November 20, 2009

IF IT AFFLICTED MAINLY MEN THIS WOULDN'T EVEN BE CONTROVERSIAL:

LETTER: It's a myth that mammograms offer all benefit, no harm (John Lynch, 11/19/09, Boston Globe)

Those condemning this decision insist on perpetuating the myth of mammography screenings as offering all benefit and no harm. With only 1 in almost 2,000 women in their 40s benefiting from screening mammography and hundreds subjected to unnecessary biopsies and surgeries, this is an exceedingly injudicious use of medical resources, particularly in the middle of a cultural and political donnybrook about unsustainable health care spending.

The shameful behavior in all this is the misleading trading on fear that occurs in the cancer screening industry. Women are led to overestimate their risk of dying from cancer - they’re far more likely to die from heart disease - as well as the benefit from mammography screenings.

Much of what is accurately detected with mammography resides in a gray area of “predisease,’’ much like that found in early-stage prostate cancer. While early-stage prostate cancer is now generally treated conservatively with “watchful waiting,’’ women are falsely led to believe that all cancers need to be treated, even when toxic chemotherapies that cause disease are involved. In short, disease risk is overstated while treatment risk is understated.


Of course, when the "cure" kills you via organ failure you survived the cancer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2009 6:39 AM
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