I was listening to the radio this morning and the female DJ was talking about a new set of “recommendations” regarding mammography in women ages 40-49.
Here’s the thing. For the past couple of DECADES the American Cancer Society and other organizations have invested heavily in educating women on the early detection of breast cancer through annual mammography and self-exam. The current recommendation is that women over the age of 40 receive screening through mammography every year. Mammography can find cancer before a lump appears and it is proven technology in early detection of breast cancer. MANY women have had their lives saved through mammography.
Now, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (what the hell is that, anyway?) says that women between the ages of 40 and 49 “should not get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer.”
First of all, this “panel” consists of 16 supposed health care “experts.” Note, it doesn’t say DOCTORS, just “experts.” Oh, and NONE of them are oncologists.
Who are these “health care experts.” Administrators who are always looking to cut costs? Insurance executives tired of paying for screenings? MEN?
And here’s the galling part. According to their research ONLY FIFTEEN PERCENT OF WOMEN AGES 40-49 detect breast cancer through mammography. Fifteen percent. FIFTEEN PERCENT!
How many men have prostate cancer detected in their 40s through routine screenings? Well, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, only 1 in 39 men have prostate cancer in the age group 40-59. That’s only 2½% of men in that age group. So, is this panel going to recommend that only men 60 and up get routine prostate cancer screening? Not likely. Why? Because the screening isn’t as expensive as that for women. According to the CDC’s statistics, less than 1% of all men have prostate cancer. So, does that make this type of screening completely unnecessary?
According to the CDC, less than 1% of women under 50 have cervical cancer. And, if we look at ALL age groups of women, a mere .16% of all women get cervical cancer. Should we stop screening for cervical cancer?
And, in looking at the CDC’s statistics, only 2% of the population gets colo-rectal cancer. So why on earth would we go through the time and expense of submitting to a days’ worth of shitting our brains out in preparation for a colonoscopy and then going under anesthesia (another risk) for the exam which ALSO comes with a risk of perforation of the colon or intestines?
Hell, let’s just stop all cancer screening and play the statistical odds! Oh, sure, there are going to be some of us who find out that we have cancer that is beyond treatment but, statistically, it’s worth the risk, right?