11.16.2009

You Have To Be Kidding

Apparently a new government panel of expert idiots is weighing in on cancer screenings once again. [click here to read the article]

This time the subject is breast cancer specifically.  The expert idiot panel says that mammograms for women aged 40-50 leads to too many false alarms and that breast self exams do no good and women shouldn’t be taught to do them.  They also say that women should not get mammograms until age 50 and then should only get one every 2 years and if you are over 75, they don’t really think you need one anymore at all – after all, you have to go sometime…

This has to be a joke. I can think of no reason a sane person with a medical background who has spent any time at all with cancer patients would make such a recommendation!

I will concede that the traditional mammograms do not always detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. [how about paying for a digital mammogram instead?]  BUT, I will not concede that self breast exams are pointless.  I will not concede that mammograms are more harm than good to women aged 40-49.  I will not concede that it is a good idea to go 2 years between mammograms.

As someone who has known many, many women with breast cancer – diagnosed anywhere from age 21 to in their 70’s – I don’t believe that women of any age should be overlooked just because of their age or the fact that most breast cancers are “slow growing.” 

I have come to hate those words “slow growing.” Cancer by definition is uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body.  Cancer is a rouge demon that does what it wants, when it wants, and by nature doesn’t follow the “normal” paths.  To some a year will make no difference in their prognosis, to others a year may mean death.

The 21yr old I mentioned above, she kept going back to her college health clinic because something was very wrong.  Her labs were wildly abnormal yet no one entertained the thought she might have cancer… until… until she fell while on summer break because the bones in her spinal cord cracked from the metastasis from her breast cancer.  Would a self breast exam have helped to discover her cancer sooner?  I invite you to read [or watch] the story of Geralyn Lucas who did find her breast cancer by self breast exam at age 27 and lived to tell her story.

I have a feeling the frequency of cancer screenings may drop dramatically in the next few years if we don’t take a stand against it.  Be your own advocate, request and demand screenings if necessary, and know that you have a right to fight cancer at any stage because you have a right to live your life to its fullest.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if insurance companies are behind this...

    ReplyDelete

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