names and addresses of unscreened women to Breast screen Aotearoa. I’m sure this is a privacy issue and I intend to follow up.

        This year, the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Population Screening Team identified and contacted the health centres in Napier and Hastings with high Māori and Pacific enrolment numbers.

        The health centres supported by Health Hawke’s Bay (PHO) were asked to provide a list of their registered and enrolled Māori and Pacific women aged 45–69 years to BreastScreen Coast to Coast (BSCC) for data matching.

        This identified women who were not enrolled in the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme and those who hadn’t had a mammogram for more than five years.

        Once the data was matched, the health centres gave consent for the information to be released directly to the population screening team.

        The team sent out letters inviting the women to have a mammogram by the end of July. They were also offered assistance to attend their appointment from support to services providers, and a $20 Pak ’n Save gift card to acknowledge the effort required to attend their mammogram.

  42. Hi i hope the gang is all ok

    Last Friday i got an invitation for mammography in the post. Of course i will not be going. Because i am annoyed at the pre arranged appointment i will not be letting them know i wont be going. Let them find out when i dont turn up.

    I thought they were only every three years but this is my second invite within 2 years. I don’t understand it. Am i getting confused about how often a woman is called?

    • Hi Linda,
      I had the same – I declined the first and got another about 2 years later. I’m sure it’s part of the recall strategy that if you refuse the first there’s a smaller gap before the 2nd comes. However, I’m sure it’s been about 3 years since then so I’m expecting the 3rd summons this year. Declining the invitation can only be done online in our area – you can’t phone or write and I think this is another hurdle they put in your way to stop you cancelling. A lot of women 50-70 don’t always have a computer. Let us know how you get on and how they pester you if you don’t reply. I’m thinking of opting out completely this year, but as you say, I’ll miss that opportunity to be a thorn in their side, and sometimes it’s useful to monitor their attempts.

    • I will be doing the same thing when I eventually get sent the bowel testing kit. I have no intention of “opting off” because I didn’t “opt in”. I will collect the testing kits.

      • Good for you kiwicelt. Bowel screening can be very dangerous. I know a woman (my sisters ex mother in law) who had a colonoscopy and has had her bowel punctured. She is seriously ill.

      • Perhaps you could make an attractive collage with them and get it in some prestigious art gallery like Tracy Emin’s bed?

        Seriously though, that is quite shocking what you describe. It’s like the Nazi’s rounding people up in the 1940’s.

      • Why have you decided against the bowel screening? I got my first kit last year and didn’t do it. I’ve been highly anxious since then, worrying about bowel cancer and if i’ve been really stupid by not doing it.

      • Hi Tracey, health screening programs often create anxiety like this. I felt the same way about smear tests until I became informed.

        It’s a propaganda machine that tries to force you to comply rather than using your own mind to decide if it’s right for you personally. Your body, your choice and you won’t suddenly become desperately ill by not screening.

        Remember, you may have actually taken a more positive step for your health by opting out rather than complying. Try to remember that. I know it’s not easy if you are feeling anxious.

  43. Hi Kat. I didn’t know that. I would opt out formally but i just love the fact i throw a spanner in the works not turning up. Naughty linda.

    • I just think it’s so incredibly disrespectful to make an appointment for someone who hasn’t requested one.

      Can you imagine your bank making a prearranged appointment for you to come in for financial advice? Something that’s entirely optional. That wouldn’t be acceptable so why is a screening appointment acceptable? It’s not.

      Continue to be naughty!

      • An invitation to screen is just that – an invitation. It is not a summons. As I have said before, any screening letters that turn up in our household will be shredded with the other unsolicited junk mail. I do not understand why in this modern age of technology, the NHS et al continue to waste money and trees on letters that the majority of the public don’t seem to want. If a person would like screening, let them ask for an appointment. Simple.

      • It seems there’s one rule for us and another for doctors and the government. Strategies and conduct that would be unacceptable and possibly, even illegal, are considered fine if we’re talking about women’s cancer screening.
        Consider the practice of holding a script until the woman agrees to a Pap test, I’m sure some doctors still do that, how on earth can that be permitted to go on? It’s coercion…
        I know many women who were “captured” when they asked for the Pill, HRT or even migraine meds – can you imagine a man being told, no Viagra or migraine meds until you have a prostate or bowel screening test?

        Pre-arranged appointments – nothing more than an attempt to pressure the woman to attend, many will feel they have to call or go – the call gives them an opportunity to pressure the woman. Some women will feel intimidated or feel unable to make that call so they’ll screen, a few might think it’s compulsory.
        It shouldn’t be allowed…you’d think that in 2018, more would see how grossly inappropriate it is to treat women in this way.

        I read an article in “Medical Observer” recently that annoyed me too, it was called the hardest Pap test in history, written by a GP working in the outback – mainly with Aboriginal communities.
        I can’t link the article but how much longer before this sort of article causes outrage rather than praise?

        “I spent more time than I ever had in 30 years of smear-taking trying to persuade this never-tested 40-year-old that it was a good idea.
        Procrastinating, she wanted to know all the possible consequences of any abnormality which might be uncovered. We were able to offer the incentive of a $30 food voucher from the town supermarket 80km away, but this did not sway her.
        Came the day when she agreed to a smear.
        I was at last able to perform that much-needed test
        Happily, I can report the result was negative”

        I’ve left out the issues involved in the testing procedure, finding a private place, enough light, a stable table etc.

        The attitude that an unscreened woman is to be pursued, pressured and captured is pretty much unique to women’s cancer screening, and mainly cervical screening. We may be pressured to have breast screening, like the pre-arranged appt, but I’ve never felt the pressure to have breast screening is anything like the pressure to have pap testing, and there’s no pressure to have bowel cancer screening (yawn)
        (even though bowel cancer is a LOT more likely than cervical cancer)

        No supermarket vouchers for bowel screening or anything other than cervical screening (as far as I’m aware)
        Why?
        Because it’s grossly inappropriate, the law and ethical standards requires informed consent, can you say a woman has given informed consent or even consent if the promise of a financial incentive got her over the line?
        It shows the dysfunctional thinking that still exists in women’s cancer screening and esp. cervical screening.

        I think this GP should be reprimanded, not praised…

        I wasn’t worried – I check the forum almost every day, but this is a topic that can be emotionally exhausting and it can bring up a lot of negative feelings, I know some women need a break now and then. For me, it’s been great to have an outlet, for many years it was ranting or challenging a computer screen, newspaper or medical journal..usually with my cats looking on, once they’d dash off and hide…now there’s no reaction, I suspect they’re thinking, “Oh, she must be reading about cancer screening again”…

    • Mint, I think the NHS would just love to ditch the letters and send messages, emails and texts, but fortunately the law doesn’t allow them to contact us by these methods, unless we request it. It’s an absolute blessing. In May the Data Protection Act is being tightened up further still so screening bodies just can’t pester us this way.

      • I’m glad that the law doesn’t allow emails and texts etc. I suppose what I was trying to say is that the NHS should give up sending out screening letters and concentrate their resources on people that actually want screening.

      • I’m so annoyed this week! Received my first ‘invite’ for many years last March (I was not registered with a GP for about 10 years) and immediately wrote to screening authority (copy to GP) to ask to be removed from list. Received a second letter in the August, to which I wrote again to my GP telling them to ensure I was removed from the list and that if there was now any sharing of my data with the screening authority this would be a data protection breach. Not heard anything for months so assumed this had worked…but no! Just received another letter this week. Why don’t they bloody listen and respect my wishes?! All the info on the screening blog and in the leaflet that accompanies the ‘invite’ says if you do not wish to be screened then it is your choice and simply write to your GP.

  44. Does anyone know when the prostrate screening starts coming through the letterbox? John will be sixty in August. I’m worried he’ll start being bombarded with them.

    • Hi Linda, my hubby is 60, and there is no prostate test. He did, however get the bowel screening kit within a week of his birthday. Shame that birthdays are marked in this way once you get older.

  45. There’s no prostate screening program here, you’re encouraged to chat to your GP and make an informed decision, it’s fine to pass on the PSA test, many do, including my husband. The DRE is no longer recommended, hasn’t been for some time. Men do get mixed messages here, some sporting groups urge men to “get screened”…confusing when there’s no screening program. I know some urologists recommend both the DRE and PSA test, it’s controversial, but there’s lots of real information around to help make an informed decision – it’s a VERY different approach.
    It was very hard to find real information on cervical screening, not as difficult with breast screening.

    The bowel screening test is not fully funded, so the tests are sent out at various ages, starting from 50 – I hear that only about 38% are sent back so it seems like a huge waste of money, they probably should ask people to tick a box if they actually want the test.
    “By 2020, all Australians aged between 50 and 74 years of age will be offered free screening every two years. This means about 4 million Australians will be invited to screen each year and more than 12,000 suspected or confirmed cancers will be detected each year”

    • I’m not making excuses for these programs, good God no, but I think that part of the problem in this different attitude towards women’s cervical and breast cancer screening is that both these programs were conceived and developed in the 1970-80s when attitudes to women were very different from today. I felt it was wrong in the 1980’s. I had a gut feeling it wasn’t right to force this on women, but like a lot of women at the time I didn’t have the knowledge to fight it. These 2 programs are a fixed product from this era, and many scientists have said such programs would never run today, but we are stuck with them, as the vested interests dig their heels in. I know that the National Screening Committee in the UK has been set up to prevent this problem ever happening again. They carefully investigate all new screening ideas to make sure we are not stuck with screening programs like this ever again. I think that part of the reason the HPV vaccination program was brought in so quickly was to wind down the pap smear test business before info on the damage it has caused gets out.
      By the way, I posted on the discussion forum about the Vicky Phelan case. What do others think of this?

  46. Hi Ada
    I’d certainly hope these programs would not be permitted today but I cringe when I see some in the medical world desperately trying to find a continuing use for the Pap test, and I couldn’t believe we were actually extending our breast screening program. (we now screen up to age 74)
    I knew it would be difficult to follow the evidence and start HPV testing at age 30, there was already concern about pushing the age up to 25 – most women here have had a “scare” or “treatment”…many believe they’d be dead without that early pap test.

    When you mislead women for decades, it’s not easy to suddenly change that advice, unless you can find a way to do it safely like “we have new evidence”. It might mean women walk away or heaven forbid, seek legal advice. It was also necessary to appease vested interests who’ve been making a fortune from over-screening and over-treatment.
    So women here will be subjected to an invasive HPV test and because we’ll be testing far too often and starting at 25, there’s still a lot of meat on the bone for vested interests, we’ll still worry and harm lots of women, especially young women.

    I hoped (probably naively) we’d see more being done to pull doctors and these programs into line.
    It was only a few years ago when the head of the AMA (who felt the Pill should remain on script) said something like, “I doubt many doctors would prescribe the Pill without a current Pap test on file and, of course, women need their breast checks”…
    I didn’t see a single challenge anywhere…
    I thought someone might at least point out that routine breast exams have not been recommended for many years. No, not a word. The cone of silence is still in place…
    Crazy thing is the GP’s Red Book clearly states routine breast exams are not recommended at any age. I thought the fear to challenge clearly incorrect information would have eased by now, but it seems there’s still a firm understanding that most won’t challenge anything said to promote and protect women’s cancer screening. (and to keep the Pill on script)

    I was reading a decision by the Medical Board from approx. 2010, a male doctor allegedly refused to issue a repeat script for the Pill until the young woman agreed to a Pap test, when she declined, he tried to kiss her when she was leaving the room. Now this would have been an opportunity for the Board to make a clear statement about the practice of holding scripts to force women into cancer screening but no, they simply said that it was up to the woman if she wanted to have a Pap test.
    How can it be up to the woman if a refusal means the GP will hold the script?
    It would have been safe to make a clear statement, most women wouldn’t see the statement, but many doctors would…but no, IMO, they chose to protect coercion.
    It’s this continuing reluctance to empower and inform women, discipline doctors and change a dysfunctional and abusive system that frustrates and annoys me.

    There’s still very little said about informed consent with cervical screening, we had (I think) the first article on the subject in the MJA a couple of years ago, and it was such a gentle suggestion, “now we have a new program, perhaps, we should consider informed consent”…
    So it seems the attitude is pretty much the same, our legal rights are just something they might choose to consider.

    • There is a woman who has posted on Kiwicelts link below: was diagnosed with “CIN3 cancer” soon after first sex, and although HPV negative was given a conisation giving her problems today. She still believes she has been saved, and is dismissing the idea that the cancer takes years to develop, and she probably got this treatment for nothing.

      • The doctors would know a HPV- woman would not need a conization, I think by making it the “test of cure” here, that gave them some cover, HPV- after the procedure, they’d sorted you out, life savers, when most of these women were HPV- before they had the procedure. Huge amounts of over-treatment ticked off with the test of cure. It’s horrible to think that went on for so long, completely unnecessary and damaging treatments on HPV- women.
        The woman who posted on that thread – I’ll bet she was young when she produced the CIN 3 Pap test = false positive, before age 25 and the risk of a false positive is very high, the risk of cancer VERY low…the system did the rest of the damage.

      • What infuriates me is the phrase “not getting screened is the biggest cause of cervical cancer”. It’s being used a lot in the UK when the actual research shows about 53% of women with diagnoses are regular screeners, but they don’t shout about that as it would prove the innaccuracy of the test. By saying that not screening is a cause of cancer is so wrong: it puts blame on those who get this cancer, says it is their own fault, and suggests that being female is an illness that needs correcting by the normalisation of regular medical treatments. It’s so wrong to mislead people like this and these people should know better.

      • Thank you, wonderful woman. I try to post as often as I can on these articles in the hope that someone will read it. That Dr Sykes is a researcher and knows all about overdiagnosis but not a mention.

  47. I just tried to get the Harding Centre Risk Literacy graphic about cervical screening to send to someone but I can not access it from the website.It seems to have been taken down?

  48. I keep getting “You are not authorised to access this page”. I can only access the breast screening one. I looked about Christmas time and couldn’t find anything on cervical at all. I’ve never seen it.

    • Adawells that is what I was getting. Luckily I have it printed off. It basically says if you screen 100 000 women over 20, per year you, prevent 25 cases of Ca cervix and 3 deaths BUT 4950 women are incorrectly diagnosed with Ca cervix or told they are high risk. Pretty damning, that’s probably why it has been removed. Elizabeth may be able to link it. I have emailed the Harding Centre to question it’s removal.

  49. https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2018/little-evidence-any-direct-impact-national-cancer-policies-short-term-survival

    This piece of news has created a stir. Evidence from this study has shown that none of the cancer policies in England have made any difference to survival or closed deprivation gaps between rich and poor. The full article can be read. The researchers found that a very small closing of the deprivation gap occured in cervical and endometrial cancers but nothing of significance.

  50. This is the reply to the email I sent the Harding Centre for Risk Literacy.
    You are right. We removed the fact box for cervical cancer early detection by screening with the Pap test because it was outdated and there is new medical evidence available.
    We hope to puplish an updated version at some time but as we are only a small research group, I cannot say when this will be the case.

    Meanwhile, I would like to refer you to this site which offers evidence based and transparent information on health topics:
    https://www.informedhealth.org/cervical-cancer.2109.en.html

    I hope this helps.
    With best regards,
    Ines Lein

  51. Thanks for doing this. I browsed their website a while back and noticed there was a gap in the cervical screening pages. I doubt they’ll get back to it somehow – as the vaccinated cohorts move through over the years there will be a sharp year on year change in the statistics anyway.
    Interesting to see the system from the German point of view – I can’t seem to access it now, but I noticed the bit about how women have a choice how frequently they want to get tested, not if they want to test at all.

    • I love the quote from the doctors, that the women should “carry on with their lives”.

      Wonderfully dismissive, they are clearly saying there’s nothing to see here. It’s all just propaganda.

    • Kiwi, she is amazing, and the movement is growing more and more. Also Prof Susan Bewley is another who has been particularly outspoken on the breast screening fiasco, and led the letter to The Times saying that mammography was more harm than good and women shouldn’t look the gift horse in the mouth.
      As I said before, there’s something very funny going on in the UK. All this month, the Irish cervical screening programme finds thousands were not recalled due to computer glitsch. Inquiry launched. A week later, ditto the UK breast screening programme, 6 month inquiry launched, and then only yesterday the Daily Fail finds 90 unsent “invitations” in the UK cervical programme. I think the government wants to privatise them, but can’t figure out what’s happening. Will we find that the progs are not fit for purpose and the lot shut down soon?

      • I’m not sure if it’s a domino effect, one is causing people to look into and dig up failings in the other but I agree that the timing it very weird. It’s a lot at once.

        It does feel like they are trying to set something up perhaps.

        I think we should start referring to an “invitation” as ” unsolicited junk mail”. That’s exactly what they are to women who don’t want to screen.

      • In the Irish screening programme, they are saying that some of the slides were misread by an American lab and women went on to develop Ca cervix believing there results were normal. Cervical check knew about this but never informed the women concerned. Vicky Phelan found out and refused to sign a confidentiality agreement and be paid out. She won her case in court. It is good because now they will have to tell women about the inherent inaccuracies of the LBC test. Unfortunately it will pave the way nicely for the primary HPV test introduction. Sorry that this happened but we have a much better test for you now etc etc. Hopefully some will research for themselves.
        Adawells, I agree that the timing of the Breast screening fiasco is interesting.
        Must be tricky. How can they backpedal and tell women the truths about screening when they have indoctrinated women for years.
        It will take women themselves, rejecting the testing in numbers, maybe that’s what they are going to encourage.

    • Sounds like a great article, I will see if I can get it from my work as behind a paywall.

      New news from our wonderful NHS breast screening programme!
      They’d slightly over-estimated! What a surprise! Instead of 450,000 missed being sent a summons letter, that figure has gone down to 174,000, and the number who may have had their lives shortened? That now stands at less than 75, after a previous estimate of 270. All guesswork modelling, of course. We wait to see how many have rushed to take up the extra appointment, but services have said they can fit everybody in along with the usual screeners. I’m sure they’ll be able to as the uptake goes down 1% every year.

  52. I tried from our local library today, but they only have online up to March. They have a 3 month embargo on new journals. Might just have to be patient until September.
    I’ve an idea that it’s about the harms of LETZ treatments and preterm births. Nothing we don’t know already, but a slow thaw of the screening dictatorship.

    • I haven’t seen the whole article, not sure I’d want to pay for it as the opening paragraphs pissed me off no end! But as far as I’m aware, the article contains an interview with a lady who runs a FB group dealing with complications after LLetz – not just the acknowledged problems with pre-term birth, but emotional and physical trauma, including sexual problems. So slightly different angle, but we still have the usual pompous ass denying that their ‘life-saving treatments’ could possibly be causing any long-term harm.

  53. “but it’s good to see word out there via another site”
    …but behind a pay wall to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to the precious program and it’s target!

    A 66 year old woman living in the UK wants to buy a HPV self test kit – she went through hell trying to have a pap test at age 60, she’s obviously worried and wants to test – hopefully, she’ll then feel confident to move on with her life and forget all about cervical screening.
    Can anyone recommend an online service? I found a couple, both charging about 60 pounds, can she order the Delphi Screener direct from the Netherlands or is it available on a UK site?

  54. Our screening authorities in NZ have announced that our screening age will not be raised to 25 until 2019 and we will now not be introducing Primary HPV testing until2021.

    They provide this information about the age change.
    Age range change for cervical screening
    The National Cervical Screening Programme will be changing the starting age for cervical screening from 20 to 25 years in 2019.
    This decision has been made because there is now a strong body of evidence that screening women between the ages of 20 and 24 provides little benefit to women and can cause harm. The primary reason for this is the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes more than 90 per cent of cervical cancers is common in younger age groups and often clears up on its own.

    Since the inception of the NCSP in 1990, there has been no reduction in cervical cancer incidence rates and mortality for women under 25 years. Screening in this age group provides little benefit to women, and can cause harm.

    Increasing the age that women first start screening will reduce the potential harm of overtreatment of women under 25, such as over-diagnosis, increased stress and anxiety associated with additional tests and treatments and unnecessary colposcopy.

    The age change is in line with that of many other countries including Australia, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, and Norway. The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer also recommends cervical screening begins at age 25.

    The HPV vaccination programme in schools offers the best protection to younger age groups from HPV infections and invasive cancer. Progress with the programme’s coverage rates has been accelerated with boys now being offered the vaccination since 2017.

    Until the screening age is raised to 25 years old, women aged between 20 to 24 years of old should continue screening as previously, and as directed by their GP or other cervical screening provider. Any women, including those outside the screening age range, who have concerning symptoms such as unusual vaginal bleeding should see their health care provider who will arrange appropriate tests.

  55. Our screening Nazis provide information about the harms of screening young women and then there is this…….

    “Frequently asked questions for providers
    On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the age range change for cervical screening in 2019.
    On this page:

    Should women aged 20 to 24 years old continue to have cervical screening prior to raising the age for screening?

    Until the age of screening is raised to 25 years old, women age between 20 and 24 years old should continue to have cervical screening according to the current pathway. This includes commencing screening at 20 years old if ever sexually active, with a repeat smear one year after the first and three yearly thereafter.

    What should happen for women aged 20 to 24 years old who have had abnormal smears?

    Women with abnormal smears should continue with the current investigation and management pathway.

    If there is little benefit to screening women aged 20 to 24 years old, why can’t I stop screening them now?

    The pathways for women aged 20 to 24 during this transition period are in development, and will be provided as part of the communications prior to the age change in 2019. To ensure that women continue to receive screening in a timely manner, we recommend that the current screening continue until the age of screening is raised to 25 years old.

    When the age is raised to 25, what should happen for women aged 20 to 24 years old who have already started screening?

    Further information about pathways for women depending on screening history will be provided as part of the communications prior to the age change in 2019.

    When the age is raised to 25, what should happen for women aged 20 to 24 years old who have had an abnormal smear?

    Further information about pathways for women depending on screening history will be provided as part of the communications prior to the age change in 2019.

    When the age is raised to 25, what should I tell women aged 20-24 who request a smear?

    Page last updated: 07 June 2018

    So we know that screening harms young women but continue anyway! There is no mention about informing women about the harms and allowing them to make an informed decision!!!!

    • The evidence is now on the table that screening under 25 harms, and yet they still do it. It was the same in Scotland and Wales. England changed age commencement from 20 to 25 about 2006, but Scotland and Wales continued pestering those aged 19 and a half for smear tests until June 2016. I am convinced it was purely to use these women as an early test to see if the HPV vaccine was effective or not, as a lot of the results on HPV reductions have come from Scotland.

      • I totally agree with you. I feel our young women are also being used as research fodder for the HPV vaccination. There is also the possibility that they are a complete bunch of incompetent policymakers who couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. I am going to make a formal complaint to the Health and Disability commission in NZ citing lack of informed consent.

      • That’s the reason change was help up here, one of our prominent doctors actually said we had a rare opportunity to test the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine because many other countries no longer pap tested women under 25. (so we should leave the program unchanged until the research was complete, they actually cross referenced the Pap tests of those under 25 with Gardasil records)
        It’s disgusting that statement went through to the keeper, no one questioned the ethics – no consent for cervical screening in many cases, little informed consent so no consent to use young women as guinea pigs is not really a problem – goes to show how the slippery slope works! We continued to screen (and “treat”) young women…and we seriously over-screened them, 2 yearly testing, and that went on until this year. Of course, some of the “treated” women are now worried about no pap testing (even if they’re HPV-) and waiting 5 years between testing. That’s why I always Q medical advice, is this really in MY best interests? Often the answer is NO

    • Kiwi, amongst all the pink vomit churned out by Jo’s Tosh this past “Awareness week” this has given me quite a laugh. Their whole glorious screening campaign has imploded and pitted screening nazi against nazi!
      They obviously monitor social media and tune their campaigns accordingly, as a few months ago there was a twitter frenzy about them using the words women/woman in their advertising. Men who had transformed to women complained that they were not being sent screening reminders for cervical screening even though they did not have a cervix. They claimed it was important for their gender identity and feelings of female inclusivity to be called up for a smear test as “it was all part of being a woman”. 😔 The NHS responded by putting these people onto the “NHS vagina database”. Huge howls of criticism (and jokes) followed about money being spent on smear tests for these trans people. So as not to offend LBGT sensitivites and women who don”t have a cervix, they’ve now been using the “anyone with a cervix” as their target phrase of attack, only to be confronted by feminists arguing that the word woman should not have been removed and be put back in the campaign.
      The people doing all the shouting are presumably those who are obsessive about screening, and are halfway up their own backsides anyway. What business is it of theirs what other people do? When will they realise that these awareness programs are nothing more than witch hunts, providing an excuse to go bashing some sector of society they don’t agree with. All their campaigns upset some person or other, and ever since they’ve come into being the numbers wanting the test dwindle. A sure sign that these campaigns don’t work. Would be interesting to see how it pans out.

      • Adawells thank you for that beautiful summary of what is going on. I found the article hilarious and the comments even better! I was delighted to see the number of women ( or should I say people with a cervix available to be captured for screening), turning away from the charity and saying that they will no longer be donating, it made my day!!

  56. People with a cervix….hmmm. Says it all really..So much of our so called healthcare revolves around our cervix. I’m sure my doctor regarded me as just a vagina!

  57. Yayyy ! The Jos Tosh Be cervix savvy roadside is hitting Scotland today for about six weeks. Apparently a quarter of Scotland’s people with a cervix don’t know what cervical screening is for….

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