Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-23-04

Unnecessary Pap Smears Administered to 10 Million Women

Approximately 10 million American women who have had hysterectomies are unnecessarily receiving Pap smears, a new study has revealed. The Pap test, which screens for precancerous cells on a woman’s cervix, is needlessly administered to some 69 percent of women who have had their cervixes removed during the hysterectomy operation. Without a cervix, a woman is no longer at risk for cervical cancer. Twenty-two million American women, or one in five women over the age of 18 have had hysterectomies, according to the News-Medical.Net. Researchers caution that women who have had hysterectomies because of cancer or women whose hysterectomies did not include cervix removal are still at risk for cancer and ought to be screened, according to Reuters.

The continued administration of the test for some women means unnecessary cost and discomfort. A test generally costs between $20 to $40, researcher Brenda Sirovich estimated, and involves the uncomfortable procedure of scraping cells from the cervix. If a woman’s cervix has been removed, a doctor will typically scrape vaginal cells, a procedure that researchers call problematic. Vaginal cancer is extremely rare and false positives are fairly high. The unnecessary test can result, therefore, in cancer treatment for a cancer that is not even there, according to the New York Times.

Researchers are puzzled as to why doctors have so doggedly continued to administer the unnecessary exam. In 1996, the US Preventive Services Task Force clarified that the test was no longer necessary for women who have had hysterectomies. The research team claims that “physicians are largely responsible” for the continued testing, but also attributes the testing to screening benchmarks set up by insurance companies or to women’s own demands for the test, according to The Washington Times. Researchers speculate that women who have had hysterectomies may not be aware that they are no longer at risk for cervical cancer, or that they may have been caught up in the enthusiasm for cancer screenings.

DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation and support our work for women’s health

Media Resources: New York Times 6/11/04; NewsMedical.net 6/22/04; The Washington Times 6/23/04; Reuters 6/22/04


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

1/27/2016 Study Exposes 'Gender Gap' in Media Coverage of Reproductive Issues - A new study by the Women's Media Center has revealed more than half of news stories focusing on reproductive issues are written by men. According to WMC Media Watch: the Gender Gap in Coverage of Reproductive Issues, men penned 52 percent of bylines discussing issues of reproductive health care - including contraception and abortion - compared to just 37 percent by women. . . .
 
1/27/2016 Taiwan Elects First Woman President - In a landslide victory, the leader of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen won the country's presidential election, becoming the first woman in Taiwan's history to hold the position. Emphasizing her party's commitment to maintaining Taiwan's independence from China, Tsai won over young voters eager to usher in a political changing of the guard following some 70 years of dominance by the pro-Chinese unification party, the Kuomintang (KMT), chaired by presidential opponent Eric Chu. . . .
 
1/26/2016 Anti-Abortion Extremists Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos Indicted - Two anti-abortion extremists responsible for last year's misleading videos attacking Planned Parenthood have been indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury in Houston, Texas. On Monday, Harris County district attorney Devon Anderson announced that David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) - the group behind deceptive videos falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue - was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and on a misdemeanor charge related to the purchasing of human organs. . . .