In a stunning turn of events, the Federal Government has decided that women are getting too darn many pap smears:
Many women will need to get Pap smears only every five years under new national guidelines released this month.
“We’re going to be able to identify a subset of women that we can put at ease,” said Dr. Rosanna Gray-Swain, a obstetrician/gynecologist with BJC HealthCare. “If they have normal Pap smears and are negative for (human papillomavirus) … they have essentially zero chance of developing cervical cancer in five years.”
Essentially zero is not equal to zero. Following these guidelines, a small number of women will develop cervical cancer that could have been caught by more frequent pap smears. To the United States government, these are acceptable losses.
This new recommendation to cut testing that would catch cancer earlier mirrors the 2009 guideline that also recommended fewer mammograms which would mean breast cancer would go undetected longer in some women.
One wonders why we don’t hear about the United States Preventive Services Task Force’s War on Women, since its governmental actions put women at greater risk of advanced cancer and death.
Contrast this with the Republican “war on women” which thinks men and women should pay for their own contraception and abortifacients or insurance plan that covers them.
(Fun fact: Abortifacients in animal breeding are called mismating shots. How would it frame the debate if we used that term instead of the scientific and rational sounding “abortifacient”?)