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Unnecessary Pap Smears

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The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association contains an article whose headline is:

Cervical Cancer Screening Among Women Without a Cervix

How can this be?

In almost all hysterectomies, the cervix – which anatomically is part of the uterus – is removed along with the rest of the uterus.

Likewise, most hysterectomies are performed for benign disease, not cervical cancer.

In 1996, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated that routine Pap smear screening is unnecessary for such women.

The JAMA study found that:

22 million U.S. women 18 and older have undergone hysterectomy (21% of that population)

In 1992 (before the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation) 68.5% of women who had undergone hysterctomy reported having a Pap smear in the previous 3 years

In 2002 (six years after the recommendation) 69.1% had a Pap smear during the same period

The authors of the study estimate that almost 10 million women – half of all women who have undergone hysterectomy – are being screened unnecessarily, as they are not at risk of cervical cancer.

Amazing to me.

If you’re one of these 10 million women, perhaps you should ask your doctor why you continue to have Pap smears done.

It’s intrusive, costly, and can only lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate intervention.

Besides which, it’s an example of your doctor’s ignorance and general incompetence, not to mention fraudulent.

On a related subject, do you know the incidence of cervical cancer in nuns?

It’s 0.

Which is why a girl who’s not on the pill and is a virgin does not need to undergo a gynecological exam or Pap smear – ever.

I challenge any physician to show me a good reason why this isn’t so.

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