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New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

Last post 12-15-2009 11:52 AM by lifeAgift. 9 replies.
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  • 11-19-2009 4:11 PM

    New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    New Mammogram Guidelines Are Causing Confusion, But Here’s Why They Make Sense

    New government guidelines recommending that women start screening for breast cancer at age 50 instead of 40 set off a round of criticism this week and caused much confusion for women who for years have been told that early detection saves lives.

    Have to say I'm torn on this.

  • 11-20-2009 3:15 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    It's 50 in the UK.  My mother was still having babies and breastfeeding until she was 45, mammograms aren't an effective tool on pre-menopausal breast tissue.  The false positive rate is high, the procedure is uncomfortable and the benefits are negligible.  50 is a much better age to begin screening using this particular tool.

    The women who are up in arms should perhaps have checked when invited at 40 for a mammogram if THAT was evidence-based or insurance-money-based...

    Do GP's/well-woman cinics/someone teach proper breast exam technique in America?  Every time i have a smear done (every 3 years) i am re-shown how to examine my own breasts, and it's often mentioned in between too.

    Me 32, DH 41, DD 2006, DD 2010, DS 2013
  • 11-20-2009 4:40 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    What I have found interesting in all of this, is how many women are saying something very similar to the anti-homebirthing movement: If my sister/friend/cousin/neighbor hadn't had her mamogram with no other suspicious symptoms whatsoever, they never would have found her cancer and she would have died.  ("If my sister/friend/cousin/neighbor hadn't been in the hospital for her labor ...")  Although I'm sure they are very thankful for finding cancer early, I do wonder if this is the kind of cancer which would have needed to be treated so aggressively from the get go.  Someone else in my circle brought up the "cancer industry" and how devastating any change in guidelines could be to that industry.  Interesting thought.  I myself have always been suspicious of mamograms as far as risk and benefits are concerned.  This drives my gynecologist nuts, to say the least.

    Susan
    Moderator

    I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult. --E.B. White
  • 11-20-2009 5:59 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    "Do GP's/well-woman cinics/someone teach proper breast exam technique in America?  Every time i have a smear done (every 3 years) i am re-shown how to examine my own breasts, and it's often mentioned in between too."

    Sad part is that the last time I had a physical + pap I had to ask for a breast exam and I was billed for a comprehensive physical and the MD barely looked at me let alone touched me or properly dealt with my ever increasing BMI concern. I was so miffed because she was a young female MD that I was hoping would be very progressive with preventive health yet she wasn't worth a quarter.

    The time before that I went to a physician I was referred to who did a thorough H&P but then wanted to include my lab analysis and data in his choleterol study. Mind you I had no cholesterol issues but I met the criteria for his control cohort. I have no problem with extant research. However it is a NO NO to bill me for your research especially when the test weren't requested or a relevant component of a routine physical. Took me @9 months of letter righting and phone conversations to get his billing admin to see the point and drop the charges.

    So bacK OT, I don't trust mammography especially when early detection is not coupled with agressive prevention and lifestyle management education. 





  • 11-20-2009 6:21 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    That is thought provoking, Brln.  My own mother was diagnosed with "carcinoma in situ" at the age of 42.  This means that the cancer was confined to the ducts and lobules of the breast and had not invaded the surrounding breast tissue or lymph nodes to any extent.  It wasn't even a Stage 1 cancer yet.  But for her, it was suggested (by a surgeon, naturally) that she be "off with both of them" and that's what she did. 

    Do you have anything literature to support your ideas?  I'd be interested.  I'm sure they're going to want me to have a "baseline" mammogram in the next couple of years.

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 11-20-2009 8:58 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    I just saw this, and it lined up with what Brln was saying about overtreatment.  I'm intrigued and hope to read more.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/OnCallPlusBreastCancerNews/wireStory?id=8046240

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 11-20-2009 10:10 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    Although I don't have any scientific anything to back up my opinion, there's an intriguing article which came thru on another midwifery list: http://www.naturalnews.com/027537_mammograms_cancer_industry.html

    And yes, I'm old enough to remember going to the shoe store and getting my feet x-ray'd!  I believe that the gentleman who wrote the article cited above, however, is a bit off as I was born in the 50s and those machines were well used in the shoe stores even then.

    Susan
    Moderator

    I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult. --E.B. White
  • 11-20-2009 2:58 PM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    Thanx for the interesting responses here.

  • 11-21-2009 11:33 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

     I don't know about breast cancer, but i do know with cervical cancer the treatment regimes are aggressive and not necessarily evidence based (unless you count the "if thy hand offend thee" approach to treatment).  I have a friend who had stage 1 and 2 cell changes (which can come and go and do NOT necessarily mean the cells will become cancerous) she was told her options "we could wait and see, but you could get aggressive cancer, or we can operate to remove the problem before it becomes a REAL problem" - she opted for a cone biopsy, and is now on her 3rd pregnancy with a cervical stitch, the first 2 having ended in 2nd tri losses due to incompetant cervix.  THey have actually convinced her it is "95% sure" her cervix was incompetant before they cut half of it away.  *shaking my head*

    Don't get me wrong, my mother DIED of cervical cancer, i know it can be a killer, but she NEVER missed a smear and because the cancer began within the cervical canal, not near the os, she was back and forth to the well woman clinic every 3 weeks with unexplained post-menopausal bleeding for 18 months before they decided to do a scan.  By then she had grade 4 tumour and secondaries, it was terminal.  I always wonder if the often unwarranted hyper-aggressive treament when they DO catch these things early is a way of protecting the fragile denial of the truth - that cancer isn't always curable and despite the best allopathic medicine has to offer nowadays people still die.

    Me 32, DH 41, DD 2006, DD 2010, DS 2013
  • 12-15-2009 11:52 AM In reply to

    Re: New US Mammogram Guidelines Confusion and Common Sense

    RobsGirl:

    That is thought provoking, Brln.  My own mother was diagnosed with "carcinoma in situ" at the age of 42.  This means that the cancer was confined to the ducts and lobules of the breast and had not invaded the surrounding breast tissue or lymph nodes to any extent.  It wasn't even a Stage 1 cancer yet.  But for her, it was suggested (by a surgeon, naturally) that she be "off with both of them" and that's what she did. 

    Do you have anything literature to support your ideas?  I'd be interested.  I'm sure they're going to want me to have a "baseline" mammogram in the next couple of years.

     

     Wonder what the treatment plan and prognosis would had been if she didn't have health insurance???

    Was she ever offered any alternative therapies?

     





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