Women's Reproductive Health Care Is a Disaster Minefield.

Women receive significantly more medical care overall.

Women look for medical care more than men do, and if you think reproductive system issues are treated sympathetically, you have no fucking idea.

Ovarian cysts are horrifically painful but you're told to stop exaggerating, it can't be that bad. I've had advice about 'diagnosed on the ultrasound so they're real' cysts that "ah, just wait till you go through menopause, it'll stop then". Advice which boils down to "wait two or more years with untreated pain and problems until nature makes it go away".

What was even worse was that, at the time, I was newly post-menopausal - that is, I had already gone through menopause and it didn't help. That little fact got ignored because I was "too young" (late 40s) for menopause. So my own real experience of "periods have stopped for the past year, gone through the hot flushes, night sweats, etc." was ignored in favour of "by the theoretical calendar model, you are wrong and we are right".

The male consultant gynaecologist couldn't even do the smear test properly, he first ignored me about the type of spatula needed (then after futile efforts, turned round to the nurse and told her he needed the spatula I had already told him he would need) and then after badly performing the procedure, weeks later I got the letter from the hospital that he had failed to get a tissue sample so the test couldn't be done.

Fortunately for me, I had already had my female GP do the same procedure correctly (that was how I knew the type of spatula needed) and she got it right so I had the all-clear on "this is not cervical cancer".

I was booked in for a surgical procedure to get tissue sample to determine if I had uterine cancer. The male consultant gynaecologist (different one this time) wouldn't tell me why he was recommending this, even when I said to him "You think it's cancer don't you?" He brushed me off, I went home, looked up online and first result was "if your patient fits these criteria (I did), has these symptoms (I did), it's likely to be uterine cancer, do this procedure to check (the one he had recommended)".

I didn't freak out because I knew it wasn't uterine cancer, it was the problem with my ovaries, but they wouldn't listen to me about that. Procedure done, no it's not uterine cancer. My ovaries? Two years after first presenting with the pains, finally got an appointment to talk about it - by which time the pains had gone.

Women and reproductive health issues is a fucking disaster minefield, let me link you to the most recent "oops we done fucked up there" scandal about cervical cancer in my country, including "we outsourced test results to a private American lab, what could possibly go wrong there? Oh yeah, that could."

CervicalCheck is the national cervical screening programme. It was launched in September 2008 as the public name of the National Cancer Screening Service. In May 2008, then Chief Executive Officer Tony O'Brien dismissed claims that misdiagnoses would result from the use of US-based lab Quest Diagnostics.

On 26 April 2018, the HSE confirmed that 206 women developed cervical cancer after having a screening test which was subsequently deemed to be potentially inaccurate on lookback, once a woman presented with a confirmed diagnosis of Cervical Cancer and given the known limitations of screening using smear technology. In May, HSE director-general Tony O’Brien took temporary leave of absence from the board of a US medical company amid renewed calls for him to stand aside from his position due to the ongoing controversy. Tony O'Brien announced his resignation as director-general of the HSE with effect from close of business on 11 May.

The full mess includes the revelation that, once aware that women who had received a false negative had indeed developed cancer, the authorities decided"yeah, let's not tell them that, let's leave it up to their doctors and we'll only tell them that a review was carried out years later".

The new figures emerged two days after mother-of-two Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cervical cancer, was awarded €2.5m in the High Court. Ms Phelan had a false negative smear test result in 2011 but developed symptoms in 2014 and was diagnosed with cancer.

There is outcry over revelations that Ms Phelan was not informed that CervicalCheck carried out an internal review of her care in 2014.

She was one of 15 women whose cases were looked at by the screening service in 2014 but she did not learn about the report until late last year.

The HSE has now confirmed it is “writing to doctors who were originally requested to contact their patients who had been given the all-clear but developed cancer that a review of their case was carried out. We are seeking to ensure that this will take place in an expedient manner,” a spokeswoman said.

Information on these internal reports is now given to treating doctors “in a matter of months” but not all women may want to be informed, CervicalCheck claimed. It has a notice on its website telling women an internal review may be conducted if they develop cancer.

A circular from CervicalCheck to doctors treating cancer patients in 2016 suggested if women had died they could “simply ensure the result is recorded”. Ms Phelan, who was left in the dark about her review, accused CervicalCheck of “an appalling breach of trust”.

Shit like this is why I opted out of the national cancer screening test programme when offered to me, because I simply can't trust it.