I have made an informed decision not to have mammograms.
It concerns me that women get a one-sided promotion of screening tests with no risk information and no respect for the legal requirement of informed consent.
Thankfully the Nordic Cochrane Institute have produced an unbiased account of the risks and benefits of mammograms available at their website - this group criticised the information that is currently released to women.
Cervical screening is an even bigger gamble, unlike breast cancer, cervical cancer is rare/uncommon and this test was never properly evaluated before it's release, this cancer was also in steady decline before screening started - women get no risk information and are routinely pressured and coerced into testing (and often over-testing and inappropriate testing) - this test is unreliable and lots of women get false positives and face painful and potentially damaging & invasive biopsies and treatments. LEEP and cone biopsies can leave women with damage to the cervix which can lead to infertility, problems during pregnancy, miscarriages, premature babies, more c-sections and psych issues.
When 99.35% of women derive no benefit from smears and 95% of women who have annual screening are referred at some stage for colposcopy and usually some sort of biopsy, that is massive over-diagnosis and over-treatment - and all with no informed consent. (the 99.35% includes the 0.35% of women who get false negatives)
The practice in the States and Canada of denying women birth control until they agree to screening amounts to coercion and is highly unethical. The demands also include routine pelvic exams which are of poor clinical value in a symptom-free woman and expose the woman to risk (more harmful investigation even surgery) and routine breast exams - no evidence they bring down the death rate, but they cause biopsies and some believe biopsies are a risk factor for cancer - some Dr's even demand rectal exams - too ridiculous for words!
Cancer screening has nothing to do with birth control.
Every woman should do her reading and make her own informed decisions - saying NO to screening is perfectly reasonable.
I have never participated in cervical screening (as a low risk woman) and have recently decided on turning 50, not to have breast screening. (I've never permitted breast exams)
Thankfully our doctors don't recommend routine gyn exams at any age; I wouldn't permit them anyway.
If I had been higher risk for cervical cancer, I might have opted for the Finnish program - 5 yearly from age 30, 5 - 7 tests in total - they have the lowest rates of cc in the world and just as importantly, send the fewest women for colposcopy/biopsy (fewer false positives - 30%-55% lifetime risk)
Two yearly is over-screening (Australia) - that carries a 77% lifetime risk.
Three yearly (UK) - 65%
Screening under 25 (some say 30) is of no benefit but causes massive and harmful over-treatment from false positives.
Anyone interested in the facts should go to Dr Joel Sherman's medical privacy blog and under women's privacy issues you'll find all the facts. See research by Dr Raffle, Richard DeMay and others.