Monday, November 16, 2009

Mammogram-Self Exam Gate

A new finding regarding mammograms and self exams in the battle against breat cancer has come out and many women are not happy about it.

My biggest disagreement I have with the findings is the recommendation that the self exams are useless, even if I grant that mammograms are not safe due to radiation and are expensive (though I think that Viagra sales out distance this). I echo the cry of those who offer proof of the effectiveness of self exams those who are currently alive because they caught breast cancer early because they did a self exam. This list includes the famous: Peggy Fleming, Shirley Temple, etc.

I am also annoyed at the fact that women's health care is usually reduced to birth control (it's only been recently that insurance will cover it), plastic surgery (hard to prove 'medically necessary' vs. 'cosmetic' especially when it comes to breast reduction) and maternity (drop and street them) - not that those aren't important as well. We are still a society that believes that women's health issues are usually "all in their head" and then wonder why they are reluctant to seek help. Never mind the fact that the above mentioned areas of women's health are usually subject to more inapproriate moral judgment than anything that men would suffer from, save HIV/AIDS.

I am increasingly annoyed at this idea that people who show up at the ER are a drain on our system, but on the other hand, they are discouraged from doing anything that is preventative or seeking preventative care because of financial cost and again if they are women, 'it's all in their head."

Here is the article.

Breast Cancer Screening Should Begin at Age 50, Panel Finds:


"A government medical task force recommended major changes in breast cancer screening guidelines Monday, suggesting that most women should not begin getting routine mammograms until age 50, and then only once every two years.

In 2002, the same panel -- the United States Preventive Services Task Force -- had, with different members, recommended that women receive mammograms every one to two years beginning at age 40.

The panel on Monday also recommended that most women stop getting regular mammograms after age 74, and that doctors should no longer teach women to do breast self-examinations.
Members of the panel, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that screening for breast cancer too early and too often can lead to false alarms, unnecessary biopsies and unnecessary anxiety for women.

The study is the latest chapter in an ongoing controversy over early screening for breast cancer and other cancers, such as prostate cancer. Such screening saves lives, but in addition to sometimes showing false positives, can also reveal cancers that would have grown so slowly they might not ever need to have been treated. "

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