There are no stupid questions...
This letter to Today gives angry doc the topic for this weekend's musing.
How often should pap smear be done?
Letter from Haslinda Shamsudin
I am pleased to read that the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore is launching a cervical awareness campaign ("Pap smears = prevention", Nov 2).
Many women are hesitant to go for pap smear screenings for fear of the pain. I was one of them. Having had pap smear screenings for many years now, I would say it merely involves a short period of discomfort during the procedure.
I would like to raise a point about conflicting advice given to women. Polytechnic [sic] doctors who perform pap smear screenings would advise their patients that it is sufficient to have it done once in three years.
Gynaecologists in private practice and at government hospitals would however, advise that such screenings be done annually. Perhaps the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore could clear the air.
Many patients have the misconception that in medicine, there is always (or at least often) a 'right answer'.
But most of the time, there isn't.
Instead, there are (usually) several 'right answers'.
And of course, there are probably many 'wrong answers' too, and a 'right answer' today may become the 'wrong answer' of tomorrow with the publication of a 'landmark study'.
Depending on which study or studies they base their protocol on, different centres will have different recommendations for frequency of Pap smear screening.
But angry doc suspects that Mdm Haslinda isn't really asking about the 'right' frequency for Pap smear screening though.
Or maybe he's seeing un-asked questions where there are none?