According to a study done a UCSF and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology the pelvic exam is performed for reasons that are medically unjustified. Many MDs mistakenly believe the exam is important in screening for ovarian cancer.
MDs have been trained to do this exam as part of a routine exam and have the belief that it would be malpractice to not do it in asymptomatic women. The latest recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is that most women no longer need annual Pap smears. Now the question raised by UCSF doctors is that the annual pelvic exam in women without gynecologic problems and the routine testing for ovarian cancer has come into question.
Many MDs do the exam because it reassures patients that they are okay, because patients have come to expect it, and because is insures that insurances will pay for the office visit!