Craig's notes: Family docs, pap smears, and cervical cancer risk opens up a compelling thought along the lines of my discussion the other day of prostate cancer screening:
"..The vast majority of the post-hysterectomy patients in my practice who were also seeing gynecologists or had previously seen gynecologists were still under the impression that they needed regular Pap smears."
He's right. Like the PSA talk -- this one takes a long time, and inherently involves a discussion of risk. Women who are post-hysterectomy are not without some risk ...but ... the real risk is quite low:
"The probability of an abnormal Papanicolaou smear in this group of women was 1.1 percent, and the positive predictive value of the Papanicolaou test for detecting vaginal cancer was 0 percent "
yet ... like the free prostate screenings so commonly advertised in the local paper ... this may be better business than it is medicine. ugh.