New Pap Screening Guidelines Atrocious!
Written by Andrea Maxim, Naturopathic Doctor
The Canadian government is making budget cuts left, right and centre and now our health is being put at risk. The whole reason for having a healthcare system in place in Canada should be to protect the public but with the latest guidelines set forth by the CMAJ in January of this year (http://www.cmaj.ca/content/185/1/35) are putting our daughters, friends and loved ones at serious risk of an otherwise easily preventable disease.
The Old Pap Screening Guidelines:
The old guideline to cervical cancer screening (Pap screening) was once a year, especially if a woman was on the birth control pill. Why “especially if you are on the pill” because oral contraceptives deplete your body of B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium and zinc (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6481708); (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7001015). These vitamins are key to proper cellular division and immunity and without them can cause cells to replicate poorly leading to abnormal cells and thus an “abnormal Pap” as a result.
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The New Pap Screening Guidelines:
This year, the CMAJ released a new publication stating that “women younger than 20 years of age, we recommend not routinely screening for cervical cancer.” Further stating that there was no evidence supporting the need for routine Pap exams to prevent cervical cancer as women of this age group rarely developed cervical cancer. Women 30-69 years also fall under this category because the risk of developing cervical cancer decreases with age.
The CMAJ later states that “In Canada, 9.8% of women aged 20–29 years had abnormal test results.“ and “a high-grade lesion was found in 1.5% of women aged 20–29 years” based on a population of 100,000 women. Yet, the CMAJ still recommends these women still get screened every 3 years. However, if these woman wants to be more proactive, then she can discuss getting annual Pap screenings done with her medical doctor.
My Opinion on the New Pap Screening Guidelines:
Oral contraceptives are being prescribed to girls as young as 15 years old for concerns related to skin or menstrual regularity, not as a prophylactic. Without the proper nutritional advice, these girls are putting their health at risk at an earlier age than proposed by the CMAJ. The number of girls I see in my practice already suffering from hormone related issues and automatically put on the birth control pill is astounding, and certainly not the answer but the best answer the conventional doctors have at this time.
I myself was on the birth control pill chronically for 10 years and had normal Paps every year until I had my first abnormal Pap screen. Six months later, another abnormal Pap screen. Six months later, a visit to the colposocopy clinic to discover the cells were one stage before carcinoma in situ. Had I waited 3 years to discover that, it could have been too late. I immediately went off the birth control pill, loaded up on oral and suppository supplements and licked it before it progressed, as well as undergoing an out-patient surgical visit with the gynecologist.
The idea that women under the age of 25 years do not require regular screening is absolutely ludicrous and women between 25-30 should definitely be getting screened every year. As a woman, I understand how uncomfortable the Pap can be, but if 5min of discomfort will save you a lifetime being cancer-free then I say suck it up chickie and get it done! Why wait to have a diagnosis when you can prevent the diagnosis from occurring in the first place?
My advice, pay for the test out of your own pocket and if your medical doctor wont do it (and remember, it is not necessarily up to them as they are governed by the government), find another doctor or a naturopathic clinic that will. It is not worth the risk to save a couple bucks.
Andrea Maxim, ND – Creator of the MAXIM MOVEMENT