How many women won’t go to doctors because of pap test coercion?

Many women are choosing to opt out of pap tests.  Unfortunately, some of these women are not having their choices respected by their health care providers and are experiencing coercion.

A poll published on this site asked women three questions related to pap test coercion.  Since publication hundreds of women have responded to the poll questions and the results reveal some surprising insights into women’s health care experiences.

The first poll question asked women “Have you felt pressured into having a pap test that you did not want?“.  A total of 512 women have responded.  The vast majority of women (457 out of 512 = 89.26%) responded that yes, they had felt pressured into having an unwanted pap test.

The second poll question asked “Has your doctor withheld medications or healthcare when you have said ‘no’ to a pap test?“.  A total of 442 women have responded.  More than half of the women who responded (235 out of 442 = 53.17%) have experienced the withholding of medications or healthcare when they refused a pap test.

The third and final poll question asked “Have you stopped going to doctors because you are worried about being pressured into a pap test?“.  A total of 506 women have responded.  The majority of women (431 out of 506 = 81.62%) responded that yes, they had stopped going to visit doctors because of concern about being pressured into having a pap test.

The responses reveal that many women are experiencing unwanted pressure to have a pap test, that they are having medications and/or healthcare withheld when they refuse a pap test, and that many have stopped visiting doctors altogether because of concern about being coerced into an unwanted pap test.

The poll is still open and can be accessed here: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2014/07/30/how-many-women-go-without-health-care-due-to-pap-test-coercion/  The comments underneath the poll reveal further details about women’s experiences related to pap test coercion.

More on this topic:
https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2016/04/23/pap-tests-are-not-mandatory/
https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2014/01/09/pap-test-coercion-getting-more-attention/
https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/10/17/what-some-male-doctors-do-when-women-say-no/
https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2014/05/20/pelvic-exams-done-without-consent/

269 comments

  1. Yes i experienced pressure over the years. DR. V implied i wouldn’t be given the pill if i didn’t have them. He and his practice nurse GG carried on this ruse for many years (about 18) until i found out the truth stumbling upon this site.

    Contraceptive pills and cancer screening tests have nothing to do with each other. This has been a scandal of epic proportions.

    The nurse from my cuurent practice also tries it on now and then. I don’t have to worry about the pill anymore as i went through the meno a few years ago. Still the pressure is there.

    The letters the screening authorities send out also imressed upon me the compulsory aspesct. The lead sentence used to read ‘your cervical screening is test is now due’ ‘read the leaflet before booking one’ etc. There was no hint it was up to me. My decision.

    I no longer trust doctors. Finding out the truth just did it for me. I don’t go to pieces during any consult with one these days for anything. I am ready for them. I would be very rude to the point of aggression if they started. I don’t care. In my opinion Dr V and his nurse spent many years basically raping me. From what i now know from my research ALL doctors have colluded in this scandal. ALL are culpable. These rat bags are getting away with it the world over. Particularly in America where they are little more than rapists to their female patients.

    I think women are working these things out for themselves. More are saying ‘stuff that’ i’m not doing it. Especially young women.

    Doctors now know we have worked it out and they must know there are a lot of very angry hot tempered women out there ready to take them on over this.

    Also, a while ago i read a comment on this site qouted from that creep Robert Music. It was to do with why women were not having smears. He said many women suffer from ‘vaginal dryness’ and this might be putting many older women off.

    Now, i don’t know about your boyfriends/ husbands but my hubby certainly, and i’m sure many other men out there, would sooner cut their own tongues out rather than talk about the subject of vaginal dryness. There is just something so wrong with this man.

    This creep should do the decent thing and step down. Can he not see the ludicrousy of a man running an org such as Jo’s trust.

    • Yes, they word it so that women who are less informed, less well-educated on their rights or less competent with the English language will believe this is mandatory. Pisses me off. It’s bullying, plain and simple.

      I LOVE this site. So many intelligent, confident, capable women to converse with. Although it’s an unpleasant, infuriating and morally reprehensible subject, I look forward to seeing notifications of ya’ll’s posts in my inbox.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, Linda. He ran Endometriosis UK before taking on Jo’s Trust in 2008. His comments are deeply patronising and offensive. If he’d been a woman, he wouldn’t be so full of contempt for women’s feelings and choices. High time he was got rid of. I don’t see any women heading up campaigns about prostate problems, telling men they are embarrassed about it.
    He is a businessman, whose interest is in stomping up cash. I’ve heard he increased their income by 600%. He is always jetting about the country, appearing in the media with his crass comments, Jo’s are always getting awards or giving them to other organisations at big showy parties and banquets. Always running some campaign or other, which they claim has made a “massive impact”. The medical evidence is that no impact has been made.
    The truth is that less and less women have been having smears in the time of Jo’s existence, and as less people take up the offer the death rate has gone down due to better treatments. The truth is that Jo’s Tosh has had no impact on screening uptake or the disease whatsoever. It’s income just supports it’s own running costs and keeps their party going, so they can all run around in pink panties, patting themselves on the back at banquets and saying they’ve saved lives, when they haven’t. If some poor woman actually gets this cancer, they can use her for publicity purposes to increase their income even more.

    • It’s all about the $$$. It’s another example of the men having the control. If you can control a woman’s body you can control her life.

      Endometriosis……a pap test does NOTHING to help with endo, and doesn’t even diagnose it. What a fricking waste.

  3. This Music clown probably latches himself on to women’s health issues & charities, etc. because he knows men wouldn’t put up with his shit while women are less likely to question it and will think of him as a big hero. Someone should make him lay naked in stirrups with his cash & prizes hanging out and stick a metal thing up his anus, and then tell him not to be embarrassed!

    • Years ago, when I was in my 20’s, I went to the Brook Advisory service to get the Pill. The male doctor refused to give me the script until I had a smear test. I refused because there was something about the guy that gave me the creeps. He scoffed and asked me if I was afraid to be ” touched”. No you idiot, I was having lots of sex with my then boyfriend and I wanted to avoid pregnancy. My inner alarm bells were set off by this man and I’m very glad I stood up to him. I later visited a Family Planning clinic, where I got the Pill with just a blood pressure check. I have avoided male doctors for anything other than a splinter in my thumb every since.

      When your inner voice tells you something is wrong – listen and take notice.

      • Yes, I used to get the pill from a local GUM clinic as opposed to my GP. Being fairly young, a teenager when I started taking it, it felt like a better and more anonymous way of doing things.

        I went for a ‘pill check’ and I must have been about 19. I was told in no uncertain terms by an overbearing nurse that “if I was old enough to have sex then I was old enough for a smear.” The underlying message being if I didn’t submit, no more pill. Of course being young and naive I did. Now, 25 years later the thought outrages me every time I think about it.

      • How can that statement sit with an elective screening test?
        “if I was old enough to have sex then I was old enough for a smear.”
        Just goes to show how a screening test can turn into something so warped, abusive and oppressive…and harmful. It’s not screening, it’s medical abuse. IMO, the product of medical thinking and attitudes at the time, the boy’s club, but it’s taken far too long for these attitudes to change – too many adopted them, instead of challenging them.

      • Absolutely. I decided about 12 years ago I wasn’t having anymore smears. I knew something was ‘off’ with the program and started thinking for myself. I’m so pleased I did.

        The amount of doctors and nurses who are happy to sell it as a compulsory part of getting other care is disgusting.

      • So, basically, if I choose to have sex with a man that I love, then I must also allow myself to be raped by another man?

      • It is very “rapey” when they try to say that if you would be willing to have sex then you should be willing to have that exam. Basically, they are saying that if you are willing to have sex with a man of your choice, then you should be willing to have sex with the doctor.

      • This also forces women to lie. For instance, I do not believe in lying at all, but I have to at the doctor. They always ask “have you had any sexual activity?”. If I say “yes”, then I would be forced into a pap smear. The truth is, I have kissed and groped, but never had sex or even been fingered down there. I haven’t even used tampons. Literally, NOTHING has been in there. Yet, they write off “sexual activity” as all the same and desperately in need of a pap smear. So, if a guy took my hand and put it on his private parts then automatically, that changes the state of my vagina and I need to be poked, prodded, and busted into to make sure that my hand groping someone didn’t disease my private parts?

        This is the reason that this screening and the invasive questions are so unfair.

  4. Sadly, the results of the poll are not surprising. I am one of those numerous women who went through the pressure to have an unwanted, totally useless and harmful pap smear, had medical services withheld because of my refusal, and came to avoiding doctors at all costs ever since.

    Despite opting out of every scare-and-screen campaign and telling the govt to stop misusing my personal information, I still get an occasional “invitation” to some screening bullshit scheme. All goes straight into shredder of course. Australian medicine is only interested in tests and diseases that involve groping boobs, penetrating vaginas or sticking something up the bums. Well, they won’t be doing that to me. I know my risks, live healthy and have my priorities right.

  5. Well said, Alice – I agree..
    Looks like the My Health Record needs to go back to the drawing board, the old opt out method hasn’t worked this time, I heard that 75% of GPs were going to opt out, say no more…

    • Oh that My Health Record, it is anything but “mine”… Every, absolutely every person I know opted out of this outrageous mass surveillance system that is being pushed down our throats. And yes, various sources say that the medical profession was the first one to get out of it. The rats know when the ship is sinking.

  6. How about another questionnaire?

    (1) Would you elect “birth control with no internal exams” if it were presented as an option?

    (2) Would you support a law that criminalized coercive internal exams & banned service incentive payments?

    (3) Would you support a law that mandated patient notification of potential risks & inaccuracy with any form of screening?

    Seriously, if any of you think these would be a good questionnaire to put out there, feel free to use it as is.

    • https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/cervical-screening-programme/cervical-screening-programme-coverage-statistics-management-information

      I didn’t know about the poo test being lowered to 50 now.
      Don’t know if any of you UK ladies has checked out NHS Digital lately, but they’ve just uploaded the latest cervical screening figures of uptake up to March 2018. I can’t quite grasp from this what the national average is as all the charts are broken down by area, but the figures are going down and down. My own city has 65% uptake for under 50s, and quite a few places are similar. What bumps up the figures are the 50-65s. There are only 3 tests in the UK (5 yearly) for this age group, and you can see older women going to the GP more frequently with other health complaints and getting pressured.

    • There’s this new option being advertised in the US called pullagarad. You swallow a pill that looks inside your bowls at home. I don’t know how this is going down. We also have colonoscopy clinics hear that’s basically all they do I’m sure a lot of doctors won’t allow this because of lost revenue. Just wondering if y’all have herd of it. My cousin works at a clinic and it seems the old fashion way is still popping so idk how many people hear are truly able to get their hands on this alternative.

    • They will probably continue to lower it. In the US, they have lowered the mammogram age to 35. I think they will keep lowering it to twelve so that they can grope teenaged boobs and pretend it’s medicine.

      Not that older people are not attractive, but these male doctors seem to really go crazy the younger and inexperienced someone is when they violate them.

  7. Also seen that 7 out of 10 docs think patients lie about their alcohol intake and double it what the patient says. We shouldn’t be embarassed to talk to our doc about drinking…they’re non judgemental ect. Sounds like the way they talk to us about screening. ..

    • The idea that you must have a pap smear because you could be lying about sex annoys me. Why is it so important to get to the truth about a woman’s sex life? Why do they want to know when he kissed you, when he touched your breasts, etc. in full detail? A patient, theoretically, could lie about smoking, diet, drinking, etc. and doctors do not make tests to see if those things are lies.

      I think some of these sick doctors get turned on by women being forced to discuss their entire sex histories.

      • Take a look at this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45894206
        Men took charge in the early days and this is how it was! Paternal crap too!
        Something else to remember is the cervical screening was introduced without an Randomised Controlled Trial….something that is required now for any screening to be introduced and passed through!

      • It annoys me too. Ever notice when I see a doctor for anything they always want a date of your last Pap smear? And if it was abnormal. Firstly who said I ever had a Pap smear before ? And why is it made to seem like I’m expected to have already had one in the past . I don’t like the way woman are expected to allow this with out question? Complete lack of informed convent and logic.

      • There is also this idea that doctors are going to “save” woman’s firtility from those dirty stds they think all woman have. What happened to doctors being for sick people. Also that all woman need to procreate and they want to manage are firtility with birth control. Forcing woman to be tied to those invasive exams. It’s so wrong. I am sorry but these exams are so wrong it’s not normal.

      • The way professionals talk to women regarding screening, it is clear that these old ideas about women still pervade wonen’s medicine. The words irrational, hysterical, nervous and emotional are still associated with those who refuse screening.

    • That is just NOT right. What gives them the right to assume that the patient is lying and to write something different in the records?

  8. I feel angry at woman for allowing this to go on and not fighting against it. When ever I come accros woman bragging about smear test paps I get so angry and triggered. I really believe all this whould stop if more woman put there foot down. Most woman are so trusting it’s sick.

    • You only have to have a look on social media to see how these women or terrorised into going and then giving themselves bravery congratulations after they’ve been and boasting about it. I feel like telling them that that is just the first part, they haven’t had the result yet, and they don’t know the half of what goes on in the gyne’s chair to treat these “abnormalities”. You’re right, it is truly sickening how so many will gladly step onto the conveyor belt of treatments they know nothing about.
      Most women I’ve read about are all insignificant findings from pap smears. Doctor thinks she might have seen something iffy, so that’s another appointment at the hospital outpatients. As Elizabeth says, day care is always full of women waiting to be “saved.”

      • Also, most “abnormalities” are really not such. I have heard of one doctor breaking a hymen on purpose because he viewed it as an “abnormality” that would prevent her from having sex when she wanted.

  9. Any ladies with instagram and strong stomachs check out #cervical screen hannah. The owner of the cervicalscreen1 blog. She posts a link to #save the cervix. ..I agree it needs saving…from smears and colposcopy ect…

    • I can only glimpse in very small doses. The last time I looked it seemed to be full of hookers out for business.
      I think Hannah and Jo’s set a lot of them up, and tell them to post everywhere about their smear test experience. The women seem to see it as an opportunity for fame and celebrity status, and if they’ve got abnormalities found then they are automatically posting as cancer survivors and their “brush with death story”. They often have a few men following, aroused by the details, but claiming it is because “they care”. The whole business is so sordid. The charities think they’re doing an amazing job, when in fact they are making life very difficult for anyone with a true cancer diagnosis. For these, their campaigns create shame, blame, guilt and a sense of failure.

      • Yes! The latest offering is a young lady (who does rather look like she’s touting for business) who had abnormal cells removed after pushing for a smear under 25 as she had ‘weird’ symptoms. Well for a start, that’s a diagnostic test, not screening. Anyway…

        Apparently she had CIN 2 & 3 and the nurse said she had treatment “just before it progressed to cancer.” Well that’s BS, a nurse couldn’t possibly know that however it’s a great way to join the ‘survivor’ club.

        Yuck.

  10. Omg, I just heard about this site called 3Hims which helps men–specifically men–obtain medication without the humiliation and bother of physical exams or doctor visits Or at least it sounded like that’s the case on the ad on God Awful Movies. So men can get their dick pills online without palpitations and begging in a doctor’s office, but women need to strip naked and spread ’em for BC, even though every reputable medical org says blood pressure and medical history is more than sufficient? Yet there are no feminists complaining over that, rather, they are trying to figure out how to strip other women of their bodily autonomy and right to choose/refuse healthcare for any reason?

    Want more reason to get mad? The ad is on their recent episode “Voiceless”, in which they seem to applaud pap smear and other gynecological atrocities without question!

    • Modern day feminists are their own worst enemies. Women can’t do this and can’t do that because they are women, and the patriarchy will judge them for that. They’re against self-defence and martial arts classes for women (no, I’m not joking), they think women need protective laws (because as women, we are automatically victims by virtue of our gender), they believe in enforced screening for women (because as women, we must be forced to do things that are for our own good) and stripping naked no matter your shape, stripping naked and sharing your intimate photos for all to see proves that you are a strong and “empowered” woman. It isn’t objectification anymore, it’s “empowering” apparently. Bearing in mind, these are women, actively colluding with the “patriarchy” or working against the very cause that feminism was established to do. Yet, they are all too thick to see it.

  11. Demon hype agree with every word you say. Here in the UK you can now buy Hiv self test kits off the shelf in a pharmacy but we still have to source HPV tests online and fight doctors in our appointments and put up with pestering to screen

    • I heard that HIV kits are available in vending machines in various outlets, but as Kat says, HPV kits are still being witheld from screening in UK. You can order them online, but that fact is kept a secret in all the screening literature.

  12. Omg yes!! Ive started seeing ads on hulu/YouTube for Getroman-a website where men can go to get ED drugs without “the awkward doctor visit”. Are you f*cking kidding me?!?! Typically the most awkward thing a guy has to do is just admit that his d*ck doesn’t get hard when he wants! And the docs just give it out like freakin candy! They always use the excuse “Oh but women won’t come in for a yearly physical!” Everyone knows that men are even worse about going to the doc but no that’s up to them. And its pretty much a given that ED pills are just as if not more dangerous than BC but nope men can be trusted to answer a questionnaire and assess the risks themselves. Suuuucccchhh bullsh*t! Whew ok rant over. Thanks for hearing me out 🙂

  13. Emily,
    It was readily accepted that the DRE was unacceptable to men, and an alternative test would have to be offered…the PSA test appeared…neither test is now recommended hete.
    There were no target payments for GPs to force men to test, it was never made a “requirement” for something men need i.e. coercion…no name calling, “you silly man”…
    No, that was all fine to force women into screening, absolutely unacceptable for men.
    It says a lot about medical attitudes…

  14. Elizabeth you’re right and even worse is mens attitudes. Whenever female cancer screening hits the news especially the daily fail men are up in arms they don’t count or get screening. I lost count of the times I pointed out they get AAA screening plus their prostate test isn’t accurate

  15. Have parents noticed that doctors now want to check “Down there” at every child’s visit or yearly checkup? It isn’t necessary, and the kids are often upset about it. My godchildren’s mother says the doc told her it was, in part, to get the kids accustomed to being examined so they won’t have “hangups about it” (his words) when they get older. He also recommends that girls be scheduled for a visit with a gyn doc at thirteen, even if they aren’t in puberty yet. This involves seeing the girls WITHOUT THEIR PARENTS “so they can feel comfortable asking questions!

    Parents need to learn to say no to this, and teach their daughters to do the same. Does the name “Larry Nasser” ring any bells?

    • I find this whole business very sordid. This is basically grooming by another name. If you really have a problem down there, and are in pain or giving birth, you don’t need to be prepared or “got use” to someone to look down there. It’s a very bad way of looking at things. If you need to have a doctor look it should be part of the doctor’s training to make you feel at ease, be sympathetic and respectful at all times. Women should never have to “get used” to being treated like turkeys at a meat processing plant.

    • The doctors who do this are perverts. Plain and simple. There is no need to check children in this way. There is no need to get used to examinations of this nature.

      Hopefully more women are realising they’ve been conned by American doctors. Mothers need to protect their kids both boys and girls from these predators. If a doctor suggested to me he wanted to intimately inspect my child i would spit on him. Then report him to the police.

      Its about time women started being more aggressive with doctors, not just be compliant and fall apart the minute one suggests you undress.

      • Not only all the above that has been stated but what about these guns pushing little girls to get IUDs and birth control behind the parents back. Iuds can be dangerous and they are marketing them to teens now. If I found out some sob inserted one in my child . I whould go berserk. Not to mention my children will be taught no means no even at the doctors. If the mom isn’t there to advocate for the girl they could take advantage of that.

    • Creepy!

      He is basically trying to have their hymens busted as early as possible so that they willa already feel violated and will allow anyone to penetrate them whenever since they have nothing to save anymore.

  16. On our local news woman waiting 11 weeks for smear results. The NHS has let her down she’s having sleepless nights as she’s also had breast cancer. Of course official advice is to attend when invited. Programme offered link to jos tosh

    • Kat, Jo’s Tosh announced that they’re really worried that the long delays in results might give women the impression that smear tests may not be that essential after all, and Music is afraid they’ll lose faith in the programme. Ha! That’s all they’re afraid about – their jobs and the programme. I saw another report saying that women shouldn’t worry as it takes at least 10 years for the cancer to develop. The truth is slowly coming out.
      I’m just wondering how the new series on Jade Goody is coming on? I think they’re going to make a series about her to show on TV next spring. I hope it’s a comedy.

      • Smear tests not important and this cancer taking years to develop. ..of indeed it does at all…the writing is on the wall for their beloved programme. ….!

    • Hi Anna I totally agree. In parts of the world smears and pelvic exams are compulsory. India and china in particular. Where are the doctors here crying out against for the right to choose? Why aren’t doctors all over the web demanding women’s rights to decide what happens to their body? Nothing. Complete silence. They just go along with it. This situation with doctors is global. I think if every woman in the world was forced to have smears the medical profession would just go along with it without a peep.

      Something as invasive as a smear and pelvic should always be the woman’s decision.

      Shame on the medical profession.

    • I’ve joined a few facebook groups, and I’m just staggered at what other women are putting themselves through. A lot are posting about repeat hospital visits for further investigations, often very painful, without anaesthetic (you can be sent straight home afterwards, so it’s cheaper for them). Seeing as many don’t have any symptoms at all, I wondered what drove these women to end up on this merry-go-round – it’s the smear test, of course. It’s not just colposcopies but also hysteroscopies, which is the “knitting needle job”. Women are sent for these, if nurse thinks might have seen a polyp or some such thing with the smear test. Testing of the sample would rule out HPV, so cannot mean cervical cancer, womb cancer would have had symptoms, and I don’t see there’s a link between a suspected polyp and ovarian cancer in a symptomless woman.
      The smear test keeps women on the gyne investigations merry-go-round for no reason at all. They are not happy people and live in fear of their own bodies, but if you say anything they immediately hit back that it’s better than cancer. It’s very sad that women’s lives revolve around this.

      • Exactly. I think if most women knew the truth about hpv, they’d rather live a life free of worry and being intimate with the man that they chose instead of the doctor and then die of cervical cancer at the age of 90 with their sense of bodily autonomy intact.

      • No anaesthetic? So much for the smear being “quick and painless”. They’re not telling you what will happen when you get your abnormal result!

  17. I don’t know how many of you guys are on Facebook but I was looking at the page for https://www.nurx.com/, a service that allows you to get birth control without visiting a doctor – at last!

    Some women are thrilled, no more invasive tests and unnecessary expense but so many are just brain washed into thinking they’ll die without a smear test and a pelvic exam every year. Mind blowing…

    • I saw this as well and it bugs me that the brainwashed women are trying to fool virgins into thinking that they need a pap.

      I guess misery loves company.

  18. Ladies, and Alex, could you please help me out? Since August 10th, I been walking around near deaf in my right ear with pain and a popping sensation. I’m also really dizzy most of the time. I got some ear drops from the pharmacy, hoping that would help; It’s doing nothing except maybe making my ear feel worse! I’m a 26 year old American, and with the exception of an ER trip in 2014 when a stranger’s dog bit up my arm -even when I went in then, I was very defensive-, I been avoiding doctors like the plague since I turned 21. My ear is bothering me to the point that even showering and cooking dinner is really taxing on me. I’m a virgin, and since I want my future partner to be the first person to see and touch me down there, want my future partner to be the first fingers in me, I’m afraid that if I see a doctor for my ear, they’ll start harassing me about pap rape/pelvic exams. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Allison. Try to treat your ear infection yourself with coconut oil. However, there will be times in all our lives when a trip to the docs is advisable. If he or she tries it on – stand firm. You don’t have to explain you are saving yourself – its non of their business. Just say you don’t want one.

      x

    • Hi Allison
      There are a lot of urgent care type of places springing up – maybe see if one is near you? They generally just want to treat your main complaint and get you in and out fast. But unfortunately, being a woman, there’s always the possibility of pressure or harassment in any medical setting, so like Linda said, stand firm. It’s your body and you have the final say in whether or not to have any test or procedure.

    • Hi Allison, firstly check out our NHS website for more information https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ear-infections/
      You may require antibiotics? Or it may clear up on it’s own, remember the human body is amazing and can fix problems all by itself. It may just be a wax build up? It depends if it is an inner or an outer ear infection? I have personally used ear candles, they are cones which you put in your ear with the other end alight & had no pain, see here https://www.verywellhealth.com/ear-candling-88287
      If of course you do visit the GP then as others have said “Stand Firm” and state you are here for one thing only and expect assistance with that and nothing else. The private parts of your body are precisely that….Private! You do not need to provide any excuses, it is simply your body and your rules, just say that screening is not open for discussion over and over until they shut it. This seems to have worked for me on my last GP visit 5 years ago, albeit a while but I avoid doctors like the plague unless absolutely necessary, and no-one forces me to do anything I do not wish to do, important lessons I have learnt. You are in charge always. Good luck and take care.

    • When I was a kid I had a lot of headaches and ear infections. The doctor told my mom to give me an asprin and have me lay on my side, with my bad ear over a hot water bottle. Always worked to clear the pain. Started getting the odd earache again a year or so ago, I suspect from the wacky rapid weather changes where I live, and I pulled this old chestnut out, and it worked just like before. Obviously, I had baby aspirin as a kid, and I use mostly Advil now, just for reference.

      • Fyi, he was a good doctor too. Asian guy, and humble, no arrogance, worked with my mother to make decisions on healthcare. Wanted to give me ear tubes, but my mom read up on it all and decided the benefits weren’t worth the risks of surgery, since the earaches weren’t threatening to make me dead and would likely clear up as I got older, so it wasn’t worth the risk of surgery and some of the failures the operation had produced. He also wanted to put me on steriods, but m y mom out her foot down on that too. He wasn’t happy, wasn’t in agreement, but worked with my mom readily to explore more acceptable options and never tried to make her feel stupid or like a bad mom for not unquestioningly embracing whatever he ordered her to do.

  19. Hmm. ..you could try warm olive oil dripped gently in the ear. You could also print off some information that paps and pelvic aren’t necessary in virgins…..no risk of hpv ect to take with you if you go to the doctor. Be brave and say no if the topic comes up…..a pap won’t unblock your ear! Would you feel comfortable or is it possible taking good a friend in with you for backup?

    • Kat, I’ve just spotted that GP surgeries in north London are going to offer HPV self testing, but can’t find any links to post here. Uptake is so low they are trying it out.

      • Fantastic! The smear take-up in London (particularly the affluent areas) are in mortal decline – just over half are testing apparently! I’ve posted a link to the article in the comment at the very end of this page. As well as that gem of info, take a look at what they say about “abnormalities”; “220,000 women are DIAGNOSED with abnormalities”. This insinuates that an “abnormality” (completely harmless in around 95% of cases) are dangerous!! The NHS seems to be reverting to the old Gestapo style of haranguing women knowing that this screening tool is hanging on by a thread. They need to be VERY careful of going down this road. We live in a different age now with information available at our fingertips. We are living in the MeToo# era where women are supposedly more educated and emboldened than ever with a great deal of focus on bodily integrity and rights. This test doesn’t sit with any of that at all. Time for this programme to be put out of its misery or at least revert to primary self-testing HPV kits for the over 30s.

  20. Hi All

    I don’t know if any of you are following the pap smear scandal that is causing huge outrage in Ireland.

    Apparently there was an audit of smear results done in that country recently. Slides get sent to a clinic in Texas America for checking (to save money) but for some unknown reason CervicaCheck which is the Irish screening authority decided to recheck the results using an Irish cytology clinic. Anomalies were found on some of the slides after the check, which had previously been ok’d as clear. 108 women were effected in all. They have since gone on to develop cervical cancer. Some have since died of the disease.

    The scandal was that instead of informing the women of the disaster right from the outset of the discovery, CervicalCheck told doctors not to tell those affected they had cervical cancer. To keep their patients ignorant of the fact mistakes had been made. So the women involved are seriously ill and only now being treated after a leaked memo was sneaked to the Irish Times.

    The aim of not telling the women was done to keep the programme from criticism and to keep women coming in for their smear tests. Anything to keep the programme running smoothly no matter who it hurts.

    You can follow this unfolding horror story on the internet as there are now loads of articles about it

    • Hi Linda,
      Your post highlights the fallibility of screening. There can also be errors in the opposite direction. For instance, in a case from Linz, many women were diagnosed with cervical cancer following Pap smears but were never told about it. The results were being covered up by a medical assistant who didn’t have the heart to tell the women. Ten years later the results were discovered and the women brought back in for follow-up testing. Interestingly:
      “The astonishing result of the medical report: there was no damage found in any of those concerned due to the delay of treatment. On the contrary, most precancerous lesions had disappeared at the follow-up. In only six cases had a cone biopsy, which is the precautionary removal of the suspect tissue piece to be made. But this would have happened with more women, if this had been addressed immediately. There was even a specific acute cancer that had dissolved into thin air.”

      Read more: http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/thread/139/more-pap-screening-leads-deaths#ixzz5Pg0gx2Cr

  21. Thanks Sue that is an amazing article you referred to. Lets hope the Irish women are all ok. So far there is no news on that x

    • Hi Linda and Sue,
      I have been following the story online. I noticed that there is hardly any news about this in the UK. They are clearly keen to stop a lack of confidence in the screening programme crossing the Irish Sea. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out. I feel very sorry for Vicky Phelan. Some people are blaming her for putting the Irish screening programme at risk for winning her case and getting so much money. The blind obsession with maintaining the screening whitewash is utter madness and cruelty.

  22. https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/cancerprevention/2018/08/29/cervical-screening-programme-change-in-wales-what-has-cervical-screening-wales-done-about-it/

    HPV screening now starting in Wales. It is true what Elizabeth said a while ago that it will lead to many more non-vaccinated women being referred to colposcopy – 80% increase until 2020 when vaccinated cohort becomes 25 and enters the screening programme. This is going to hit these women turning 25 in 2018-20 very hard. Thank goodness only about 65% of them are taking up the first screen. Also mention of spacing out the screens in future, but I bet they wait for the whole of the UK countries to be fully into HPV testing before they make a change. This transition period is a dangerous time to be a 25 year old.

    • It could so easily be avoided by offering (not that they ever “offer” anything) the first HPV test at age 30 – just follow the long standing evidence, why is that so difficult in most countries? Because too many are making too much $$$ from screening the wrong way and all the excess that occurs as a result. We’ve thrown our poor young women under the bus AGAIN

  23. Here’s one: I went to a female psychiatrist for a 15 minute med check. She didn’t want to know how I felt on my SSRI. She wanted to lecture me about mammograms and Pap tests. Not a word about my mental or emotional stability, and the depression for which I’m being treated. Just a 30 minute lecture on tests and of course the fact that I needed to drop my 20 extra pounds yesterday.

    No matter the doctor, you can find out you’re nothing but a reproductive system, breasts, and an unattractive collection of fat.

  24. You can request a repeat script online for all sorts of things, the clinic I use charges $25 for the service but I notice it’s unavailable for the Pill. I assume that’s because they feel they must mention hpv testing to women and that’s likely to be more successful if women are in the consult room. (And that probably comes from the RACGP and the AMA)
    I imagine too they might be worried about legal liability if women can get scripts without the talk but given the change to 5 yearly testing, why not offer online repeat requests?
    I think the need to control women is still very strong, my GP understands i’ve made informed decisions about screening, it’s never mentioned apart from general discussion, my GP asked me what I thought of the new program. I told her…still excessive, ignores long standing evidence by testing before 30 and IMO, it’s unacceptable to block easy access to hpv self testing, also, they should permit women to buy the Delphi Screener online, that was stopped a couple of months before the new program commenced.
    Of course, i’m sure other women are probably treated differently, although I know the 3 GPs I use, would be respectful and would never pressure or coerce, they probably mention that hpv tests are recommended though, time wouldn’t permit a discussion of the pros and cons. I know my GP always had concerns about testing very young women and inevitably sending lots off for colposcopy…she also felt 2 yearly was too often and causing too many false positives, but departing from the program can leave a GP exposed…especially when the AMA were still pushing the excessive program. I think that risk was perceived as real because it was clear women couldn’t really make an informed decision when all real information was suppressed in favour of hype and the screening story. The Pap test and breast screening brochures are no longer in the waiting room, the Pap test brochure disappeared many years ago. I lodged a complaint, I was delighted to hear they received quite a few complaints about the breast screening brochure, incredible though that cervical screening still largely escapes scrutiny.

  25. Off topic again but just seen Daniella Westbrook the actress who played Sam Michelle in Eastenders has been diagnosed with womb cancer at I think 46. I’m wondering if another rush of awareness campaigns will hit the press….

      • Just read in my daily rag about her, and of course, she hadn’t had a smear for years and believes she would have been diagnosed sooner if she had… so yep, brace yourself for yet more ‘smears save lives’ crap. It seems that we’re going to be buried under a ton of cervical screening ‘awareness’ very shortly.

    • OMG that’s insufferable, Kat. It was deeply upsetting and insulting to be asked about my “missed” smear tests when I went for my first gyne appointment for womb cancer, but I did feel a smug sense of achievement at the second appointment that they had been looking for them and still couldn’t find them. Ha ha ha! I only wished I’d had the nerve to say that they must be there somewhere, but when faced with such a diagnosis, wit and nerve disappear instantly. It made me very angry to be made to feel that I had “failed” and then to get a cancer diagnosis later, it was all the worse because of how they made me feel. The tabloids are going to make Westbrook the new Jade, and use her for promoting smear tests, I bet.

  26. They try to sell Pap tests as a screening test for uterine cancer but the fact is almost all women are symptomatic when they’re diagnosed and by the time a Pap test picked it up, you’d probably be having symptoms like abnormal bleeding anyway.
    Yet the qualification is rarely made…Pap testing is not a screening test for uterine cancer.
    I thought the industry might try to keep Pap testing alive by moving the emphasis to ovarian and uterine cancer…so far that hasn’t happened here. If the Pap test was helpful for early diagnosis of uterine and ovarian cancer, they’d be more noise about scrapping them in favour of hpv testing.

    • My doctor implies this. He says “I need to do the pap test because you could have something going on down there”. My doctor does say that he thinks I’m intelligent and I guess he’s thinking that if he says “cervical cancer”, I will hit him with the statistics, so he just says “something” to imply that it detects other cancers.

      I get ultrasounds every two to three years to handle the possibilities of the other cancers. I consider myself healthier than the women who get yearly paps because I’m being checked fot two more common cancers while they are being checked for one rare cancer.

  27. Typical private health care or even any health care for women….What’s in it for is? How much money to be made from each body? Same old same old…Ada I’m really sorry. The media don’t think reporting stories like Ms Westbrook who else they hurt…and she was Jade’s good friend too…blergh

  28. Ada I clicked on the survey pretended I lived in one of the areas didn’t leave contact details but under the my experience of screening I gave them a rant and a good few salient facts about smears lol. …evil Kat!😼

  29. Ladies you’re all stars.!! Hi Kathleen welcome to this brilliant site…do we all think our comments will trigger another study about removing barriers to screening and how to make the silly women engage with it??? I’d love to know their reaction to us all x

    • Let’s hope so Kat. I kind of think that the private healthcare groups like Virgin are watching the screening programmes very closely to see if public opinion is turning against them.

    • It seems to me that public health bodies like the NHS might be looking for ways to slowly offload this programme. It must be costing a fortune to “treat” all those CIN 2 and 3 “diagnoses” in the current era of austerity.
      I’m not sure about private healthcare taking over but where the NHS is primarily concerned with controlling and monitoring women’s bodies, Virgin will put profits first. Might be in the long term, they could be the lesser of two evils and at least consider primary self-HPV testing. Let’s hope so.

  30. On another note, there used to be a very good website from Medical News Today called something along the lines of “Painful process causes low uptake of smear tests”. It seems to have been taken down. There were many complaints on here of bad experiences. It’s my guess the NHS has had a hand in this.

  31. I just wanted to preface this by saying thank you to everyone who has commented on these blogs. They have given me strength when I too was being pressured by the women in my life as well as my doctor to have a smear. I recently turned 22 and a virgin (for religious reasons it will remain that way til I meet “the one.”) and I am so sick of being made out to be some problematic, wild child for being against this test. As someone who’s college degree centers around understanding rhetoric and persuasion, I KNOW when someone is trying to use coercive language to get me to do things that are not within my boundaries. Some of my female relatives have tried to use my father, grandfather, and other family member’s run ins with cancer as proof that I must let someone violate me, even though their cancer was caused by their jobs. But seriously, to all of those who have shared their stories, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! I’m serious, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t know there were other women (and men) who also felt the same way as me. Just know your words have helped some young ladies who needed support, even if it was a simple post.

    • Exactly.

      I am a complete virgin at 35. Nothing has been in there at all. I am sick of doctors trying to convince me that I’m lying or that I had sex and somehow forgot that I did so, etc. It’s ridiculous.

      • I have found that the best way to get them to accept and take no for an answer is to avoid getting into a discussion with them about it.
        As women, I feel it is inherently embedded in the nature of most of us to justify or explain our reasons for any declaration that meets with even a modicum of judgement.

        Whenever asked (it has happened twice to me), I’ll say: “I’ve made an informed discussion”.

        One doctor completely accepted it and stopped there. Another tried to push further saying, “they’re better than they were”. When I stared at him in silence, he then said, “we cannot force the issue”. I was livid (particularly as he had never asked me before. He was with a medical student which might have been why he asked me).

        If they start to press, I’d recommend saying, “I don’t want to discuss the matter further”, or “I feel that there is nothing further to discuss. Please can you respect my decision”.

        It is very hard. I avoided doctors, but for essential complaints throughout my twenties. Now I’m in my thirties, I have no reservations about saying no. If they want to take me on, I’ll give them a fight lol.

  32. I’m noticing more woman speaking out about this. A woman blogger recently wrote about “being forced into a pelvic exam as a rape victim. Finally more woman are peaking out. It’s definitely worth a read. I haven’t posted in a while because this subject just gets me so heated. Glad to see more woman on this form as well.

  33. For a little while, I had a doctor who respected my beliefs, but since finding out that I’m a virgin, he has been pressing hard.

  34. There seems to have been quite a drive of late to increase smear take-up.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45593583

    The authorities are complaining that take-up is at an all-time low of 72%. Won’t be long therefore before the “programme” falls below the threshold required to sustain its survival.

    Have a look at the graph in the article. It makes for very interesting reading.

    Take-up is actually far LOWER in the wealthiest areas of London – Chelsea, Hammersmith, Westminster and Fulham.
    The higher take-up rates are in areas such as Luton!

    Nothing is being made of this in the article (surprise surprise) despite the fact that this does not marry up with the image of the average non-attendee as poor, on benefits, ignorant, uneducated, lazy (and probably promiscuous). Well, well.

    What I find worrying is Jo’s Trust’s call for “urgent action”. Music’s calls consist of weekend and evening tests, drop-in clinics and opportunistic screening. Yeah, good luck trying that one with the highly educated and affluent women of Chelsea and Kensington.

    It’s also no coincidence that this lady has just documented her first screening appointment. Rather convenient that it has emerged just as the bullying campaign has started going into overdrive again.
    I winder how much is this madam being paid to promote screening?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-46172802

  35. I’m a long time lurker around here so please accept my thanks for such a brilliant and informative site.

    I work in the NHS and today have undergone yet another Information Governance training, specifically relating to new information surrounding the GDPR. I enquired at the end of the session, using AAA screening as an example as to whether a patient could deny consent for their information to be processed for the purposes of health screening; the answer is yes. If we do not give express consent for our data to be processed in that way, then the practice is in breach of Information Governance and can thus be reported and punished accordingly.

    • Very useful information. Thank you. The screening programmes are very much operating on very thin ice. They might have got away with this way of operating in the 1990’s, but the laws have changed very much since then, and our screening programmes are on the wrong side of what is legal.
      The trouble is most women don’t even question this so they get away with it. Did you see the furore earlier this year, when the new screening summons letters included a sentence that it is your choice whether to take up the offer of screening?
      A group tried to get this changed, and got MP Paula Sheriff to ask in Parliament that this should be removed and that women should not be allowed to know this. It’s apalling that women are prepared to go to such lengths to prevent women from knowing and exercising their own legal rights.

    • Hi Samia, regarding the health screening denied consent information – where can I find this in black and white, are you able to provide us with a link please? Would be really helpful to see this. Many thanks

      • Hi Chas,

        I didn’t get anything written, however, if pushed then we can ask to speak to the Accountability Officer (top of the IG food chain) for their organisation as we feel that our personal data is being processed contrary to GDPR regulations.

    • I wonder how a Practice Nurse would react when given that response in order to question information-processing for screening.
      Many thanks for this information. Ada is right. The programme still tries to operate in the same way as it did during the eighties and is close to the wire. I’d have no qualms reporting a GP who was applying pressure tactics and it could make them re-consider trying the same tactic with other patients.
      They changed the wording to include the word “choice” because the cat was out of the bag and they needed to cover themselves to ensure they were within the appropriate legal framework. It was a very telling move that suggested they were aware that more women were exercising informed choice, and would spread the word. Nothing to do with embarrassed or low-income women etc.

  36. I put a comment up in reply and was let though, I was amazed that a couple of posters actually thaught that these invasive tests shopuld be made compulsary. They are the daft ones for drinking the koolaid.

    • Many of the comments are very pro screening. One even states ‘just get it done.’

      These are people who would rob us of ‘informed dissent.’

      In the past, the NHS cervical screening Programme undertook draconian measures against women. Intimating to each of us we had no choice – that it was just one of those things – even threatening to withhold the pill and possibly other medications – ‘i cant be your doctor any longer’ etc etc… Those were terrible years. There must never be a repeat of this terrible injustice to women. It was criminal. Now they cant get away from the prickly subject of ‘informed consent. ‘

      When i look at the comments i just get so angry. This kind of mentality allowed the NHS to get away with raping me – as well as untold numbers of other women….

      They would still be raping me today if it wasn’t for this site and the wonderful gang who congregate here.

      When i think of you lot i just feel happy knowing we are saving one woman after another. Providing them with a voice to refuse.

      I’m so glad numbers of women getting screened are in freefall.

      Never give up – the work is so important.

      • It’s brainwashing, conditioning, imprinting, that’s the effect of propaganda and an oppressive campaign. This program HAD to achieve high uptake, and the only way to do that was to basically force women into testing.
        I didn’t think change would happen in my lifetime, so pleased it has….nothing happened for decades.
        Men are given a choice, women are still being given orders but the program and doctors have to be far more careful these days…because too many of us now know the truth, know the evidence.
        The women who say, “get it done”…”how could you be embarrassed, you’ve had a baby” etc. all of that has come from the program, from doctors/nurses etc. – sadly, many women still believe screening is a must and they have a right to judge those who choose not to screen.
        After so many years of propaganda, some may never see that screening is nothing more than an option. These women are probably silent or have much less venom when it comes to bowel screening compliance – that cancer takes far more lives…but the brainwashing and oppressive campaign didn’t happen for bowel screening.
        I usually find the most aggressive pro-screeners have either been “saved” by the program, (“think” they were saved…that’s rarely the case) or have just accepted the screening “story”. .I think some also resent women who choose not to screen, they go through it, so why shouldn’t you? Others feel morally superior or more mature because they screen, again, messages from the program.
        It shows you the power of propaganda and an oppressive campaign, that had zero respect for women and their legal rights.

      • I don’t know what it is that makes these women so vitriolic against those who don’t screen.
        I suspect the mindset may be related to attitudes concerning perceived female roles and “duties”.

        In the UK for example, you’ll see some very heated debates about pregnancy, natural childbirth and breastfeeding. In the Daily Fail, there’ll be some nasty discussions about “working mothers”.

        Most of the time, it’s older, conservative men and other women doing the chastising (no one else could care less what other people think of their lifestyle choices and are too busy to argue about it anyway).

        I might be wrong but I feel that the attitude towards non-screeners falls within the same line of thinking.

        It is almost as if these other women feel we are neglecting our duties as women. Maybe they think we “owe” it to our families and that we’re not supposed to fall from the herd, as you’re supposed to do as you’re told. Very strange.

      • I don’t think you are wrong at all. It’s all about control and making money. One of my friends didn’t want a pap when she went for her prenatal appt because she had already had one six months prior. They told her it was “mandatory.” One nurse even hinted it was child abuse and negligence if she refused that crap, and CPS “had been known to get involved” when mothers “refused medical procedures necessary for fetal health!” She got the same run-around when she asked why she needed another pap at the post-natal visit. Her cervix was NOT going to suddenly test positive for cancer after nine months!
        Same thing when she objected to the constant vag exams during labor. That is LYING, MANIPULATING, FEAR MONGERING and outright abuse to the woman!

      • Linda I think your amazing and will NEVER forget the day you found me on another site and directed me here so a big thank you! Ro u and Sue who runs this site and all u other ladies out there 4 your input support and being there. Your amazing x

  37. The “Daily Fail” page on facebook had this up and I popped a post up as one really stupid woman stated that these tests should be performed on girls as soon as they start thier periods. I just put in that anything before 25 is unreliable and throws up false positives. and I chose not to screen as I will chance less than 1% getting CC. apparently I am very naive. This young lady in fact works in a medical centre and looks like one of those fish pout models who knows everything and everyone else knows nothing. Elizabeth You are absolutly right zero respect for women and our legal rights.

    • Rose, there’s no point trying to reason with these people – this girl sounds too stupid for words, and she’s certainly no ‘lady’ with that attitude. There’s got to be something wrong with someone who thinks 13 year old should be having intimate exams purely because they’ve hit puberty. Aside from the medical damage this would cause, the emotional damage would be staggering. There are grown women who feel violated during intimate exams, I dread to think what damage we’d do if we routinely forced young girls into this.
      If she does indeed work in a medical centre, then they’ve probably put her on reception to make the place look pretty, because she sure as hell hasn’t been hired for her intellect – the girl’s a freaking moron. She’s lucky she got a polite response, I would have been savage!

      • I was traumatized by the thought. When I was ten years old and in middle school, the nurse would force everyone to get a “physical”. My mother warned me that this could include a pap test and to avoid it. Every time that they would schedule me for a “physical”, I would never show up. They became agressive and kept re-scheduling, showing up to class to look for me, and everything. I suspect that they were forcing these speculums into 11 year old girls, because the girls who went would return looking dazed and with their uniforms backward, etc. I also noticed that boys were never scheduled for these “physicals”.

    • I got my period at 11 years old. Had I been giving a Pap smear then I whould have been traumatized and put in a mental hospital. Do these people realize the mental teams they could do to a young child and some get the periods as young as nine. Why isn’t people’s mental health taken into consideration with these exams I am more that just a cervix.

  38. Rose, testing before 30 does not help, the rare cases still happen and testing produces a lot of over-treatment and excess colposcopies and biopsies. The Dutch and Finns worked that out decades ago, going back to the 1970s. Also, the very rare case before 30 is often a false negative case…these early cases are usually adenocarcinoma of the cervix, this type of cc is usually missed by pap testing.
    Yet they continue to lie to young women.

    The Govt here has just approved a home self test for hiv but women have to jump through hoops to get hpv self testing, and it can only be used in the doctor’s office.

    There’s no doubt in my mind this is to protect all the consult fees and they don’t want to lose control of the herd…same reason they’re fighting to keep the pill on script…consult fees, over-servicing, maintaining control and using the consult to push or require screening. It’s all about using women for the benefit of vested interests. Yet they have the audacity to claim they care about the abuse of women and disrespectful attitudes…what a joke!
    Actions speak louder than words…

    • You know, I’d still rather buy a self-testing kit online rather than use something provided by the state. With all the targets and incentives, It wouldn’t surprise me at all if I were wrongly diagnosed in order for the people employed in the system to meet their quota.
      These programmes have been of little benefit to the patients, why should I believe anything’s changed now? There must be lots of women who despise this procedure, but have been frightened into enduring it. What about offering them a more comfortable alternative?
      No, it’s all about rounding up the strayed sheep.

      • Same here. Moreover, I don’t want my HPV testing history anywhere near their database.

      • Aren’t they just – brilliant! I’m under the name CDNUK, some are getting through and some are not.

      • Ah, thanks Kiwi! 😉 After I saw one of your comments posted online about the false negative rate, I researched it for myself and thought I’d include it. Hope you didn’t mind!

        I was concerned that I had “pushed the boat out” a bit too hard but I’m used to taking all these women on lol. If Jo’s Tosh has a hit list out there somewhere, you can guarantee that my username would be on there! 😂

      • Apocalyptic Queen your inclusion of the NZ info made my day. It would be fabulous if some of the numbnuts organising our archaic screening programme saw those comments. We are years behind the UK! I happened to meet two Maori ladies the other week and they told me that they get chased down to have smear tests. If they agree to have one they go in the draw to win a $100 grocery voucher. I was disgusted and told them a few facts!
        I was in Palmerston North a few weeks ago and saw a car go past covered in stuff encouraging women to screen. “Save a life” and other such crap. They have a budget here to ferry women to smear tests and they are free for “priority groups”, Maori, Pacific and Asian women just don’t want smear tests!! They can no longer hit the 80% target even in the European NZ group. Shame! They have been researching self HPV testing for these ” hard to reach” women.

      • Yep – Thank you Chas, Kat and Kiwi. All great comments and far more diplomatic than I could ever be! 😃

  39. Aq I second kiwi! And I don’t wan them having details of my vagina either though after 18 years I doubt they have much. They have date of my last perid as I’m reluctantly taking clonidine for night sweat. ..

    • Same here, I don’t want that info stored on their database. You know they note down all sorts about your veejay…size/shape/moles etc. Absolutely awful!

      • That’s true. I worked as an administrator at a GP surgery and although most patient visits to a gynae clinic held just the essentials, such as a scan result, there were a few which really unnerved me. “Ms X has long, bulky labia minora…” I’m not clinically trained but the complaint was nothing to do with the patients external sexual organs.

    • This annoys me. Also, men don’t go through the questioning of “which sexual acts have you done?”. This is a loaded question because it makes a hand job equal with having sex and if they can get into your head and make you think that both have the same consequences, they can convince you. Also, if you say that I kissed but did not have sex, they still mark your file as “sexually active” and it can never be removed and all “sexually active” womem are “promiscuous” and must have a pap before their private parts fall off.

      It is so stupid because men are twice as promiscuous and never have to face this humiliation.

      • I’m sure this is because medicine was once a boys’ club, so hardly surprising their focus on women was confined to a couple of areas, while we died in droves from heart disease – surprising they didn’t think of that, the heart, it’s just behind the breasts!
        Also, the power and protection these men enjoyed meant violating our rights and bodies was one of the perks of the profession, doing unauthorised vaginal and pelvic exams on unconscious women, tying pap testing to a script for the Pill, the TUBE etc. etc.
        It was incredibly difficult to lodge a complaint against a doctor back then too, it’s still difficult, but thankfully, more women go to the Police these days. We’re seeing a few doctors charged with historic sexual assault – great they’re finally being charged and facing trial, but disgraceful it took this long. Many of these women make complaints at the time but got nowhere. I believe the Medical Board protected doctors…it has to be more careful now or they might end up playing catch up with the Police.

        I read an article in an Australian medical journal, sadly, I can’t link it, it was written by a female GP, 30 years in medicine. This doctor recalls the 1980s when they all filed in to do unauthorised vaginal/pelvic exams on unconscious women, these women were having non-emergency surgery, nothing to do with that area either, yet 6 medical students would come in and assault them.
        This doctor (then medical student) used to mutter, “time for gang rape”…exactly.

  40. Review of Cervical Cancer occurance in NZ women between 2008-2012. This was done by Professor Peter Sykes and his team Otago University. The following is page 11 of the document .Note 3% of the cervical cancers were non HPV.

    “Review of available pathology reports for the 542 women with SCC, it was determined that 26% had microinvasive disease, 56% had stage 1b disease or greater, while no determination regarding the extent of disease could be made for 18%.
    Ethnicity data was retrieved from the NCR and reported as total response ethnicity. 22% of women were identified as Māori, 9% of women identified as Pacific island, and 7% of women were identified as Asian
    High levels of social deprivation and Māori ethnicity appear to be associated with an increased occurrence of cervical cancer.
    A total of 14% of the 772 women with confirmed cervical cancer were outside the 25-69 year screening age group in whom the screening history was audited and 3% had non-HPV related cancer types.
    A review of screening history was performed on 644 women aged 25-69 years. Smears performed in the 6 months prior to diagnosis were considered to be part of the diagnostic process and therefore excluded. For all women with cervical cancer, 70% had ever been screened, 46% had been screened in the 5 year and 37% had been screened in the 3 year interval prior to their diagnosis.
    Using the definition of 2 smears 3 years apart in the 6-84 months prior to diagnosis only 13% of women age 25-69 with cervical cancer had been adequately screened and only 17 % had undergone five yearly screens.
    For women with SCC, 66% had ever been screened, 40% had been screened in the 5 years prior to diagnosis, and 32% in the 3 years prior to diagnosis. Only 11% had been adequately screened.
    Māori women and women from higher levels of deprivation were less likely to have been screened prior to their diagnosis.
    One third of the 366 women who had been screened in the 6-84 months prior to diagnosis had an abnormal screening test. Therefore an opportunity for prevention or earlier diagnosis of cancer may have been missed”.

    Even when women had an abnormal smear test result it was not necessarily acted on by the wondrous screening programme!

    • Wow. I remember reading that too – only 3% were non-HPV?!! What was the excuse for all those missed diagnoses?!

      As it has recently been acknowledged that HPV related cancer can (usually) take up to ten years to develop, even the five year interval range is shocking – 46% = nearly half! And the three year interval range is a modest improvement.
      Even for the “never screened”, more than one third of those cases would likely have been missed!
      There is a better way to test and the “experts” are dismissing it so they don’t lose control of women. Morally reprehensible in the extreme.

    • Another point I may add, one argument that gets thrown at me by “experts” and medics when I point out the flaws is that there has been changes to the screening programme since 2003. Yet they cannot refute that the stats still broadly corroborate the claims made about the false positive and false negative rates with regards to conventional testing.

  41. Thank you AQ and kiwi.. I’m amazed my comment about tactics docs used to force us into smears got published!! Omg they note shape ect of your lady bits…beyond odd!

  42. Regarding the noting info about our lady parts I read on a training site but this was a few years ago and not sure where it was now. If I ever find it I will provide the link.

  43. My doctor has just refused to treat a totally unrelated medical condition until I’ve had a smear test. I was on the verge of making the appointment until I looked on here tonight. Thank you so much, reading all your comments has strengthened my resolve and I will not be having any more smear tests. I will however be looking for a new doctor.

    • Welcome Jan – you must challenge him/her on this, forcing you to have a smear test is illegal. You really should make a complaint and report them to the medical board. Use this site to get fully informed, there are many links here. Stay strong and don’t ever fall for this crap they dish out!

    • This is ridiculous and it’s medical coercion which is not only unethical but illegal.

      If for any reason you did want to see this doctor before finding a new one, opt out of the program using the link and also send a registered letter to the surgery explaining you are exercising your legal right to opt out of cervical screening and will not be discussing the matter further.

      Good luck with finding a new doctor.

  44. Jan this quack is acting totally illegally I don’t know what country you’re in but in UK “invites”it clearly states u got the right to not attend. Keep strong and refuse the smear.

  45. https://midwifethinking.com/2018/05/09/the-perineal-bundle-and-midwifery/
    Just when we thought the value of the digital rectal exam has been laid to rest, it has now popped up as part of the standard postpartum care bundle for new mothers. Good to see a lot of midwives and obstetricians are speaking out against this measure, but, as usual, there are the usual evangelists who say it will only be carried out with the full informed consent of the woman. Informed consent? Now where have we heard that before? Oh yes, that’s where they don’t provide you with any information to enable you to give informed consent so they’ll have to go ahead and do it anyway “in your best interests”.

    • Oh, wouldn’t you know it, Australia!
      So most midwives have never seen a rectal tear when the perineum is in tact, but they’ll now be required to subject all women to a rectal exam…to chase up the rare case – sound familiar?
      It really is a feature of the govt and medical profession here, this desperate need for more and more information and control, especially over women. They’ve made it very hard for a woman to have a home birth, (with a midwife present) there’s a lot of pressure to breast feed your baby, etc. etc.
      I would imagine a woman with a rectal tear would soon become aware of the problem and mention it to her midwife or doctor.
      Women choose a midwife if they don’t want too many interventions, it seems that’s going to happen regardless. I know some midwives say they can tell when a woman is nearing transition etc. but it sounds like regulation will dictate how a woman is treated, rather than trust the expertise and experience of the midwife.

      • Say NO to “routine” care. The medic will probably try to overrule you with a remark about it being standard procedure, routine standards, preventive….. That is to make you think it is “required” and you “have” to do it. SAY NO. Keep saying NO.

        Women are taught to “not be mean” by pushing for what they want, not “being ugly to others” and to cooperate with others. YOU MUST BREAK THIS CONDITIONING.

        No is not a four-letter word. USE IT. Think about what “being ugly” to the “nice nurse” will cost you if you submit. You will get a procedure you never wanted, that leaves you desperately unhappy and probably did not need.

        Say no. Twine your legs together. Get off the table. Walk out.

        Oh, and you CAN leave a hospital in labor. One of America’s leading home birth advocates got out of bed and left after a doc insisted on a C-section she did not want.

      • Yes. Now, they won’t even let mothers dry the milk. If they won’t breastfeed, then they have to just sit there with gorging breasts until it goes down on its own.

      • I think women need to push back, (if they’re not well enough, find a relative or friend) if you say that you’re uncomfortable, in pain, and you’re ignored, I’d ask why the milk can’t be dried up. Also, it might help to speak to your doctor, even better to do it before the birth,
        most are not as fanatical about breast feeding as some of the midwives/nurses. I had a PA years ago, she referred to the midwives as the nipple police, they made her first week of motherhood an absolute misery.
        Sure they can recommend and assist, but they have no right to pressure, judge or to leave the woman in pain – these people need to be put back in their place. I’d also send off a formal complaint when you feel up to it. This is part of the disrespectful way they treat women and the lack of respect for our rights and body…and boundaries.
        We have to remind the medical profession and others, there are boundaries!

    • Is this going on in the UK too?? A few years ago, I recall that they had stopped performing internal exams on pregnant women unless necessary. Have these guidelines now changed?
      I note the conversation going on between a few midwives on the link you provided about protecting wonen’s right to informed consent and being the custodians of that right. I had to laugh as I’ve always assumed midwives would do anything but protect that right.

      • I saw it on obstetric/midwifery posts in UK, so yes, it looks like this is a UK rule too. I do hope women are well informed, but I can see a lot happening anyway without any consent, just because they can. Good to see many medics speaking out against it. I think they are angered by the ever increasing regulations.
        Something else I spotted recently was that the pelvic exam when registering pregnancy is now no longer recognised as an accurate way of gestation of the foetus. I had this put upon me with both pregnancies, and that wretched smear test too with the first one, by my Dr Sadist. So now they’re saying nothing goes in the vagina at all now, no fingers, or speculum. Just shows that it’s all been proven to be so harmful and pointless.

      • Yeah, I heard of this ages ago. Apparently a lot of the internal exams during pregnancy have been dismissed as pointless and unnecessary. As far back as 2014, I read that nurses and midwives were being advised to conduct these exams only when absolutely necessary. This is clearly still the case then. Good to know. If/ when I ever go down that road, I’d have the confidence to tell them to back off unless necessary. Same goes for this DRE test. This is clearly another tool they’re using to humiliate women with, especially now they’re losing control via the smear and the regular internal pregnancy checks.

    • There was a company where I used to live and all female workers HAD to have a pap smear or they would be fired for “not being healthy”. Yet, the men didn’t have to have their parts examined until 55.

      • Important question from Elizabeth. Because if this was in America,that is illegal. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, existing employees cannot be required to submit to any medical exam unless it is either required by law (like with public transit drivers or truck drivers) or is necessary for job safety (and the burden of proof is in the employer to show,and genital exams are never necessary),and the exam must be limited to job functionality/safety only.

        For new hires, they can do as they damn well please, including genital exams, but are only allowed to do them after the job offer and cannot use any medical info obtained to screen out people for any health issues unrelated to job functionality and safety. They are prohibited from using the data to consider anything else,such as impact on health insurance premiums or potential absenteeism. If sued, and you don’t have to be disabled tosue, the burden of proof is on the employer to explain the necessity of a given exam and prove they weren’t using all that extraneous stuff for illegal discriminatory screening purpoises, so most business lawyers just advise to not do exams on incoming employees, unless required by law, and to limit them to the same parameters as for existing employees. The EEOC busted Dollar General in 2017 for this very thing–they were forcing all incoming employees at their warehouses to have blood tests and very intimate genital exams, etc, and couldn’t justify themselves when the lawsuits hit.

        The real concern in the US is that you might be charged exorbitant extra fees for insurance or denied insurance if you don’t get regular physicals (which have been long debunked as necessary or even preventative), but our friends the ADA and EEOC have mostly closed that loophole too, limiting the fees and prohibiting denial and only allowing it as a voluntary thing that can be incentivized by reward rather than punitive fees.

  46. I should clarify, some midwives know the woman is nearing transition, or about to crown, by her behaviour, pain levels, the sensation of burning or stinging – so just by observing and speaking to the woman, not by vaginal exams. I know some midwives keep vaginal exams to a minimum, allowing the woman to labour without interruption.

    • I’m sure this is happening all over the world right now, but I feel there is a general dumbing down of medicine so that semi-professional people can do it. There is a desperate shortage of radiographers in UK right now, so they can’t find enough people to do the mammography screening. I’ve just seen on PHE’s website that they’ve created a new role for associate trainees to do the job – lower pay, lower skills, lower level of training to get the job done. The problem with getting semi-professionals to have a go at everything armed with their check lists, tick boxes and regulations is that the public is left unable to ask questions about their treatment with a professional. We are becoming more and more like sheep being processed, and having less and less time to discuss options with professional people.

      • Ada I saw that too about mammography ..there was something on the PHE blog. I think it was an apprenticeship God help us all. I’m even more determined to avoid breast screening now lol….What’s next? An apprenticeship in shoving cameras up the anus??

  47. Wow that sounds awful! I hope they don’t pull that BS on me after I have my baby!

    Hope everyone is well-on a side note im actually quite happy w my prenatal care so far. The midwifery program and birth center at CMMC are highly regarded and one of the few “baby friendly”hospitals around. We did the nurse intake last week and she called us “boring in the best possible way” since we don’t have risk factors for anything detrimental and she was able to skip over anything STD related since we were virgins. She didn’t seem phased that i opted out of paps. When I expressed my anxieties about intrusive exams she kind of raised her eyebrow and said “we don’t really do those until labor and even then we’ll do as few as possible.” She did counsel me on symptoms to watch out for regarding infections and cervical weakness. She emphasized that i shouldn’t feel forced into anything and that sort of behavior is not acceptable in their unit-oh i could have kissed her!

    We meet my midwife on Monday for more questions and bloodwork. I’m really hoping that it’s not all too good to be true! So far they seem very hands off and supportive of natural birth. Wish me luck!

    • Yep, the guidelines have changed now. Apparently, nurses and midwives are advised to do them only when necessary (here in the UK anyway). Some research was undertaken which found most of them to be pointless and unnecessary and of little to no value.
      And remember, if you’re not entirely comfortable, you can always ask, what the procedure is for, and whether it’s necessary. You can also say no to the DRE test. If they try to foist that on you, don’t be afraid to say, “No. I’m not happy for you to do that”.

  48. Interesting blog you have, thanks for sharing, I will love if you take a look on my blog as well, everything about obstetrics and gynecology Ultrasound, always with the women interest in mind, give your feedback and a follow if you like it, thank you so much and I also want to wish a happy new year!!!
http://www.ultrasoundfeminsider.com

  49. I’m sure you mean well, but this website is here to empower women to make informed decisions in a healthcare setting because so often we are not given the full information to give informed consent. Ultrasound is yet one more procedure in women’s health care where false positives abound, potentially leading to further invasive procedures and even unnecessary surgeries. You have written extensively in your blog about what you perceive the advantages to be. If you don’t cover the drawbacks as well, then I’m sorry to say you are part of the problem.

  50. And we’re now 4 days into Cervical Cancer Awareness month. This rare cancer has an entire month dedicated to pumping out pink, fluffy B.S. I’ve noticed a distinct change in the messaging from Jo’s Trust. It’s definitely shifted to ‘we know screening isn’t easy for everyone’, they are definitely shifting message. I assume because the usual clearly isn’t working.

    Also the lovely smear for smear to come very soon. I’m looking forward to the social media junk that will be doing the rounds.

    • I’ve corrected a few people now for using a photo of Jade Goody as their ‘awareness month’ poster girl. Most of my comments have been ignored with those replying ‘well I had pre cancer…’ having praise heaped on them for getting it done. One friend I corrected last night, I know will be looking into it herself after my comment.

      Interestingly enough, I deal with gynae referrals at work, recently speaking to a patient who insisted she be seen sooner than the 2-3 weeks I advised as “I have had cervical cancer, you know.” I checked the clinical summary as mistakes do happen and no, she didn’t have cervical cancer, she tested positive for HPV a few years ago. If she’s telling someone with her medical history in front of her that she had cancer then it says a lot for all those popping up on the ‘look at poor Jade’ threads who claim to have ‘survived cancer.’

      • I know Jade had her cancer missed multiple times but do you know where I can find a solid write up of her situation?

        It would be good to throw back at some of the #smearforsmear bullies who are rife online right now.

    • I am totally against this smearfear campaign that takes place every year. Its aimed at young women. When i was young i wasn’t strong enough to say ‘no’ to my doctor. Like wise these women arn’t able to say ‘no’ either.

      Its only when you are older and take stock of things do you say i wish i hadn’t done that.

      Are these young women also going to think one day that the NHS got away with ‘raping’ them. Is this how the system works? That it creates victims who look back on their smears as ‘rapes.’

      When PHE bleats about choice from time to time they should mean choice. Not keep creating these ‘awareness’ campaigns all the time.

      My friend tells me that one school she was at before Christmas a couple of nurses went in one day to talk about the benefits of smears when they are older. They are now about ‘capturing’ 16 year olds into their mindset. I call it brainwashing. I wish i’d been in that classroom!

      • Linda, I wish you’d been in that classroom too!
        I hate schools and workplaces pushing the screening “message” – it’s never balanced, always promoting screening. I’ve heard of some offices inviting someone from the breast screening program to come in and inform women on the benefits of screening.
        I think women may feel pressure to attend or explain to workmates why they don’t want to attend, that’s unacceptable, screening should be a personal decision, a private matter.

        My husband was concerned when it happened in his office, organised by a woman at another firm “saved” by the program – he explained to his partners that breast screening is controversial and that the talk didn’t cover over-diagnosis or over-treatment or mention it was also fine not to screen.
        He said they were clueless, (apart from a female partner who’d heard about over-diagnosis) having just accepted that it was obviously a good thing for women to do, even though several of them have declined prostate screening. He pointed out from a liability point of view, could it be viewed that the partnership were promoting breast screening?
        He certainly didn’t want to promote any sort of screening, it’s a matter for the individual.
        It worries me that more businesses and firms are being infiltrated by these programs, it inappropriate.

      • That’s exactly the fears I was expressing before Christmas! It’s like politics – inviting this sort of thing into schools and offices is insiduous and almost, always bad news. So many strong and opinionated views on the matter that could clash and get out of hand. It’s also a way of chasing and “hunting down” possible dissenters. I can also imagine that it encourages a climate of colleagues asking each other about screening. I don’t know about you, but my private business is mine and mine alone. I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing this with colleagues nor would I appreciate being grilled about it. Workplaces should be free of this sort of thing. This is sinister and this agenda is designed to follow us into our work and private lives so that there is little escape from the discussion around screening. This should be essentially a patient/ doctor space which is difficult enough to combat as it is. Let us live our private and work lives in peace.

      • Also, young women are the least likely to develop carcinogenic cc, but the most likely to receive abnormal results leading to overtreatment. They’re only targeting young women because they have become the key to this programme’s survival, and the driving force for its decline (and potential eventual demise), so to win young hearts and minds is to keep the programme alive. But they don’t seem to be doing a great job of reaching out to them in any respectful manner.

  51. https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/how-jade-goody-s-cancer-developed-82368
    15 years old Jade was when she had abnormal cells removed vin 1997…..WHAT! Why the hell are they performing this at such a young age? In 2004 treated for an ovarian cyst! 2006 tested for bowel & ovarian cancer but got all clear! 2007 miscarriage at 12 weeks & then another! Jade had cells removed 3 times & ignored 4th abnormal as afraid of further treatment. 2008 Hysterectomy, chemo/rad but advanced. 2009 kidney blockage. 2009 golfball-sized tumour is removed from Jade’s bowel. she’s admitted to a hospice after suffering hallucinations caused by her medication and operation to remove a bowel blockage!
    So….was the cause of death cervical cancer? It may have started this way (possibly) but with all the treatments/Ops/drugs & risks/side effects….I do wonder??

    • I agree Chas. There was something fishy in all of this. Its not the black and white story the authorities would have us believe. They probably did kill her with all the so call ‘treatments.’

    • My stepmother died of cancer 4 years ago and I truly believe it wasn’t the cancer that killed her but all these ‘treatments’ they were plying her with.

      My Nan was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 11 years ago. My aunt looked into treatment she was offered and they refused all but the oestrogen blockers which they supplemented with ‘herbal oil’ as they told me it was called. Nan is alive, well, cancer free and probably more active than me as she enters her 89th year.

    • Chas, I was horrified when I read that Jade had not only been tested when incredibly young but had actually had “abnormal” cells removed from her cervix.
      Testing a woman under 25, or even 30, is bad enough, the evidence has made that clear for decades but at 15, it’s horrifying, IMO, it’s medical misconduct.
      Pap tests in the 25 and younger age group are very likely to be “abnormal”, I’ve read 1 in 3 will be “abnormal”…it’s the Pap test picking up normal changes in the maturing cervix or transient and harmless infections or inflammation. Early testing so often means early over-treatment.

      Jade was used as a example, “look at this silly woman, ignored test results etc.” but I believe the system was a major factor in her death, that early trauma shaped decisions she made later on…
      I’ve heard doctors say that promiscuous women should be tested early, not true, no one benefits from early testing. If women want STI testing, non-invasive testing methods should be readily available, along with birth control.

      Also, Jade was used to sell pap testing, I think she probably felt pressure to add to that call, but Jade had adenocarcinoma of the cervix, this type of cervical cancer is usually missed by pap testing so once again, they’re happy to mislead women to protect their precious program. In fact, we know some women are reassured by a normal Pap test (false negative) and are later diagnosed with cervical cancer (adenocarcinoma) – the delay in seeing a doctor for symptoms may mean a later diagnosis and poorer prognosis.

      By the way, I’m not suggesting Jade was promiscuous or judging her in any way, I don’t know much about her, I know she was on Big Brother but even if she was sexually active at a young age, that should never mean early pap testing and “treatments”.

      I think that’s how the system got a hold of lots of young women, with the highly unethical (and possibly more than that…) Pap test requirement for the Pill – medical coercion – if they’d been able to get the Pill at the pharmacist, it would have spared huge numbers from these early, completely unnecessary, harmful and distressing over-treatments.

      We all know that early distressing medical experiences change us, it may mean we ignore symptoms, we avoid all medical care – some of us no longer trust the medical profession – medical trauma can last a lifetime, and it can end up costing you your life. I’ve spoken to many women online over the years who were managing their own symptoms or medical conditions – too fearful to see a doctor.

      I also don’t like the way women are blamed if they don’t screen and are subsequently diagnosed with cervical or breast cancer – it’s another way they make clear they have zero respect for informed consent or even consent itself in women’s cancer screening.

    • Yes. I never believed it. Also, a lot of women with CIN are being told that it os early cervical cancer in order to drive up the rates of the rare cancer.

      • I’ve noticed an alarming number of women recently, usually younger women, absolutely convinced they’ve survived cancer as they had CIN removed.

        They’re adamant that’s what their doctor told them. I assumed they were confused but it makes sense that’s what they’re being told. They’re essentially being lied to by medical professionals.

  52. Interesting that the majority of #smearforsmear tweets I’ve seen so far this week have been from businesses and vested medical interests.

    It’s only day one but not a lot of women sharing their selfie and quite a lot of push back about the campaign on social media, more than I expected anyway. Jo’s have been very defensive on a couple of occasions.

    • I am commenting as much as I can. Very frustrating reading what the pro screeners have to say but interesting seeing how many likes our comments are getting. I think things are gradually changing.

      • Thank you LOL! As you can see I am on one hell of a rant and jut waiting for them all to jump on me! However, not all of them are getting through? But I’m giving them hell!

      • Yes Chas, Caroline, Elizabeth brilliant!
        Thank God there are informed women to counter the tripe being spewed on there!

    • I’m late to the party but have started commenting (only noticed the article last night). They’ve all got through and I’ve received a number of upvotes. I’m sickened by one or two males (obviously Jo’s Toss groupies) preaching to women. Also, most of the militant pro-screeners seem to be at least 40+ (not surprising given the fact that it is younger women driving the trend for declining take-up rates).
      I was disgusted by the live-stream of the smear. I’m not surprised that the Mail included this image to be honest as let’s be realistic, this sort of image will be gratifying to many male readers. It’s not about encouraging take-up rates on their part at all. Jo’s Toss might find however that this sort of image is outdated and is not at all conducive to encouraging take-up (another own goal right there lol). I wonder, was this video live-streamed from the UK? If so, I wasn’t aware that they had introduced stirrups. If not, I wonder whose idea it was to film her in this fashion and who arranged the set-up? Why would the doctor agree to it? Very disturbing!

  53. Good grief, the Daily Mail is thick. Two photos containing male doctors, one photo depicting a woman spread-eagled in stirrups (not generally used for smear tests in the UK) even though it is abundantly clear that most women would prefer a female smear taker. If they wanted to encourage women to go, then this will produce the complete opposite. 71% of women said in a poll that they were scared. But, says the Mail, women will be told NOT to be afraid. Yes of course that will work! Who pays these cretins to come out with this garbage? As for Jo’s Trust and their smear for smear campaign, I can’t imagine many women having their minds changed by this ridiculous stunt. New campaign, same old crap.
    When will the penny drop that this horribly invasive test is unacceptable to a vast number of women?

    • Ever since Jo’s Tosh came into being about 2005 the numbers attendling have fallen, except for the year Ms Goody died, but they can hardly claim that was their doing. The evidence is clear: they and their campaigns do not work and they are offensive to a lot of women, yet every year it’s all in the same vein. Every year it fails as the new uptake targets continue to decline.
      They also claim that women love screening and no one has ever been coerced, threatened or bullied. How is it that attendance has fallen away from the last 21 years if no pressure was ever applied?

    • Let’s look at it as a positive. Another own goal, another potential nail in the coffin for Jo’s Toss’ little awareness raising campaigns!

  54. What gets me is the language… women will be told…We’re adults! Who are they or anyone else to tell us.? Should those afraid if say heights be told to stop being scared?? Grrrr

    • Just shows that those who refuse no matter what, or are considered “non-compliant” command the most respect. They are the ones being offered the less invasive, more dignified method (just like men command more respect for avoiding doctors). It will take more dissenters to change the medical profession’s views.

  55. The Daily Mail kept freezing up on me just as I was hitting to post comments, but at least a lot of them got through. I didn’t realise there was a limit to the posts in 24 hours LOL! Thank you so much everyone for also posting and up voting, absolutely brilliant! If just 1 young woman reads our comments and decides to look further into the tests and its consequences then it would be a job very well done, although I do believe there will be many taking note of is said. Fantastic!

  56. Before having my daughter 11 years ago I had smears as I thought it was a ‘have to’ due to talking with other women and of course doctors. After 2 smears following childbirth were extremely painful due to apparent cervical erosion I decided to decline further testing. I then had letter after letter and phone call after phone call telling me I need to have a smear as I am overdue. When I went to see the doctor on a completely unrelated matter I was told I had to have a smear, let’s do it now. I declined giving my reasons and these were brushed off as being ridiculous “Lots of women have cervical erosion and they still get smears”. I reinforced my stance and a note in capital letters and highlighted in red was put on my file saying “Declined smear. Remind again at next appointment “. This really put me off going to the doctor again as I knew I would have to go through it all again. Recently I had some unusual bleeding over a couple of cycles. I went to a different doctor asking for blood tests or an ultrasound as I believe it is due to either stress or my age. Blood tests were refused as unnecessary and the doctor said you are having a smear now. I felt I had no choice and had one followed by a very invasive pelvic exam. I have been in a lot of pain from this (no pain prior) and have been told that due to my cervix looking raw (doctor said she had made it worse with smear, sorry) and the bleeding I now have to have an internal ultrasound and a variety of other gynaecologist interventions. I want to decline but feel that as I have gone to the doctor with concerns I can’t. I honestly thought I could start with less invasive tests and go from there. Feel sick.

    • I’m sorry you went through that, Bec.

      Very easy for me to write and say, “do this, do that” but I know when it’s you as the patient, it’s a whole different ball game.

      Firstly, you have the option to make a complaint about the GP; you’re symptomatic and therefore, there was no clinical indication for a screening test, you should have been offered the route for a diagnostic test. Should you wish to make a complaint, email to the practice manager is the best way to start, escalating to CQC and GMC should it become necessary.

      With regard to diagnostics, if you’ve been referred to the gynae service, you can discuss your treatment options with them; what they feel is the optimal way forward for you and their clinical indications for that. There are no ‘have to’s’ and ‘alloweds’ when it comes to your health, treatment is only compulsory if you’re under section of the MHA.

      I was in hospital a few weeks ago, horrendous sudden pain in my side which went from 0-end stage childbirth pain within seconds. A scan was performed on my abdomen, then the sonographer said, “and they said they want you scanned internally.” I replied with, “nope, nothing goes up.”

      Do you have anyone you can advocate for you in future appointments?

      • The same thing happened to me. I was clear about being a virgin and that nothing would go in. They still said, if we cannot see on the sonogram, we will do an internal sonogram. I kept all of my clothes on to make sure that there was no chance and they could see clearly that nothing was going on. Still, the doctor said “you look healthy on the scan – now, can I do a pap smear?” I said no and proceeded to ask him something about the scan and he cut me off – “I’ve got to go”. As soon as he realized that he wouldn’t be my first, then he didn’t have time for me.

    • Bec, I can’t add too much to what Samia’s already said, except I think your practice must be desperate to reach their targets and get their cash reward, they sound incredibly aggressive. You have the legal right to refuse any medical intervention, including screening tests, it’s not something you ‘have’ to do. I understand that there’s a power imbalance in the consult room, and if you really do have a problem you’re afraid that if you don’t give in to doctors demands they’ll refuse to help you. It’s blackmail, an abuse of power.
      You have the right to say no, and no obligation to explain yourself. You went to the doctors for help and they bullied you into humiliating, painful procedures which proved totally pointless. You owe them nothing.

    • Bec,
      I too am sorry that you had to go through this. I am in the US, and I too went through 3/4 of a visit with a doctor who was filling in for my regular GP while she’s out on maternity leave. I was in for diabetes follow-up (I actually AM diagnosed with that condition) and hypothyroid (also diagnosed). Instead, there was, “We have to get you a pap test RIGHT NOW!”, even though I’m having no gyn symptoms. He too said that my issues are “ridiculous” and how this could cause my death… like my cervix is going to explode any minute and kill me. He was aghast that I knew what a rare cancer it is – so much so that my chances of dying of CC are lower than being killed by being hit by lightening!

      I have a few other health concerns, but they’re not “horrible” now or yet, which I didn’t get to talk about because of this focus on my crotch.

      In the mean time, my fighting off what I consider a medicalized rape is taking its toll on my mental health. Stress is a much bigger killer than CC!

    • Brilliant advice from Samia.

      I concur and provided you feel strong enough or ready, I’d advise you to opt out of screening and make a complaint (provided you want to).

      You can file a complaint with the GMC (General Medical Council), on the basis that you were under duress to submit and therefore was deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision. The implication that investigation/ treatment was to be withheld, could support your case.
      Remind them of the LEGAL principle of consent in medical settings and that asymptomatic testing is not considered good practice for diagnostic purposes.

  57. Bec, I’m so sorry to read your account and it has made me very angry, because I went through very similar bullying to this. I opted out permanently many years ago, (2003), and it stopped all the bullying and reminders. On the rare occasions I saw this GP again she never mentioned it. Samia is right with what she says above. All medical treatment and screening is optional, but your GP sounds like mine was and led me to believe it was something I couldn’t get out of.
    You may find the gynae referral a better bunch of people. Make sure you go with a list of questions. Stand your ground and say you want the questions answered first. Don’t remove clothing until you are satisfied your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. Remember it is all optional, if in doubt, say you need more time to think this over. The one advantage opting out gave me, was that they couldn’t touch me while I had that letter. It is utterly shocking that we cannot access the NHS without a smear test and the harassment. These doctors need to be told, they are breaking the law. Are you able to change GP and get on someone elses list?

  58. Bec, a screening test is totally inappropriate for a symptomatic woman, you could never rely on the result, it’s too unreliable, your symptoms should have been addressed. Sounds like they took the opportunity to get you screened, it’s disgraceful the way some doctors, nurses and receptionists behave when it comes to smear tests.
    We don’t see the same irrational attitudes and conduct with other screening tests. I’m sorry you were put through that…
    I tend to interview doctors, I’ve only been referred to a few medical specialists, (and I’m almost 61) but when I have, I see it as an interview process – I do my reading, ask my questions, then I ask myself: can I work with this doctor? It helps to even up the power dynamic too.

    • Also, even in symptomatic, an ultrasound should always be attempted first. Too many places will trick the woman into a pelvic exam and then say “oh, we can’t see the ovaries that way anyway” AFTER the woman is already damaged. Always demand an ultrasound first and leave any place that does otherwise.

      • Women need to be wary too of the technician who says they can’t see whatever so a TVU will be necessary – if you’re uncomfortable or unsure, ask for another technician.
        I think it can be very convenient and safe for a predatory technician to make the claim.
        I’ve heard of a few examples over the years, including a woman who was told a TVU would be necessary, she asked for a female tech if that was the case, the female walked in, had no issue at all, TVU was unnecessary.

  59. Thanks to each of you for your great advice and support. I’m sorry to hear of your experiences also. Yes, I did wonder why I was being screened when I presented with symptoms but thought the doctor must know best!! Thanks to this forum and doing some further reading I feel more empowered now and will ask for further information, options and risks as well as benefits before agreeing to any further testing of any kind. I just have to be strong and confident in myself as it is my body and my choice. THANKYOU AGAIN.

    • Kat, this is pure Nazism, but what you’d expect from a rag like the DM. It’s disgusting that these surgeries are being named. In my city there are 2 surgeries that have very low uptakes of about 25%. Reasons: One is the homeless surgery where 90% must be male patients, leaving only a handful of women, the other is the university practice itself which must be 90% under screening age, and therefore a very small population of eligible women. It might just mean that 15 of those 20 registered don’t want it. These 2 surgeries affect the overall uptake figure for the city and make it quite low that I’ve seen calls to tackle uptake in these 2 surgeries. Utterly appalling that the few decliners in these surgeries are going to face such harrassment.

  60. Here in America children are now subjected to “routine” inspections of their genitals although there is no reason to do this. Pre-teen girls are referred to a gyn doc upon puberty even if no exam is done to “encourage them to ask questions” and “get them into ‘good’ practice” visiting a gyn doc. There is no medical need for this and it is all about programming.

    At least I have a doc who thus far has not tried to force me to do this. If so, I will switch docs

    I hate the patronizing remarks about how they see bodies every day and are not interested in them. My reply is “I do not care what or whom you see, or your interest. I care about how I feel about anyone seeing me.”

    • Hello DJ. Welcome to the forum. There is an excellent article on the internet by Eros Modestica called Gentlemen don’t look up ladies skirts. This, I think should be compulsive reading for young women contemplating gyno visits. I don’t think we can get away from the fact male doctors do find these exams arousing. Women should avoid male gyno’s at all cost.

      • Yes.

        There is no way, no matter how religious he is, that he can insert his hand into a young woman and NOT be turned on, unless he is non-binary.

    • Hi DJ, If it were my child it would be a BIG FAT NO! This is an awful thing to put a teenager through, especially as there is no medical reason. As a parent you have rights & if a child has no need to visit the doctor then do not visit the doctor, if all is well then it is not necessary for the “get them into good practice” visit. There is nothing routine about a child being subjected to this kind of surveillance. Remembering when I was a child if I had that kind of inspection it would have damaged me mentally! We are supposed to be teaching our children about the dangers in life, & not letting anyone near their bodies is one of them facing youngsters today.
      Yes you are right – who cares how they feel, we care how we feel, their feelings under difficult circumstances matters not in the slightest to us, about time they realised this.

      • If the first thing to ever rip them apart is a big metal blade, there is no way they will ever enjoy sex when they are older. On top of that, their first sex experience will be a violent one.

    • This is child abuse in my opinion. Docs only want them used to a gyno young so that they can condition them. When grown women aged 25 or 30 are called for “screening”, they are less scared and more likely to make an informed decision than a 15 or 20 year old (I know, I speak from personal experience). Which makes me wonder, are paps on the decline in the US? Targeting younger and younger women sounds like a desperation tactic that our NHS tries when screening rates start taking a plunge!

      • It gets worse. There was a woman campaigning for girls’ hymens to be removed after birth so that the concept of “virginity” would not exist. She thought that it would make girls get paps as young as twelve because there would be nothing to “save”.

    • Yes.

      My doctor always says this. I see bodies everyday. Yes, but I WILL have to live with thev fact that your hands penetrated me before my future husband. My vagina is getting ruined – not your freaky eyes!

      • Hi Kat. So glad you voted for the missing cat. How are you doing anyway? You’ve not posted about your migraines for a while. Are they gone now? Are you well now? Hope you are doing ok.

        My hubb retires in August. He’s 60 then and has decided he’s had enough. I ve been looking for a part time job. Have applied to the works, edinbugh wool mill and others. Don’t fancy going in to schools again but need to do summat. I’m 54 so need to work for my pension or I wont get one.

        x

    • I think most people (except the Daily Mail harridans) are beginning to see this “charity” for what it is. Women are sick to death of hearing about “screening”. Woop woop!

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