17 November 2009

Breast Health. A Rant.

It's hard to believe it's as late in the year as it is, but then it makes complete sense. I wrote this post a few days ago when the new "recommendations" for breast cancer screening were released. I was pretty mad. My intention was to let it sit for a day & then revise to publish. Unfortunately I had a technical difficulty with my computer & couldn't get online until today. So here it is, no revisions, just the way I felt Tuesday morning. This was so hard to just leave...but I felt it was important to post my initial reaction. 11.20.09

Whenever I hear memorable news, good & bad, I always remember where I was & what I was looking at. Yesterday I was driving down the hill that our house sits on top of when I heard the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending against regular mammagrams for women beginning at age 40 as well as regular self breast exams. According to the Task Force, too much anxiety is caused by false positives and biopsies. Well how nice of the to protect us, but what about the 15% of women whose lives were saved because of regular mammagrams?

I was bewildered. I arrived at my destination & just kind of sat in the car for a second to hear more. This goes against everything we are taught for women's health. When my own breasts came to be during adolescance it was drilled into my conscience to give myself an exam once a month. In college I was given a plastic SBE guide to hang on the shower head, I had it until we moved 2 months ago. Every fall at my yearly exam there are about 5 minutes dedicated to breast health. Now it's all awash for fear that I may be caused unnecessary anxiety? Seriously?

There is something about this that does not seem quite right. And I feel a little bit sad that I don't trust that the best interest of women is what is being thought of here. It reminds me of the period of time when many women were diagnosed with Hysteria. What I really think is that this is a way to cut medical expenses at the cost of women's lives.


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