A recent report published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care has revealed that the recommended Pap smear test - for cervical cancer screening - is skipped by adult women who had experienced some kind of sexual abuse as girls.
The report - based on the findings of an investigative study carried out by the researchers at the Queen Mary University of London - suggested that sexually-abuse girls were more likely to skip Pap smear tests as adults chiefly due to the reason that the screening appeared to remind some women of their victimization as girls.
The study - involving surveys which women completed on the `U. K. National Association for People Abused in Childhood' website - found that most of the women who avoided Pap smear because of sexual-abuse incidents as girls said that they skipped the screening due to feelings of fear, uneasiness, and helplessness.
Despite the fact that these women know fully well that screening is all the more important in their case because of an increased risk of cervical lesions, the researchers - led by Anne Szarewski - said in the report that Pap smear apparently serves as a trigger for trauma response for them.
Noting that intimate gynecological tests can be "particularly stressful" for sexually-abused women, the researchers said that such tests clearly have "parallels with the abuse situation, for example, perceived loss of control, the power disparity, and the physical sensation of the examination."
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