Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bad Advice

Hi friends! Today feels like a Monday for me. The kids were out of school yesterday for fall break, aka deer season (yes, believe it), and went back today so it really does feel like Monday. After a long, and busy!, weekend I rrreeaalllyyy wanted to pull the covers back over my head at 530am when the alarm started blaring, but alas, I did not. I am motivated by several things at this VERY EARLY hour: my love of this peaceful time of day (it’s my fave), hot coffee, Bible devotion time, and the sunrise. The day just holds so much promise when you are up before the sun. And I.love.it. And these things are what keep me getting up at 530am.

After getting the kids off to school, I came home and busted out 6 miles on the TM. I am amazed, and excited, to see my speed + endurance increase simultaneously since finishing treatment and starting on the BP med. Guess things are getting back to normal. Yay!

I wanted to share with you today, some rather interesting new guidelines put forth by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that made headlines yesterday. Every news outlet is covering it, but you can read CNN's report here. This task force is now releasing new guidelines for women and mammography. Here's the differences:


  • Routine mammograms should begin at the age of 40.
  • Women should get mammograms yearly.
  • Monthly breast self exams.

NEW (they are saying none of these apply to those who are high-risk = family history)

  • Mammograms should start at age 50.
  • If the screening is negative, a women may be able to wait 2 years in between mammograms.
  • No need for monthly breast self exams.

WHAT?!?! I am so outraged at this report that I can hardly stand it. I was watching the news last night when the report came on and was practically yelling at the tv! I could not believe what I was hearing!! Part of their reasoning is because there are many false positives that occur between the ages of 40-49 in diagnostic mammography...um, well, what about the lives that it DOES save?? Seems to me they are saying that "yeah, it does save some lives, but they aren't worth it." You've got to be kidding me. 15% of women in their 40s detect breast cancer through mammography. Is this task force saying these lives aren't worth it?? The best thing we have in the fight against breast cancer is early detection. MAMMOGRAMS AND BSEs save lives and are a big part of that!

I am so disappointed in this new report. It makes me so sad that some women out there will hear this and think that it is ok to not get their mammos until 50 and not worry about BSEs and because of this, breast cancer will go undetected. Do you know what damage breast cancer can do in that amount of time?? I let mine go for a year and a half and had lymph node involvement by the time I was diagnosed...and I was one of the lucky ones. With my age and receptors, I am lucky that it hadn't spread to other areas of my body. I can't imagine that they would even put this report out there. I can bet you money, sadly, that the death rate for breast cancer, which has been on the decline in the last several years, will slowly be on the rise if this report is allowed to stand. After years of pushing and pushing and getting the message out for early detection, it seems we have just went backwards about 20 years in our mission.

Before this report came out yesterday, I was of the belief that we were headed in the other direction. Where younger and more women were getting screened, and new (and better) imaging tests like the breast MRI would slowly replace the mammogram. I am just disheartened. Apparently so is the American Cancer Society, who doesn't agree with this new report at all. And neither do the physicians that I have seen interviewed on the various news shows. Which leads me to wonder how on earth this task force came up with such bogus suggestions?? Is it insurance companies? Political? Who knows. But I hope it isn't leading backwards down the road that was just paved with the hard work of those fighting for early detection and screening.

So for all you gals out there...go with the current guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society:

  • Yearly mammograms beginning at the age of 40, unless you have a family history of breast cancer. If so, take the age at which that family member was diagnosed and subtract 10 years to get the age that you should begin getting screened.
  • Do monthly breast self exams. This is how I found my lump. I was only 29 when I felt it...there was no yearly mammogram in the plans for me. It was just what I felt and had to go from there.
  • Talk to your doctor.

< stepping down off soapbox now;-) >


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you commented on this because you were the first person I thought of when I heard the reports. As a 27 year old, I've been thinking how much it sucks to have to wait until I am 40, let alone 50.

I don't have a family history of breast cancer but I do have very dense tissue which sometimes makes it difficult to "feel" for unusual things myself. So I have to rely on my yearly exams at the GYN but I have had one ultrasound done that came back fine.

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