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  • Blogger 12:53 am on August 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: benefits and harms of cancer screening, Cancer, Cancer screening   

    Cancer Screening: Benefits and Harms 

    Dr. Gilbert Welch discusses the benefits and harms of cancer screening (11:31 min).

  • Blogger 12:49 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , comments on unnecessary pap smears, , , Women's health   

    10,000 Lost Comments on Unnecessary Pap Smears Find a New Home 

    More than 10,000 comments on Bookofjoe’s “Unnecessary Pap Smears” article were displaced following changes to Blogcritics.  The Blogcritic’s site (http://blogcritics.org/unnecessary-pap-smears/) had been home to a group of informed women who contributed information and shared personal experiences about pap smears, cervical cancer, and other women’s health issues.  Some of the women had been contributors on Blogcritics for years, and for some as many as eight years.  The site provided a safe haven for women seeking truthful information and shelter from the misinformation and misconsent that can go hand in hand with women’s health care experiences.

    Through the years more than 10,000 comments had accumulated.  The comments disappeared from the site during the transfer to a new format more than a month ago, and have not yet reappeared.  However, they had been relocated to a different site by someone (unknown, and who we will be forever thankful to) where they were still accessible for those dedicated to finding them.  The temporary site where the comments were being kept has since disappeared.

    Fortunately, the original comments had been copied into three word documents by Chas before they were lost for good.  The comments have been reposted on this site where hopefully they will remain safe for years to come.  The reposting is done under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license endorsed by the original Blogcritics site (http://blogcritics.org/unnecessary-pap-smears/), which allows users to copy the works on the site for non-commercial use.

    • Blogger 8:24 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10015 – Kleigh (US)
      May 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm
      A woman commented that she hoped what jolie said will make woman more concerned about cancer. and that they whould go for the “hpv vaccine, pap smears, mamogrames and pelvic exams.” why is it all about serching for cancer in female organs? there is other cancer besides female cancer. I dont get it and no one whould ever sugest a man have his organs cut off for fear of cancer. And there is a sexist idea that woman are supose to be selfless for there children and indure every invasive thing just bc they are woman. its sexist.

      • 10016 – Mary
      May 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm
      I agree Kleigh. You don’t see men getting their prostate removed because their father died of prostate cancer. Only women are expected to remove organs for the sake of their children.
      Even if Jolie’s decision is sound, nobody ever suggests men do the same sort of thing.

      • 10017 – Anon
      May 15, 2013 at 6:48 am
      I’m also impressed by the people who comment on Jolie’s situation and other women like her: “You know, the mastectomy doesn’t give you a ZERO risk, it just lowers your risk!” Same with bi-lateral,proplylactic oophorectomy,’You know you can STILL get cancer in the peritoneal cavity!’

      In other words, you still have cause to go through life anxiety laden by dint of your gender. And you STILL need to get poked, prodded, squished, dilated and x-rayed.

      I guess the fear mongerers would prefer prophylactic suicide.

      And if only huge, full page ads were taken out for a whole month of Prostate Awareness Month, with a gloved hand asking if the embarrassment of,”the test” was worth risking leaving your kids fatherless (picture of two sad kids whose Dad did not line up for the exam and PSA).

      And put the damn ribbons everywhere, urging men to THINK about their prostate. On the beer they drink, the clothes they buy, the sports equipment they shop for. EVERYWHERE. Enjoying your life, pal? Really? With that lil walnut shaped gland in your nether regions ready to GO OFF like a time bomb???

      Put down the fishing pole and GET TO A DOCTOR! You’re lounging around on your day off, enjoying your life, when you should be worried sick.

      Are men ever guilted to be proactive? Yes. By life insurance companies. Be a man, take out a policy. Once.

      Women get the message that they are reckless for not considering cancer 14 times per year: monthly self-check, yearly pelvic, yearly CBE & mammogram.

      I think about how much this blog has helped me to GET IT. The many years I went white with fear awaiting pap results. (I never researched WHY women got cervical cancer, or whether I had risk factors. I just WENT).

      The fear of mammogram results that (please don’t judge me) I thought were grouped into two categories: all clear/gonna live, and something suspicious/this is a death sentence. Back when I had mammograms I was glad the clinic was by a highway because I knew I could not handle a positive result of any kind and was ready to drive into a pillar if need be.

      Fear. Fear. Fear. It makes us afraid to travel some places, assert an opinion, make unapologetic decisions.

      It may be chemical, socialization, evolution, that we are so full of anxiety. But the crime is that to many industries, a woman’s anxiety is big business.

      The health care business is the same as the appearance industry of make-up, fashion and plastic surgery. “You are flawed, defective, broken. If you are not stressed you are simply not paying attention.”

      If you ever forget for an instant how sub-standard your looks are, or how hypervigilant you must be about your body, we will remind you by newspaper, TV, internet and billboard at least a couple hundred times per day.

      Then we’ll sell you antidepressants and anti anxiety meds. Because if you’re not a basket case, you’re not paying attention.

      • 10018 – Mary
      May 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm
      Anon you are so right. Here in Australia women wish men would worry about their health like they do. How sick is that? The reality is preventative medicine in most cases is not going to save you. If you get one of the aggressive fast growing cancers there is nothing you can do.
      Most women can’t deal with that. They want to believe in fairy tales and think that regular checks will save your life. There’s an interesting article in the NYtimes about breast cancer and how the pink brigade pretend that women with mestastatic cancer don’t exist because that doesn’t fit in nicely with their message of going for regular mammograms. Kind of ruins the feel good factor they try to promote.
      NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html

      • 10019 – Jane (UK)
      May 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm
      There is an article over at NewsFix.ca regarding a urine screen for cervical cancer.


      • Anonymous 4:19 pm on May 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Just discovered this site. Responding to Anon: right you are!!

    • Blogger 8:26 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10020 – Susanne (USA)
      May 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm
      Just read this article online.http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/7-lies-we-tell-our-doctors?pageart=2 Makes me so angry! Such condescending, patronizing, insulting garbage! Just another example of how so-called “health writers” and those in the medical community treat us all like a bunch of stupid little girls who obviously “lie” to them and must be told exactly what to do with our bodies and never question their authority.

      • 10021 – Alice (Australia)
      May 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm
      Re comment #10017 (Anon): this is a great piece of writing! It sums the situation up very well. I wish it was published in newspapers or magazines, in those “Think about it” columns.

      It’s incredible how much scaremongering we are subjected to, how much unnecessary fear we carry inside. I won’t be surprised if one day they discover that the toxicity of fear of a certain cancer actually induces this cancer. Who knows how many women got cervical abnormalities from the ubiquitous scary ads about pap smears and cervical cancer!

      • 10022 – JeanArt
      May 16, 2013 at 5:56 am
      In regards to Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy and then going public with that decision: most people are applauding her for “raising awareness” of this issue but here is the problem I see. While she is perfectly entitled to make a decision based on her medical situation I don’t necessarily agree with her going public about it. It just fuels the fear (that has been so aptly described here lately). I can just see women now running to their doctors for a genetic test to make sure they don’t have the BRCA1 or 2 gene, like Jolie has. Even though all the commentators have stressed that these women are a small minority it still adds fuel to the fire. The fear mongering machine is out in full force. I am so sick and tired of hearing about it. Before you know it, women will be lining up to remove their breasts and ovaries “just in case”. It is utter nonsense.

      • 10023 – Yazzmyne
      May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm
      ” in Jolie’s case, she had the BCRA gene, which gave her about an 87% chance of getting breast cancer. Her mother died of BC at a very young age. Jolie wrote an article about it for the New York Times, and interestingly enough, she wasn’t saying “ladies, get your mammograms!” She was saying “yeah, was tested because I had a family history, found out I had this gene of death, dealt with it.”

      So it sounds as though she was the rare instance in which prophylactic surgery WAS a sound choice. I hope people will take that away from her case; not that they have to get their breasts lopped off themselves.”

      It might have been a sound choice if the situation she believed she was in was based on reality, but it is not as

      first of all when it comes to her options, cancer can be prevented and cured naturally, no need to chop off any organs. There’s so many accounts you can read from people who were given the dead sentence by their doctors and who have completely cured themselves by merely changing their diet, but the doctors wouldn’t believe it of course so they keep on lying to women telling they only have limited choices which don’t even really prevent or cure disease.

      Secondly, genes do NOT determine our health. The belief that our genes determine our fate is an assumption made years ago that was never even proven scientifically. Scientific research tells us that our thoughts, attitude, beliefs, diet regulate gene expression and even contribute to the rewriting of our genetic code.
      Look up cell biologist, dr Bruce Lipton
      Lipton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iCcnDuY6-4

      Thirdly, this genetic BRCA testing is not foolproof either. Just like most of their other ‘holy testing tools’ it can also produce false positives! Lessons from Angelina http://nation.time.com/2013/05/15/lessons-from-angelina-the-tricky-calculus-of-cancer-testing/#ixzz2TTJRborb : The Tricky Calculus of Cancer Testing

      The company who offers this genetic testing has actually patented the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (belonging to everyone, so they basically own part of you!) and therefore controls the cost and research on this type of testing. Eventhough Jolie admits it is costly, she wants this test to be affordable for all women, yet doesn’t question the validity of this test considering the questionable objectivity of their research and motives to ‘offer’ women this test.

      There’s also a sensible article amidst all the craziness and standing ovations that Angelina received from most mainstream media, written by a doctor who is in a similar position as Angelina, and explains why she does not believe preventive surgery is a good idea. She also points out that the ‘estimated risks’ the doctors calculate for you can severely differ from your actual risk.. link article http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/05/16/why-i-m-not-having-a-preventive-mastectomy.html

      • 10024 – Elizabeth (Aust)
      May 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm
      I was uncomfortable when I heard the news, sort of that sinking feeling that even more women will end up in surgery having healthy pieces of their body removed…just in case.

      I can certainly understand someone with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer wanting to get some decent and balanced advice, but…
      we know doctors and others are bad with statistics. I’d be making sure my risk is really that high…80%+ sounds very high to me. If the risk really is high, I’d be looking at alternatives to surgery. I know some women with BRCA 1 or 2 take Tamoxifen or have regular MRIs.
      I’d be cautious though, the first Q: what is my actual risk? Do I really need to take these steps? Do they reduce my risk, if so, by how much? What are the risks WITH these preventative measures?

      This also, serves to add another layer of fear to an already terrified female population. I fear we’ll see more women of normal or slightly elevated risk wanting to test and then what…where’s the cut-off for these things and what happens to women deemed unsuitable for preventative measures? They live with even more fear.

      The article linked by Yazzmyne is VERY concerning…a female physician with lobular carcinoma (a risk factor for cancer, NOT cancer) is flippantly urged by a doctor (with a poor understanding of statistics and the relevant medical evidence) to have her breasts removed. (this happens with DCIS too)
      This is awful overkill…has the healthy female body been reduced to this? Women are now so “aware” of cancer they just want their healthy cervix, ovaries and uterus out and their breasts off?

      I imagine some of those who test will not have private health insurance and will have to wait for a public bed, just imagine the anxiety and fear. We know a few women have committed suicide after getting a call-back after a mammogram. (they didn’t have cancer)
      This is harmful stuff…NO screening test or routine exam is simple, people need to understand where it might lead and their options BEFORE they agree to test.
      Not many of us can think clearly and calmly with an “abnormal” stamped on our file…we’re then more likely to make hasty decisions based on fear and misinformation.

      All of this awareness is killing and harming many of us and certainly destroying our quality of life. It also, affects our view of our body, we start to view it with suspicion and sometimes, see it as the enemy.
      My strongest feeling toward my body is protector, IMO, fear and misinformation breaks that down leaving us totally exposed to medical excess/madness.
      So women who “really” have a high risk, please, be careful.

      Mary, I saw that article in the NY Times, such a great piece of writing, but one thing: how many articles showing that sort of awareness have you found in our papers?
      I think American and English women are catching on now, they’re seeing article after article, while we’re still in the woods. We have one or two doctors warning us about breast screening…so that means women hear the same thing over and over, “early detection”, “1 in 9 will get breast cancer” etc…most would dismiss the articles written by one or two doctors…they must be ratbags or anti-vaxxers.

    • Blogger 8:28 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10025 – Mary
      May 17, 2013 at 1:02 am
      Elizabeth did you see the budget handed down this week? I think about $55 million was going to be spent on breast screening. Quite frankly, I think the people advising the govt to spend money on this are almost as bad as murderers because they are taking away money that could be spent on research.
      If they can’t face facts that the evidence shows that mammograms do not save lives then they shouldn’t be in their jobs.

      And about testing for cancer. What happens when we can test for all of them. Is it going to be normal to have people walking around with more than one body part missing?

      Like you, I also wondered about doctors understanding of statistics. I doubt very much that they study statistics.

      • 10026 – Diane (US)
      May 17, 2013 at 1:07 am
      I do agree, Elizabeth, there’s way too much fear-mongering out there, and the sad part is, all of the real cases get lost in the shuffle. Automatically deciding to remove one’s breasts – or uterus, or what have you – is a drastic step, and as mentioned, they’d never recommend prophylactically removing a man’s testicles or prostate.

      I think we can agree that there’s too much testing, too much fear-mongering and the inexcusable attitude of the medical professional to reduce women to their reproductive organs. It’s been mentioned before that doctors will never ask about the cancers that are way more common than cervical/breast, or insist on testing for them, and that women with real symptoms of trouble (such as the person I know who is now battling ovarian cancer) are blown off.

      Having said that, at the end of the day it’s Jolie’s choice to do what she wants to do with her own body – and one can only hope that she did have the correct and complete information to make the best decision for herself. I also do appreciate that in her article she wasn’t going on about mammograms and paps, which alone makes it stand out from others who speak about breast cancer. I’m not even going to touch the nonsense about magically curing cancer with diet and attitude, or the dismissal of genetics.

      • 10027 – Yazzmyne
      May 17, 2013 at 2:25 am
      Diane: ” I’m not even going to touch the nonsense about magically curing cancer with diet and attitude, or the dismissal of genetics.”

      Too bad you have to brush FACTS off as “nonsense” and this is exactly the sort of closed-minded mentality that is never going to lead to the cure or any significant improvement as “the cure” already exists. Most ‘scientists’ don’t even want to do research on it, merely because of their ridiculing attitude towards certain concepts, that’s not very objective or scientific is it? Real scientists and doctors who come with evidence that doesn’t suit the *beliefs* of mainstream ‘scientists’ are shunned and ridiculed and that’s how it always has been to later on (usually after their death) admit they were actually genius and ahead of their time because truth always goes through several stages before the masses can accept it as first it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed untill it is accepted as self-evident.
      Recognizing the stage you are in, I won’t bother to argue with you anymore, but I wish you good luck in practising an open mind regardless.

      • 10028 – David (UK)
      May 17, 2013 at 4:08 am
      There ARE a lot of naïve patients around today… I suspect due to a ridiculous trust of Doctors? Many of patients do not even know, or do not recognise, the difference between the Male and Female psyche, or how the opposite gender is sexually stimulated.

      Mr Doctor, My Wife and I recognise your “I’ll just take little a look at that” sentence, for what it is – an attempt to brighten your day at the expense of our Marriage, a typical Male Doctor tactic wanting to take a look!

      If you’re a woman who regards routine intimate examinations as ‘unpleasant’, then I’m flat out calling you a liar! If your claim were true, then most of the unnecessary practices would have been stopped years ago! And whilst I’m on the subject of intimate examinations, the Bi-Manual and Pelvic Examinations are useless at detecting disease, yet women are threatened, intimidated, and convinced to have them because they are told that they need this examination to remain healthy?

      The Bi-Manual Examination (insertion of two fingers into the vagina), is such a vile and disrespectful examination and a complete joke too… Please take a look at your fingers… now tell me which one of them is longer than the bills of a Vaginal Speculum? A Medium Cusco measures 4″ (101.6mm) and it takes all, or almost all of it just to view the cervix, so how do doctors think they can reach deep enough to feel (palpate) the Cervix to push and tilt the Uterus to determine disease?

      Pap/Smear tests are virtually pointless too. There are too many variables within Smear Samples, making the test prone to inaccurate results from the laboratory, along with the fact that the collection process causes damage to the cells on the surface of the cervix which can mutate and even cause the exact disease that the woman is attempting to prevent — Cancer!

      • 10029 – ADM (Canada)
      May 17, 2013 at 5:07 am
      It is very true that genetics do not determine our fate. We know through epigenetics that genes can be changed through interaction with the environment which includes diet. Just because someone has a genetic predisposition to an illness does not mean they are going to get that illness. Illness is caused by a complex interaction between the genetic predisposition and the environment. Certain foods are known to help in the prevention and cure of cancer including the cruciferous vegetable family. Broccoli contains several compounds that have been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers. Information about this is right on the American Cancer Society webpage. The ability to prevent or heal the body with the mind and attitude is still a controversial area but several studies have shown that it can be done. Dr Andrew Weil talks about this in his book Spontaneous Healing, and a new book is out called Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, M.D. We know the mind affects the body which is simply shown with thinking about eating a dill pickle and the mouth waters. Most illnesses have physical and mental expressions. This is seen with mental health problems such as depression where treatment of the mind relieves physical symptoms.

    • Blogger 8:28 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10030 – Mary
      May 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm
      I’d like to think curing cancer was as simple as diet and meditation. And yes cancer is supposed to feed off sugar (like all cells) but there are many people who turn to diet when they are diagnosed with cancer. Belinda Emmett, a soap star here who died of breast cancer at 32 had the money to be able to spend her whole time, 24/7, meditating, eating special foods spending all her energy fighting cancer and she still succumbed to it. I think that those who claim they cured their cancer from diet did not have an aggressive cancer in the first place, just as those who claim they were saved by a mammogram also had a slow growing cancer. Peter Goetzsche talks about a little known phenomenon of cancer spontaneously regressing. Why it does that we don’t know. But anyone who smugly claims they were cured of their cancer, whether by conventional means or complementary medicine were never destined to die from it in the first place because cancer is not one disease. There are at least four different types of breast cancer that we know of at the moment, for example.

      • 10031 – Diane (US)
      May 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm
      I agree 100% with Mary. I’ve known plenty of people with wonderful diets and outlooks on life who died of cancer or other diseases. One I can think of: a colleague at work who was a vegetarian who did yoga every day, was Buddhist, meditated and ran marathons…and died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. There’s always a complex interaction between environment, genetics and other mitigating factors. A positive outlook does help. However, IMHO, to say that someone could have cured their cancer or any other dread disease, or prevented it, through diet, exercise or their own mindset is a slap in the face to those who do everything in their power and still succumb to their illness. To pretend that genetics can’t predispose someone to an illness or condition is to wear blinders.

      • 10032 – ADM (Canada)
      May 18, 2013 at 6:45 am
      It’s not pretending that genetics can’t predispose someone to an illness. The word predisposition says exactly that. But the extensive study of genes has shown that just because someone has a predisposition does not mean they are 100% guaranteed to get that disease/condition. It is only a predisposition not a gurantee. For example it is know that with certain mental health problems that if a parent has a mental illness the risk factor for some illnesses is 40% which leaves another 60% that is environmental factors. In identical twin studies that are raised in the same home and those raised separately there are cases where one twin develops an disease/condition and the other doesn’t. Epigentics is scientific fact. I would argue that to dismiss the role of environment including diet is to also wear blinders.

      • 10033 – Mary
      May 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm
      Of course diet plays a role in diseases. You only have to look at heart disease. But I’d like to see the evidence that it cures cancer. I’m not going to believe somebody who wrote a book claiming they cured their cancer from their diet of Amazonian acai berries.

      • 10034 – Diane (US)
      May 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm
      But the extensive study of genes has shown that just because someone has a predisposition does not mean they are 100% guaranteed to get that disease/condition. It is only a predisposition not a gurantee.

      Nobody ever said genes are a GUARANTEE that someone will get cancer or another condition. And a lot of genes are double recessive, and if one only has one copy, one’s only a carrier. You see a lot of cases where one sibling is ill and the others aren’t.

      However, if you have a gene like BCRA, it certainly does up the risk level above that of the general population without the gene in question. There are case histories of families where each generation is in a different place/et al and they all come down with melanoma, or ovarian cancer, or what have you.

      And Mary, I agree with that completely. Saying diet has a role does not mean that diet can cure disease. Case in point, my colleague who just died, who had the best diet and physical activity level of any of us. Another case in point, Olympic athletes who come down with cancer. Having a great diet can help you but it can’t save you. There are all sorts of websites claiming everything from berries to silver can cure cancer…sorry, I don’t buy it.

    • Blogger 8:29 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10035 – Sue
      May 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm
      Oh Oh Oh this really turns my stomach – this following bit that Dr. Bernstein copied and pasted onto his blog recommending girls between the ages of 13-15 go in for a gyno consult, where:
      “An “external-only” genital examination can provide the health care provider with the opportunity to evaluate the patient for normal external genital anatomy, issues of personal hygiene, and abnormalities of the vulva, introitus, and perineum that might require further investigation. The external-only examination also provides the clinician with the opportunity to educate the patient on the range of normal female anatomy.”

      As Elizabeth has said, heavy handed tactics, an effort to get younger girls in, “grooming” them to distrust their own bodies and to cultivate the need for reassurance.

      Are boys also being encouraged to undergo visual inspection of their genitals? For normal external genital anatomy, issues of personal hygiene, and abnormalities of the penis and scrotum that might require further investigation?

      • 10036 – Jane (UK)
      May 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm
      Sue – it’s disturbing. If you can convince young teenage girls that it’s perfectly normal to get naked and spread their legs for a yearly exam and convince them that cancer is just waiting to get them if they don’t comply – then you’ve got customers for life.

      • 10037 – Chrissy (UK)
      May 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm
      Sue, this is really nauseating.

      What the hell is this fixation with female genitalia that they deem it necessary to visually inspect girls from 13 upward? The emotional damage this would cause to these vulnerable girls would surely eclipse any problems they might find. They obviously do not care how humiliating this type of exam is for a teenage girl – to have someone scrutinising their genitals is horrendous at that age.

      • 10038 – Mary
      May 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm
      I would like to know exactly what abnormalities they are looking for. So they want to check that young girls look normal but then tell them that normal is really a range. Gee they don’t mind messing with young girls minds do they? Of course they can probably see that this will lead to a boom in labiaplasties. Gotta make up for the drop in colonoscopies somehow.

      • 10039 – Alice (Australia)
      May 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm
      Exactly Mary! I would too like to know exactly why a 13 years old girl needs to be “evaluated for normal external genital anatomy”, and what exactly the doctors going to do if they find something not quite “normal” size or shape? Cut the girls genitals off “just in case”, or tell her that she must come back for regular check-ups every month?

      Whoever suggested this idiotic gyn exams for little girls must be sent to psychiatrists before they managed to any extensive damage to the children. Otherwise that will be us who will have to take our daughters, granddaughters, nieces or little sisters to a shrink after such “external genital examinations”.

    • Blogger 8:30 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10040 – Sue
      May 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm
      After reading your comments I feel better now. I love this site. It really is a form of statutory rape in my opinion. Medically sanctioned and socially accepted, but really what you have is an underage girl being coerced into showing her vagina to an older, strange, male. How traumatic that would be. Girls that age are so self-conscious of their budding bodies, and to have to strip and and spread their legs, then hold still with some stranger, most likely old male, up close and breathing onto her genitals, googly eyeballs drinking it all in . . . ewwww. Plus what happens if an “abnormality” is “suspected”? Will she then require an internal examination? Then she it all real risk of having her hymen ruptured via speculum. What a thrill that must be for some of them.

      • 10041 – Kleigh (US)
      May 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm
      There is this idea with doctors that woman do not know there own bodies. it is sexist what about the changes a male child goes thru? II guess they dont need inspection. this has to be about desincetising young girls to intamte exams. If some one did that to me when i was 13 I whould have felt melsted. the thing that gets me the most with this is how childern esp young girls are taught that if any one touches your privates call the police or tell an athurity figer. but its okay to do that to girls at the doctors office? I also read about a obgyn telling mothers that there daughters might wonder why they need to go to a doctor if they are not sick. and they were telling the moms that they needed to go for there sexuall health and that they can not trust there daughters bc they probly have sex in the school bathrooms. these pple are so despreate.

      • 10042 – Sue
      May 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm
      Oh, and I forgot to add they most likely are able to see the hymen being torn as the speculum is expanded, given there vantage point and the fact there is a bright light shining onto the girl’s vagina.

      • 10043 – Kleigh (US)
      May 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm
      There is this idea with doctors that woman do not know there own bodies. it is sexist what about the changes a male child goes thru? II guess they dont need inspection. this has to be about desincetising young girls to intamte exams. If some one did that to me when i was 13 I whould have felt melsted. the thing that gets me the most with this is how childern esp young girls are taught that if any one touches your privates call the police or tell an athurity figer. but its okay to do that to girls at the doctors office? I also read about a obgyn telling mothers that there daughters might wonder why they need to go to a doctor if they are not sick. and they were telling the moms that they needed to go for there sexuall health and that they can not trust there daughters bc they probly have sex in the school bathrooms. these pple are so despreate.

      • 10044 – Diane (US)
      May 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm
      The idea that young girls should be “visually inspected” is sickening. Absolutely sickening. And it absolutely does groom and condition them to believe that it is perfectly okay for the medical community to scrutinize their genitals.

      This actually happens in France already even to very young girls. In that case, they are apparently trying to make sure that girls from certain cultural/religious backgrounds are not being subjected to female genital mutilation. They check the girls and then arrest the parents if the girls have been mutilated.

      I’m not sure what to feel about that. Do you try to stop FGM and the violation of dignity and body that it entails by violating girls’ dignity in another way?

    • Blogger 8:30 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10045 – Kleigh (US)
      May 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm
      Leep is female genetal mutlation.

      • 10046 – Diane (US)
      May 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm
      I agree, Kleigh but with this FGM I’m talking about the ritual practice that still happens in a lot of cultures in Africa and Asia in particular. France is seeing a lot of immigrants from African and Middle Eastern nations who try to take their daughters home to do this. It’s a horrific practice that needs to stop, yesterday but this pattern of inspections http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18900803 does not seem to be a good way to do it and retain any bodily autonomy, privacy and respect for these girls.

      In France, mothers and babies attend specialist clinics up until the age of six.

      The genitalia of baby girls are routinely examined for signs of mutilation.

      Dr Amellou, who works in a clinic in a Paris suburb explains that after the age of six, responsibility is handed over to school medical teams.

      They continue to inspect girls, especially those coming from those high-risk ethnic groups.

      I point out that such a thing would be unacceptable in Britain.

      “What is your problem,” she asks? “Our interest is in protecting the child.”

      • 10047 – Elizabeth (Aust)
      May 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm
      The well-girl exam is child abuse, IMO…there is no clinical evidence to support routine genital inspections. The damage these exams will do is enormous, both physically and emotionally…if you look, you’ll find, will some of these girls end up having biopsies of “suspicious” lesions/marks found on the perineum etc?

      Diane, that’s horrible, it would be far better to find respected members of their community to educate & influence to stop this practice. I’m not sure I’d use threats of arrest and prosecution either (although that should happen) or they might not take their children to the doctor if they develop an infection or other health issue. (as a result of the cutting)

      Diane, yes, I’m sure Angelina Jolie got the best of advice and care. Not all women will be in that position though, especially those in the public system with no choice of surgeon. Women may be unhappy with the end result. I had a breast reduction in my late 30s and hand-picked an excellent reconstructive plastic surgeon, she was amazing and I was delighted with the end result.
      So getting the best advice and care is important. I know some high risk women take Tamoxifin and have regular MRIs, will they be influenced to do more or blame themselves for not taking that step if they get breast cancer?

      I don’t know, but I find the celebrity effect is almost always unhelpful. (and can lead to even more fear and harm) We had the Kylie effect which scared the life out of young women…this led to more calls from various sources, “make sure you check your breasts” or, “get screened”. (I know Nicole Kidman, after hearing about Kylie’s diagnosis, said we should, “tell our friends to get their mammograms”…)

      What screening? How does it help to urge young women to get screened or have their checks when CBEs, self-exams and mammograms are not recommended? It just causes worry and motivates some to find doctors who’ll do CBEs or send them for ultrasounds. My GP had a number of fearful young women greatly distressed when she refused to send them for mammograms. I’ll bet the number of young women having biopsies went up too, with more attempting self-examination or having CBEs/ultrasounds.

      We then had the Jade effect in the UK…young women scared to death about cervical cancer. (nothing new there) We shouldn’t even be testing women under 30 (and now I’d say we should only offer a pap test to women aged 30-60 who are HPV+) AND Jade Goody had an adenocarcinoma, usually missed by pap testing. (these very rare cases in young women tend to be an adenocarcinoma) So the Jade Goody effect meant more young women had pap tests…great, risk for no benefit. (risk from false negatives and false positives/over-treatment) I find it disgusting the way these programs use fear, misinformation and celebrities to sell screening.

      Hopefully, we won’t see a Jolie effect and this surgery remains fairly rare, performed only on well-informed and very high risk women. (fingers crossed)

      • 10048 – Mary
      May 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm
      There’s was a letter in the SMH today about the proposal of banning unvaccinated children from schools. A doctor wrote it and some of what he said was this:”It is simply unethical to coerce parents into agreeing to any medical procedure, including vaccination, for their child. Threatening removal of an essential service such as preschool and childcare is coercion.”
      I wonder if he is aware of coercion with the pill and pap smears.

      • 10049 – Alice (Australia)
      May 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm
      Kleigh, I totally agree: all those cervical punch and cone biopsies, LEEP, curettages and other “treatments” are female genital mutilations. And the medical community does nothing to make them less painful or avoid these tortures whenever possible!

      However, the World Health Organization conveniently defined female genital mutilations as “procedures of partial or total removal or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. Therefore, doctors are free to do to female organs whatever they like, no matter how painful or unnecessary that is. “Medical reasons” will cover it all.

    • Blogger 8:32 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10050 – OverItAll
      May 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm
      Mary: your comment on vaccines made me comment. My son had 4 seizures 2 hours after his 3m shots when he was 4m (we split them up). The ped said it was all in my head and told us we could either continue the shots or leave the office. I spent 3 months looking for a dr who wouldn’t push vax, found one, met him (a family dr) and he openly admitted to coercing parents into vaxing even when it was against their religion. He said he’d wait till my son saw a NEUROLOGIST to discuss vax. Yep, my now-7m baby is having a bunch of tests done (mainly for epilepsy). I’ve been putting together a paper on vax, why I’m not doing them, health andreligious reasons. I should also add that ever since the seizures, he violently shakes his head day or night for absolutely no reason. Oh and the whole “vax or get out” goes against EVERY health org’s guidelines, even the apa or aap whatever it is says to continue seeing the child, a sort of “don’t blame the kid” thing. I’m not at all a religious person, but please keep my son in your thoughts. He goes in May 30, hopefully just for bloodwork and maybe an eeg.

      • 10051 – Mary
      May 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm
      I don’t understand your comment on my comment. I was just saying that I am amazed that a doctor can see coercion when it comes to vaccination but probably can’t see it when it comes to the pill and pap smears. You are well within your rights to do what you believe is best for your son. I did not say everyone has to be vaccinated at all. That is the theme of this blog isn’t it, that we do our own research and take responsibility for ourselves and our children and do what we believe is best for us and our children? So I fully support your decision not to immunise your son. I wish your son well.

      • 10052 – OverItAll
      May 22, 2013 at 2:28 am
      Let me clear it up. You were saying how dr’s coerce women into smears (“no smear get out”, “no smear no bc”) and I was explaining that the same goes for vaccines (“no shot, get out”). And just because they acknowledge it’s coercion towards shots doesn’t mean they don’t know it’s the same for paps.

      Doctors will use every trick in the book to get everything their way. I’m also all for informed decisions on ALL medical interventions. However, if you’ve had a bad reaction, dr’s shouldn’t try to force them on you.

      Sorry for the confusion, lack of sleep and cold medicine (going on day 4 of cold and my homeo’s aren’t working).

      And absolutely. This site s ALL about getting correct info to make an Informed Decision, that’s why we keep coming back!!

      • 10053 – Torrance * Connecticut, U.S.A.
      May 22, 2013 at 7:37 am
      Here in The United States, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to enroll a child in school; they MUST be vaccinated and it is preposterous. I know I was okay until I was vaccinated; was very ill afterward. Naturally, this just meant my mother could bring me to even more doctors (never diagnosed wit Munchausen-By-Proxy, but she MUST have had it). I’d toyed with enrolling in a computer class at a nearby college and their enrollment application said that adults must provide documentation that they are up-to-date with vaccinations, and I refused, so I couldn’t even think to enroll. These vaccinations are powerful upon immune systems which aren’t even formed, yet they are chronically demanded upon babies and youngsters/toddlers. I have NEVER seen ANY doctor refuse to do vaccinations; appointments are made and young parents are expected to adhere to vaccinating their children; regardless of the severe consequences which many babies wind up with. Over It All, I hope your son gets better soon.

      • 10054 – Kleigh (US)
      May 22, 2013 at 9:00 am
      Torrance, back in the erly 80s my mother was low income and never took my brother for any shots. at about 4 my brother came to live with are grandparents and they took him to a peditrtion and my grand mother said he told them that they had to get him up to date on all shots bc cps whould take him away for child neglect. She said that he keep giving my brother sevrel shots at a time and it scared her because he whould come home each time after a round of vaccens and get a fever and sleep for almost two days. it was like it knoked him out. she thought it was to much at one time. Now i hear more parents are refusing and they can clam it is aganst there belifs. the power doctors are given is very scary.

    • Blogger 8:32 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10055 – Kleigh (US)
      May 22, 2013 at 9:04 am
      also not leting woman and girls in school if they do not get the hpv jab is sexist. Hpv is not spreed thru the air. it does not afect others at a school and i dont see how they could back that one up.

      • 10056 – Torrance * Connecticut, U.S.A.
      May 22, 2013 at 9:07 am
      Kleigh, I just looked up the requirements and the chart is beyond scary. There are NO exemptions. I agree about power-crazy bureaucrats thinking they can remove children, citing “neglect”, when these vaccines are too strong and are “required”. I DREAD Obama’s bizarre health legislation demanding all citizens must be vaccinated or else they are fined; where will this nonsense stop? Children are not allowed to make their own decisions, depend upon their parents to do what’s right, yet how many are okay prior to being vaccinated, and autistic once those foreign substances are injected into their bodies? Some kids are forever ruined when they were fine BEFORE they were vaccinated. It is a life sentence for the kids and their parents and NOBODY is verifying these vaccines are dangerous; probably because they fear a class action lawsuit. Same with all this pap smear nonsense. It has harmed countless woman, yet women are herded into testing and very few balk at it. It is disturbing on all levels.

      • 10057 – Diane (US)
      May 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm
      The link between vaccinations and autism have long been discredited. The original study was retracted by the Lancet after it was revealed the doctor had fabricated some of his data and had been working with a lawyer who wanted to sue the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine.

      In addition Thiomersal – mercury – has not been in human vaccines since the 1990s.

      It’s been pointed out that two of the reasons rates of autism are going up are a) because there now is recognition of a behavioral and cognitive spectrum, whereas children who were deemed autistic in the 1950s – onward were usually those who had a very narrow set of attributes, including cognitive difficulties. Parents are also seeking intervention. It’s also been noted that even before vaccines were widespread, a lot of autistic kids seem to be fine until they are two or three, and then slide back into increasingly more “autistic” behavior.

      And the autism link has also been discredited by numerous peer-reviewed studies. Unlike paps, vaccines are NOT big money for doctors.

      I agree that there are too many vaccines on the schedule – but the fact is that we are seeing recurrences of diseases that had nearly been eradicated, like measles and whooping cough, because of people who are not vaccinating their kids. That becomes a public health risk after a while. The whole idea of herd immunity is that if the herd is immunized, the ones who cannot be vaccinated due to health concerns such as seizures can be protected.

      • 10058 – Diane (US)
      May 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm
      I guess I feel that the parallel is a little different.

      The pap/gyn industry is fueled on hysteria and fear. The tiny number of women who get gyn cancers, plus money, fuel this hysteria that tries to make all women feel that they are ticking time bombs of cancer and MUST have these tests to stay safe.

      With anti-vax, I feel it’s the tiny number of kids who do have adverse reactions fuel hysteria that keeps parents from vaccinating their kids. Can your kid react to a vax? Sure, the same as they can react to the peanuts in the snack you make them for lunch or the aspirin you give them for their headache. Is it likely to happen? No. And is the risk of polio, measles or diphtheria more pressing to address? IMHO yes. Getting the healthy kids vaxed means that kids like Over It All’s child – who has a legit reaction – will still stay safe due to herd immunity.

      • 10059 – Alice (Ausralia)
      May 23, 2013 at 2:36 am
      Here is a very empowering and interesting document Policy protocols and procedures manual for authorised Pap smear providers (PDF)http://www.health.qld.gov.au/cervicalscreening/documents/33558_a.pdf . It is especially relevant to Queensland, Australia.

      Some quotes from it:

      About informed consent.

      As with any procedure, Pap Smear Providers must obtain informed consent from the woman before the procedure is commenced and throughout the procedure.

      There are five components to consent:

      1. the client must understand the nature of their condition

      2. they must understand the nature of the proposed treatment or procedure

      3. they must be aware of possible alternative courses of action

      4. they must be acquainted with the risks of both the proposed and alternate courses of action

      5. they must be informed of the chances of success or failure of the proposed and alternative procedures.

      Therefore when women are asked to consent to a Pap smear, the above principles should be adhered to.

      It is important that women know that the Pap smear is a screening test and not diagnostic, and that there is the possibility of a false negative and a false positive result.

      Special communication strategies may be necessary to ensure that women with special needs (i.e. women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, or women with intellectual disabilities) fully understand the procedure and are capable of giving informed consent.

      Heath care providers (including PSPs) have a duty of care in diagnosing, treating and advising clients about the risk and consequences of treatment.

      About Pap smear registers and the opt-off procedure from this government-induced privacy infringement.

      Pap Smear Provider Responsibilities

      It is the Pap Smear Provider’s responsibility under the Public Health Act 2005 to inform each woman having a Pap smear, histology or HPV DNA test about the PSR. This includes:

      – the existence and purpose of the Register

      – the identifying and clinical information about the woman that may be recorded in the Register

      – that the woman may elect to ‘opt off’ from having her identifying and clinical information automatically included in the Register.

      If a woman indicates to the Provider she chooses to ‘opt off’ the PSR, the Provider will attach a “Not for Pap Smear Register” sticker on the pathology request form. If the provider does not have “Not for PSR” stickers, these words must be written clearly on the Pathology request form.

      It is important to note that if a request form has an ‘opt off’ sticker or notification on it, the PSR will not be sent any information about the woman. For this reason, women need to be asked by the Provider each time they have a Pap smear or related test about ‘opt off’, especially if they have done so previously, or their results will automatically be sent to the PSR and the woman will be sent a ‘Welcome letter’.

      So, on paper everything looks great: informed consent is acknowledged, downside of pap screening discussed, opt-off from Pap smear registers offered…

      In reality however, things are very different: real informed consent is non-existent, flaws of cancer screening are hushed up, not a peep about cervical cytology registers, let alone about opting out of them.

      By the way, if you live in Australia and want to stop pap smear reminder letters, you should remove your details from the pap smear register operating in your state or territory. By law, they must honour your request to delete all your data from their database. For example, here is the removal request form for Queensland (PDF). http://www.health.qld.gov.au/cervicalscreening/documents/31829.pdf

    • Blogger 8:34 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • 10060 – Alice (Australia)
      May 24, 2013 at 7:17 am
      And this is how the pap smear register opt-off right is honoured by QML Pathology Laboratory, the largest laboratory in Queensland:

      Some time ago a friend of mine gave in to the widespread cervical cancer scare campaign and agreed to do a screening test. She deeply regrets it now, but 2 weeks ago she did agree to have a pap smear on two strict conditions:
      1. None of her details or test results will be forwarded to Queensland Pap Smear Register.
      2. She will get a copy of the test results.

      Her doctor was very supporting and did everything that was necessary to meet the conditions. The doctor wrote the following on the pathology request form:
      “Copy to patient” and “Not for PSR”.
      Both lines are standard requirements for giving a copy to the patient and for opting off the pap smear register. Both lines were written in HUGE letters twice on the form, to be 100% sure.

      What did QML do?
      They and their sub-contracted lab managed to miss both requests.

      My friend has been stressing out, checking her letter box every day, but instead of her results she got a letter from Qld government congratulating her that her results have been forwarded to the register and are now public property. She, however, still doesn’t know the results of her test, still worrying. And the sad thing is that some paper-shufflers in the register already have already got her results and even sent her a “welcome” letter. Clearly, the medical system thinks that a silly register is more important than the patient. And the lab was careless enough to forget about the opt-off request.

      Because it became apparent that her test results are ready, she called the lab today, and they said that nothing has been sent to her. They didn’t notice the “copy to patient” request either.

      Ironically, QML’s website states that “your request form is a legal document” when it comes to telling the patients that they must not add anything to the form. But how about threating that legal document seriously in the lab? What a degree of negligence should a laboratory have to ignore both requests written in that “legal document” twice, in big letters?

      The outcome so far:
      – infringement of privacy
      – double negligence
      – breach of the Privacy Act 1988
      – breach of the Public Health Act 2005
      – a stressed and worrying person who now also has to deal with the register to remove her details from there (provided the details can actually be removed completely).

      And this is all for a test that may lead to even greater damage!

      • 10061 – Alice (Australia)
      May 24, 2013 at 7:39 am
      And this is a fraction of the debate in NSW parliament about the opt-in vs opt-off systems and respect for the patient’s choice, which surprisingly happened as far back as 17 years ago:

      Second Reading

      Debate resumed from 17 April 1996.

      The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI [3.25]: The Public Health Amendment Bill results from a commitment by the Carr Labor Government, through the personage of the Hon. Andrew Refshauge, Minister for Health, to change the way in which the pap smear register in this State operates. When in government I and then Minister for Health Ron Phillips determined, through public consultation, to have what is known in industry jargon as an opt-on register. Such a register gives people a choice to be placed on a register or within a reminder process regarding pap smears. Those who become part of the process have the benefits of the program – in this case pap smears but in other cases the benefits of an immunisation register and/or the immunisation process.

      This might seem small beer to many honourable members, but the opt-on process is important. I tell the House and the Minister that I have always been in favour of the opt-on process. However, many of my medical colleagues, especially general practitioners, including my wife, found that the responsibility for obtaining the consent of patients for their names to be on the register was taking up an inordinate amount of time in their rooms. The Cancer Council had placed with the general practitioner responsibility for ensuring that that consent was obtained. In other words, although the Cancer Council owned the register and had been given by the New South Wales Minister the task of running the registry and reminder process, it was left to the general practitioner to explain to the patients the whole of the process and the need for consent.

      I advised the former Minister for Health, Ron Phillips, of ways to fix this problem. The Cancer Council was responsible for obtaining the consents, not the general practitioner. The practitioner had enough trouble explaining the pap smear procedure to a patient, ensuring delivery of the sample and filling out the necessary forms to ensure that the registry records were accurate, without having to explain what the registry was all about, that it was something of an invasion of privacy and that the patients would be receiving letters from the Cancer Council. The Government and the present Minister, instead of making sure that responsibility for obtaining consent rested with the New South Wales Cancer Council, took the easy way out and decided on an opt-off register. It is incumbent on a general practitioner to send a pap smear test to the Cancer Council. If a woman does not want to be part of the register and get the letters of reminder and the benefits – and I use the word “benefits” advisedly – she has to write to the Cancer Council explaining that she does not want to be part of the register and wants to opt off the program. The general practitioner then has to explain to her what it means to opt off.

      The Hon. R. D. Dyer: That would depress participation rates, surely.

      The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: The Minister for Community Services has hit the nail on the head. Like many things that the Left of the Labor Party does – and the Minister for Community Services would know more about this than many – this action is being taken in the interests of the person concerned. In other words, Dr Refshauge, in a patronising way –

      The Hon. R. D. Dyer: You’re not calling me a Left member, are you?

      The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: No, I am not talking about the Minister, but he knows how the Left behaves. The Hon. Franca Arena also knows how the Left acts. The Left of the Labor Party considers that it is always in the best interests of the public to do what the Left tells it to do. The Left considers that it knows what is best for the public; the public would be better off if only it would do what the Left asked it to do. That is what the Left does all the time. The Minister for Community Services would have heard such sentiments expressed time and time again. Is that not right? …

      The Hon. Andrew Refshauge, in the interests of women, took what he thought would be the easy option to get participation rates up. He said that women were too bloody stupid to do it themselves, that they would not remember to go for tests, that they would not take any interest, and that they would not opt on.

    • forwomenseyesonly 6:11 am on March 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The theme for this blog was recently changed in order to make it similar in appearance to the old Blogcritics site. The comments appear on the main page now, without having to click on the post beforehand. Let me know what you think, it would be easy to change it back again.

    • victorinathorto.wordpress.com 8:48 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

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    • June Gardner 2:25 am on January 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply


      I regret from the depth of my soul not getting a recording of that butcher bullying, threatening, deliberately misleading, lying and misinforming me. Of course a hidden camera would have been better as everyone could see the hatred and contempt on his face from the moment I said I had no pain, no bleeding, no symptoms whatsoever and pleaded for another option and how he started yelling in anger that I had no other option and threatened me with chemotherapy if I didn’t go in in 2 days he said twice..

    • exposingassualt 6:25 am on January 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I was physically forced into having one done when I was still a virgin at only 14 years of age. is this not completely illegal? I wonder if anyone else had this happen?

    • FrankCup 9:46 am on March 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      *Update: The lost comments have been found and are being republished on Unnecessary Pap Smears WordPress (linked below)

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      If its not too much trouble individuals we should help Joaquin Phoenix win the Oscar Kijk maar Doctor Sleep Gratis online (@DoctorSleep_nl) | Twitter

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