Mad as Hell at The New Breast Health Recommendations

One of the most offensive things is being told something that you are sure contradicts common sense.  This is similar to doctors vehemently stating that chocolate does not cause breakouts – while countless women can stand behind the fact that if they eat chocolate they will most certainly have a breakout. 

So basically, the authority figure – the doctor in this case – is making you second guess what you have seen to be true.  They are telling you that what you sense is wrong.  This is an awkward position to be in.

 This is akin to the awkward and unfortunate position that women in this country were put in this week regarding breast and cervical cancer screening

Nov 20 New York Times Article- Screening Debate Reveals Culture Clash in Medicine

“On Monday, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a federally appointed advisory panel, recommended that most women delay the start of routine mammograms until they are 50, rather than 40, as the group suggested in 2002. It also recommended that women receive the test every two years rather than annually, and that physicians not train women to perform breast self-examination.

The task force, whose recommendations are not binding on insurers or physicians, concluded after surveying the latest research that the risks caused by over-diagnosis, anxiety, false-positive test results and excess biopsies outweighed the benefits of screening for women in their 40s. It found that one cancer death is prevented for every 1,904 women ages 40 to 49 who are screened for 10 years, compared with one death for every 1,339 women from 50 to 74, and one death for every 377 women from 60 to 69.

On Friday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists plans to announce a similar revision to its screening guidelines for cervical cancer… more 

I understand that the task force surveyed research, and looked at the over diagnosis rates etc, but does a woman’s piece of mind and gut instinct matter anymore?  Are we to now start ignoring our gut instincts about our health, and begin listening to advice that completely undermines the sentiment that we need to be our own advocate??  I think not.

DS Download:  I’m shocked at these reports that came out this week, and though I don’t have statistics and numbers to back up my gut instinct, I feel that these reports have the potential to severely set back the advancements that have been made in women’s health – as a woman that makes me mad as hell. 

How could it possibly be a bad thing for women to continue doing self breast examinations?  So a woman goes to her doctor’s office a couple of times and the lumps/bumps she found in her breast, or under her arm turn out to be nothing – but what if they are something?  Why in the world should that woman be made to second guess herself – of course she should continue to check her own breasts. 

The most upsetting part of these new recomendations is that insurance companies will MOST CERTAINLY use this information to reject claims associated with covering certain procedures that will now be deemed as excessive.  For this very reason it is my assessment that the panel behind these new recommendations is severely reckless – sure their recommendations aren’t binding to insurers or physicians – but in this day and age of seeking cost cutting measures at the expense of saving lives, this report only assists the powers that be in continuing to cut corners.

I think we should all be reminded that following your gut instincts can save your life.  Breast cancer is a matter of life and death, and at the first sign that something might be wrong we should run – not walk – to find a course of action…but, if we’re not vigilant over our breasts, with self exams, and regular tests, who’s to say that we’ll find the first sign?  And how dare we be directed to not at the very least be hyper vigilant about this cancer that has claimed the lives of countless women that we know – mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and friends. 

For some reason, at this very moment I’m thinking of the survivors of 9/11 that shared the very common story of being told to stay at their desks and be calm – that help was coming, and that things, though scary, were under control.  Though the people conveying that message were most certainly well meaning (I don’t know if I can say the same for this task force), people that ultimately followed the direction to stay at their desks – ignoring the feeling in their gut that something was wrong, and the temptation to run as fast as they could for the exit – lost their lives.

As women, we should continue to follow our gut and be hyper vigilant about breast and cervical health regardless of the callous recommendations of the task force.


One thought on “Mad as Hell at The New Breast Health Recommendations

  1. Great points I too am annoyed with all of these so called findings…dont you think more needs to be done as far as researching Ovarian Cancer which is usually found in its late stages ending often the pains ignored or overlooked by doctors then horribly ending in a radical hysterectomy

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