Cervical Smear


#1

Please could someone advise me whether Cervical Smears are an acceptable procedure, under Church teaching ? Thanking you. Hugh H


#2

Of course they are. They are a necessary medical test that all women should get to detect cancer and other abnormalities early. Having a GYN exam is totally acceptable.


#3

Of course they are!

Their purpose is to test for the presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in the cervix. These tests save lives by checking that the female reproductive organs are healthy and as God designed them to be and catching any problems early if they aren't.

Morally they are no more objectionable than having your skin checked for unusual-looking moles that might be cancerous.

The only medical tests that might be objectionable would be some fertility tests for men, depending upon how they were conducted. But cervical smears have nothing to do with fertility at all, as far as I am aware.

By similar token, from a male perspective, prostate exams (which are rectal exams that detect potential problems with the prostate, including potential prostate cancer) are fine too.


#4

[quote="Hugh_Harper, post:1, topic:194202"]
Please could someone advise me whether Cervical Smears are an acceptable procedure, under Church teaching ? Thanking you. Hugh H

[/quote]

Why would you think that a diagnostic test for cancer would be unacceptable to the Church?


#5

[quote="Hugh_Harper, post:1, topic:194202"]
Please could someone advise me whether Cervical Smears are an acceptable procedure, under Church teaching ? Thanking you. Hugh H

[/quote]

Yes of course. What makes you doubt it?


#6

Why would you have doubts? What has made you wonder?


#7

I'm a little confused as to why you would be concerned about this test? It's to check for cervical cancer. Is it because the woman is undressed for the exam? If that's a concern, there are plenty of female Ob/GYNs, family doctors, nurse practitioners, and midwives out there that can perform a pap smear. Or is it because the treatment for advanced cervical cancer may involve a hysterectomy? :shrug:


#8

The short answer is yes. But it is not the same as checking your skin for suspicious moles. In a perfect world, where sexual relations are limited to married couples and there is no premarital sex, HPV in the genital tract would be virtually eliminated and Pap smears would not be necessary, as the obligatory agent for the development of dysplasia and cancer would not be transmitted. But such is not the case.

Be that as it may, there is no moral problem with the test.

Tim


#9

Last Christmas, I saw this add… A man was saying that the best presant to a woman would be a free Pap Smear (in not so many words) my first thought sooooo, my presant to him should be a prostate exam?

Yes, it feels like a violation, I have hated every one that I have had. Pap Smears ( at least for me) are a painful, embarrasing thing. But the good far outwieghs the bad. If a woman can be saved by early detection of cancer and by thus being diagnosed early, save her life so that she can go on being a mom, sister,friend, wife, etc what could be wrong about that? Intent is what matters and trust me there is not one thing sexual about a Pap Smear!


#10

I hope the OP comes back and reads the comments posted... or else I'm beginning to think we're the butt of a joke.


#11

You do know cervical cancer has other causes than just HPV, right? So even a virgin could have cervical cancer cells present on her cervix that could be detected by a PAP smear.

So, yes, it is very similar to checking for moles.


#12

Thank you all so much for your replies to my question and please know that you were certainly not the subject of some sad joke! In truth you can put my concerns down to genuine naivity.
In writing I was mindful that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that the Smear test just seems such a violation of a Woman's Temple and her dignity. However, you have all graciously corrected me and put my mind at rest and for that I really thank you. God bless you all.
Hugh

Ps.My first time on Catholic Answers!!


#13

Welcome!
Be assured women are able to seek medical treatment for their reproductive systems and it is not a violation of any kind.


#14

[quote="Catholic90, post:11, topic:194202"]
You do know cervical cancer has other causes than just HPV, right? So even a virgin could have cervical cancer cells present on her cervix that could be detected by a PAP smear.

So, yes, it is very similar to checking for moles.

[/quote]

Actually, I think it was about 99.6% of cervical cancer was related to high risk HPV. So yes, it could happen as you say, but in a perfect world with total sexual fidelity the incidence of cancer would be so low that a Pap screening program would not be cost effective.

-Tim


#15

Not all cervical cancer is caused by some sort of STD. In the past I have worked at medical facilities. Even middle aged nuns have pap smears. Virgins can develop cervical cancer just like non-smokers can develop lung cancer. Have STD's puts a woman at a higher risk, but not having one does not mean that one cannot develop cancer.


#16

Also just as an aside there is a similar swab done for men who have been with women who have HPV to test for cancerous changes as well. This same swab is also the same way one goes about checking for male STDs.


#17

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