* * Anonymous Doc

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"I'm looking at your records and it doesn't look like you've ever had a pap smear. You're of the age we really ought to make sure everything's okay. Would you like to schedule that for next time?"

"That is a test of the anus?"

"No. The other side."

"The breast?"

"No. The vagina."

"Oh. And you do what there?"

"We take a sample of cells from the area around the cervix and make sure everything looks okay."

"No thank you."

"No, I didn't mean now. I meant we'll do it next time."

"No. We won't. I'm going to leave now."


  1. Ignorance is NOT bliss, it's hpv and cervical cancer :(

  2. This post bothers me; as a woman I can understand someone not wanting a PAP smear.

    I'm going to make a few guesses here: one that you're not a woman, and two that this occurred at the clinic. And as a Doctor you may not like what I have to say, but it's her choice.

    She may have had a bad experience with a previous Doctor; she may be a survivor of rape or sexual assault or abuse; she may be transgendered; she may simply be terrified of the exam or...

    Hopefully you get my point. If she comes back for a follow up, try bringing up the subject not as a you must take this test but from the perspective of concern. Or if there are women Doctors or Clinicians sometimes having a woman broach the subject can be easier. And if she doesn't come back, a letter talking about why she should consider getting a PAP done along with options (male vs. female doctors, other clinics, etc) and potential results (including the HPV vaccination to minimize future risk if she's eligible) would be somewhere to start.