10,000 Comments on Unnecessary Pap Smears Deleted
*Update: The lost comments have been found and are being republished on Unnecessary Pap Smears WordPress (linked below)
In 2004 a woman who called herself “Bookofjoe” wrote an article titled “Unnecessary Pap Smears” and published it on Blogcritics. The article highlights a number of interesting points, but the main focus of the article is on the questionable practice of screening for cervical cancer on women who have no cervix. The author states that in the United States “almost 10 million women – almost half of all women who have undergone hysterectomy – are being screened unnecessarily, as they are not at risk of cervical cancer” (the full article can be read here http://blogcritics.org/unnecessary-pap-smears/)
The article is interesting but it is what happened after the article was published that is most remarkable. Women began to comment on the article and to share their experiences with pap smears. Women – many for the first time – discovered that others shared similar experiences and feelings. Blogcritics became a community of like-minded women – a safe haven to speak openly, to regain strength and to seek comfort after negative and traumatic medical experiences. It also became a valuable resource for truthful information and statistics.
In the nine years that followed the article’s publication, over 10,000 comments had been posted. But . . . a few weeks ago the site underwent some changes and the comments were deleted. *Nine years worth of comments are gone. Elizabeth (Aust) sums it up well:
“By the way, hope Blogcritics is only down temporarily, it would be a great loss, those pages are a rare and raw account of the suffering and harm these programs have caused, women silenced for decades. It shows what happens when you ignore informed consent and don’t follow the evidence. It’s a damning indictment of the medical profession and all those who promote and protect this abuse.
I felt many women found that site and poured out their souls, some of the posts affected me deeply….and the tragedy, almost all of it was avoidable.” Elizabeth (Aust)
*Since this post was published, the comments have been recovered and are currently in the process of being re-posted here: https://unnecessarypapsmears.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/over-10000-lost-comments-on-unnecessary-pap-smears-find-a-home/