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Women and the Medical Industry

post #1 of 302
Thread Starter 
After reading many posts and threads I am just astounded at the amount of women who get routine yearly exams.
Vaginal exam - if my vagina just up and disappeared, I think I would notice or my partner would.
Pap smears - more dangerous than beneficial. Now, if I had a family history of cervical cancer, then, yes, I could see it being beneficial.
Breast exams - a doctor feeling my breast is not going to know a new lump from an old lump.
Pelvic exams-okay one is enough. As long as you haven't been in an accident or had some illness that caused your pelvis to change, one is enough.
Cervical checks during pregnancy-again, invasive and more dangerous than beneficial.
STD's-can be checked through urine or bloodwork.

Why is it okay for men to know their bodies, but not women?
Men don't have yearly penis exams. If a man has a lump or growth he will most likely go in and get help.

I could go on and on. It just seems that the medical industry is more interested in making money than actually healing or curing.
Anyone else feel like human beings especially females are denied the right to trust themselves and their bodies?
post #2 of 302
Hey MamaInTheBoonies!
I have a question for you...and this is seriously me just wanting to learn. I am very interested in why pap smears, pelvics and cervical checks can be more harmful than good. Maybe this is something I'm just really ignorant about : but as a woman who has a routine yearly, I'm very very interested to know if my decision to do that is actually more detrimental to my health than if I chose not to have it done.
Thanks for any info.
Blessings.
post #3 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nntalamu
Hey MamaInTheBoonies!
I have a question for you...and this is seriously me just wanting to learn. I am very interested in why pap smears, pelvics and cervical checks can be more harmful than good. Maybe this is something I'm just really ignorant about : but as a woman who has a routine yearly, I'm very very interested to know if my decision to do that is actually more detrimental to my health than if I chose not to have it done.
Thanks for any info.
Blessings.
It puts you at risk for infection. Also, the tools used are not always sterile. Having friends who work in the medical industry: after the exam the tools are removed and placed in a steamer and then repackaged. They are not tested to see if there are any germs or what not still on them. ie-resistant bacteria that is not killed by the steamers.

One of my many stories-I was in a doctor's office. I refused to let him check my cervix. I told him I would check it myself. He said it was dangerous. I asked. "Why would it be dangerous? I would think it would be more dangerous to have some stranger feeling my cervix, than it would for myself, who knows what to feel for and knows my cervix."
That really blew him out of the water. He agreed.

It would be the same as having someone else clean your ears. They don't know where exactly your eardrum is, while you would know and would not push something deeper inside your ear that would cause it to be damaged, kwim?
post #4 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
Why is it okay for men to know their bodies, but not women? Men don't have yearly penis exams. If a man has a lump or growth he will most likely go in and get help.
You make a good point. I'm going to see if my dh is interested in a "penis exam" :LOL (just the very mention of it is laughable, yet "vaginal exam" is not... interesting)

My non-cynical answer: Maybe because penile cancer is so very rare, but breast and cervical cancer are more common? I mean, prostate cancer is common in men and men of a certain age are recommended to get that checked regularly as well.

My cynical answer: the yearly checks are money makers and ways of conditioning women to NOT trust their bodies so when it comes time for pregnancy and birth, they will submit willingly to any test and/or procedure you can think of.
post #5 of 302
Quote:
Anyone else feel like human beings especially females are denied the right to trust themselves and their bodies?
no I don't. my cousin has had two different types of reproductive cancers, too bad her instincts weren't capable of diagnosing cancer before it spread to the point of her losing much of her vulva and her uterus and ovaries.
post #6 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna
no I don't. my cousin has had two different types of reproductive cancers, too bad her instincts weren't capable of diagnosing cancer before it spread to the point of her losing much of her vulva and her uterus and ovaries.
Arduinna

I am not just thinking about instincts, but the right to be educated and not ashamed to feel your own breasts, vulva, vagina, cervix, etc.

It seems like men are allowed to do so, but females are shamed about it, kwim?
post #7 of 302
No one stops us from being educated, there are tons of resources available and even Our Bodies Ourselves is in most every bookstore and library. I read my medical charts and get copies of all my test results from my Drs. I don't feel shame from any of my body parts. I'm not sure why shame is being attached to having a Dr run tests for preventative care. Having a pap for early detection of cervical cancer is the same as me having a CT scan to make sure my hodgkins disease hasn't returned.
post #8 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna
Having a pap for early detection of cervical cancer is the same as me having a CT scan to make sure my hodgkins disease hasn't returned.
I disagree. Many women have no family history of cervical cancer, so then the Pap Smear becomes more dangerous than beneficial.
post #9 of 302
cervical cancer like most cancers is not related to family history. even in cases where there is family history like breast cancer the vast majority of cases are from people with no family history and most people with a family history do not get breast cancer for example.
post #10 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKK
My non-cynical answer: Maybe because penile cancer is so very rare, but breast and cervical cancer are more common? I mean, prostate cancer is common in men and men of a certain age are recommended to get that checked regularly as well.
I also think this is just another money maker. A male who knows his body is going to know if something is wrong. A doctor checking a prostate for the first time is not going to know if it is normal sized or not. By the time the prostate is huge and swollen, the man is usually in pain. Now if there is a family history of protate cancer than he should be checked and make sure it is the same person checking each time, even if it's just his partner and not a doctor, kwim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SKK
My cynical answer: the yearly checks are money makers and ways of conditioning women to NOT trust their bodies so when it comes time for pregnancy and birth, they will submit willingly to any test and/or procedure you can think of.
:
post #11 of 302
Quote:
A doctor checking a prostate for the first time is not going to know if it is normal sized or not.
please quote your source for this assertion.
post #12 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna
please quote your source for this assertion.
Common sense. A person who has never felt your prostate before is not going to be able to detect any changes.
The Prostate Specific Antigen test is much less invasive and a more accurate way of determining if you are at risk or need further testing, ie-a biopsy.
post #13 of 302
I honestly don't see a problem with having an annual GYN exam and PAP smear. How is having a pelvic exam any more dangerous than having sex? OK, the PAP smear is unpleasant but I can deal with it.

True, I'm likely to find any lumps in my breasts before the dr would, but I don't see any harm in having him check them once a year. It's not painful and it doesn't bother me. Now, when he tells me I "need" a routine mammogram, I'll decline!!

I don't see how going to the GYN once a year detracts from me knowing my own body.
post #14 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
I don't see how going to the GYN once a year detracts from me knowing my own body.
Totally true, unless a person only relies on what the doctor tells them to the exclusion of knowing their own body, i.e., "if my doctor told me, that's all I need to know!"

Also, notwithstanding my "cynical answer" in my pp, I would probably not like to go too long without a pap test. Even through touching one's own cervix, you can't detect abnormal cells, and by the time something were detectable by touch, it'd probably be too late.
post #15 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
I don't see how going to the GYN once a year detracts from me knowing my own body.
It detracts from other women who do know their body and want to decline invasive procedures.
Just like women who make planned cesareans. It is now harder for those of us who want a vaginal birth or VBAC.
I also think it is a waste of money that could be used to find cures for cancer, HIV, AIDS, Hep C, Leukemia, etc. Or money that could be used to help treat a terminally ill child/adult.
post #16 of 302
Thread Starter 
I am not just thinking of the individual but the impact on the whole.
post #17 of 302
only 30% of patients with breast cancer have a family history.

I began having atypical pap smears at age 18. cervical cancer can be caused by a strain of HPV that is extremely common. near 99% of women with abnormal pap smears are positive for this strain of HPV which is nearly always otherwise symptomless. This is a virus any sexually active woman can become infected with, even using protection.

I am interested in your "friends who work in the medical industry". Both of my parents are physicians, including my mother, a pediatrician who has performed internal exams on female patients. All tools are either disposable and disposed after one use or are sterilized. Your friends work for someone who needs to be reported for malpractice. Please reconsider your position. Encouraging women NOT to get checked up once in a while is not empowering them to take care of themselves. Had I not done it, I could have cancer right now.
post #18 of 302
OK, the 'specifics' aside, I totally see the point here. I mean, men are encouraged to know their 'equipment', women taught it is dirty. When's the last time you saw penile deodorizing swabs? What is the take-away lesson here? Seriously...don't touch, right? It's dirty...let the professional take a look every year and make sure you're OK, because you shouldn't be touching down there.
post #19 of 302
I go for my yearly exam because in high school a friend's mom thought along the same lines as you and died from undetected cervical cancer. He has never forgiven his mom for not taking the time to do something so simple and something that may very well have saved her life. Early detection is key and I don't have the slides, microscope or lab gear to run my own tests. The thing is, byt the time you feel any abnormalities the cancer has been growing for a good chunk of time. Yeah, I could feel my own cervix, but unless the cancer's been growing for a year or so I won't feel anything different - it takes a while for a bump/lump to form. The pap can detect before then and early detection is key in surviving.

At the clinic my Dr. works out of all the pap equipment is one time use. Everything is in it's own sealed package, is opened in front of you and then used. There's no sterilizing after use it's just pitched into the garbage (there are enviro issues with this, for sure, but not health/infection ones).

I don't feel like I don't trust my body or know about it at all. I've been getting updated versions of Our Bodies, Our Selves since I was a teen. I feel that an annual exam is a way of respecting my body and ensuring it's long life.

And a lot of men I know do get regular exams to rule out or ensure early detection of colon cancer. They don't trust their bodies any less than I do, and that exam reinforces just how easy a pap is for most women.

Thing is the majority of people fighting cancer of all kinds have no family history that puts them in a high risk category. Having a family history of, for example, breast cancer only increases your risk but does not guarantee developing the disease. And having no family history doesn't guarantee a cancer free life. So much more dictates that and more Drs feel the rise in cancers is environmental and not genetic pre-disposition.

I just don't want DS to grow up without me when a simple exam once a year could have prevented that. Still not a guarantee, but it increases the chances of that not happening, and that's worth it for me.
post #20 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
Encouraging women NOT to get checked up once in a while is not empowering them to take care of themselves. Had I not done it, I could have cancer right now.
How do you think it helped you to not have cancer right now?
Why do you think having a yearly exam is empowering for women?
Is it empowering for men, also?
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