Psychological stress in cervical cancer tabood

Media study:

A recent media study by Oncgnostics GmbH shows that, although the general media report on the topic of cervical cancer, they do not address the associated psychological stress for the women affected. Dr. Martina Schmitz, founder and CEO of Oncgnostics, comments:  “We are surprised that the psychological burden is barely mentioned. The causes and treatment options for cervical cancer are omnipresent. Yet, it still seems to be taboo to talk about the psychological effects. Even an increased risk of developing cervical cancer can be stressful for women.

For over a year, the team examined all editorial publications in consumer media − found via the Google search engine with the keyword cervical cancer. Only one article mentioned suitable contacts for psychological pressure.


From the beginning of January 2023 to the end of March 2024, the Oncgnostics team used the Google search engine to research a total of 162 editorial hits on the topic of cervical cancer, i.e. online publications from daily newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV reports as well as purely online editorial offices. Advertising texts, such as medical practice websites or knowledge portals like Wikipedia, were excluded. The team then analyzed each article to determine which topics it dealt with, i.e. according to the categories of diagnosis and early detection, causes, HPV vaccination, celebrities, treatment options or psychological stress, whereby several of these points could also apply per article.

Result of the study

A total of 66 articles discussed HPV vaccination, with 37 covering it as a main topic and 29 as a supplementary topic. Early detection of cervical cancer was addressed in 55 articles, 45 of which included it as a main topic. The Oncgnostics team found 46 articles that dealt with celebrities who either developed cervical cancer and spoke publicly about it or died from the disease. 20 articles, or around one in eight, were dedicated to other topics, such as the Indian influencer who faked her own death from cervical cancer. 15 articles focused on treatment options, 12 of which included this as the primary content. 5 articles discussed the causes of cervical cancer, but only one focused on them as its main topic.

Mental stress not addressed

Mental stress was the focal point in one article, which merely mentioned professional personnel, such as therapists, who can be consulted in the event of an illness. Although anxiety was discussed in 18 other articles, these articles were mainly based on statements from participants in documentary soaps like Jungle Camp, and no solutions or recommendations were given. 

Three months of unnecessary mental stress

“Women,” says Schmitz, “suffer psychological pressure from the moment the risk of cervical cancer is mentioned, for example during a routine examination. The stress usually begins when a woman receives a positive HPV test along with a conspicuous Pap smear. Then, the patient must wait at least three months until the test can be repeated. And if this result is still inconclusive, the patient often must wait up to two years for further tests before a clear conclusion can be drawn. This is unnecessary mental torture. Why are women expected to endure many months of uncertainty when a result can be given in three days?”

Two options for rapid diagnosis and thus certainty

Schmitz believes that diagnostic procedures based on cancer-specific DNA methylation are the best way to provide women with a quick result, especially if there’s uncertainty about cervical cancer status.  Schmitz: “There are simple options for around 150 euros that can save women at least three months of psychological stress. But unfortunately, the media don’t talk about this.”


Within the period of January 2023 to March 2024, 162 articles discussed the topic of cervical cancer. 66 of these articles focused on HPV vaccination, while 55 covered the possibilities of early detection. The psychological burden of suspected or confirmed cervical cancer was addressed in just one article, which simply mentioned professional groups such as psychologists. Newer and faster cervical cancer medical options were not mentioned, even though, in Dr. Schmitz’s opinion, these would be the best way to help affected patients and their relatives.