Holy smokes is Ireland in the dark ages when it comes to Pap Smears! Check out today's article about how there's going to be a "new system" for getting them. I was going to say for getting "annual exams" because that's what we call them in America. That's right, it's so common for women to get pap smears and full gynecological exams as soon as they become sexually active and/or reach the age of 18 every single year that's it's simply called an "annual." As in, "I have an appointment with my gyn on Wednesday for my annual," which is universally understood by both men and women.
Earlier this year there was a big media blitz over the death of Jade Goody, who became famous for being on the British TV reality show "Big Brother." She was only 27. Many people said that her death brought a greater awareness to the issue of cervical cancer screening. But why does some celebrity have to DIE before simple epidemiological measures are taken for public health? Why is this not standard practice as a yearly thing in the UK and Ireland? When I was in my late 20s I had a bad pap smear, and discovered that I had pre-cancerous cells. There is a simple procedure for it. If you get yearly pap smears, you are very very unlikely to ever get cervical cancer, especially since it takes a long time for those pre-cancerous cells to turn into cancer.
I am so incensed at this policy. It's as if they think pap smears are like shiny new handbags at the mall and women are just asking for them willy nilly. I wonder how much one pap smear measures up against the cost of cancer treatment. But we can't let women manage their own health - oh no! They'll spend all the government's money on those fancy gynecological tests that are all the rage nowadays! God forbid just *anyone* can go to her doctor and get a pap smear - let's make them request one and then get an "invitation" to make an appointment six months later. Elitist medicine by the HSE. Why am I surprised?