Thursday, November 29, 2012


Breasts' Future

"In other words, mammograms increased diagnoses and surgeries, but didn’t save lives." (Elsewhere, a different view.)

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fondue with cheddar

I've heard this, but I'm still not sure what to think about it.

I've also heard that mammograms cause more worry in cases where they find benign tumors that would never have been a problem (forgive me if this is mentioned in the linked article as I haven't read it). So some see it as more of a bad thing than a good thing. Self-exams are supposedly the best tool.

Hellion of Troy

@fondue with cheddar The article doesn't really go into that point but it's a good one. If someone has a mammogram and a "cancer" is found, then they go through a bunch of difficult treatments and don't die, they feel like a "survivor" and also like the mammogram saved their life, when in fact it is possible that their life was never in danger, except from radiation and surgery risks. And good luck convincing somebody that went through that emotional journey and all those physical trials that they aren't really a "survivor". And since she's now a healthy woman with a great story of overcoming cancer, you can put her on a billboard or have her run in a 5k fundraiser for mammogram promotion. She'll also help you sell a lot of pink teddy bears and lipstick!

If I seem bitter about this it's because I recently watched my (pretty young!) grandmother die from ovarian cancer, which is a death sentence, and nobody seems to care about because it's not part of the "survivor" marketing machine.

fondue with cheddar

@Hellion of Troy You're right, and I'm so sorry for your loss. My grandmother died of ovarian cancer at a young age too, but it was before I was born (she was younger than I am now). I can't imagine how difficult it was for you to watch her go through it.


I don't know what it is, but I like it!@y


As someone with a direct (bio mom) breast cancer risk, I will keep getting them. She had cancer at 40; I'm not willing to be a statistic.

I wonder, though, whether their finding would suggest that changes could be made to the screening cycle for lower-risk women?

fondue with cheddar

@dale You should! What I've heard on the matter is exactly what you say, that screening for women at risk is a great idea, but screening for everyone...not really necessary.

Pseudo Pseudonym

@dale The latest NYT article against screening goes into what a hard emotional sell it is to stop wide spread screening. However, it doesn't emphasize that these studies are not relevant to those with a higher genetic risk nor against using mammograms if someone thinks they feel a lump. You should absolutely get checked out but self-exam have proven to be better than mammograms for finding cancer in the general population. I think all these articles are trying to fight against the Komen machine and their mammograms for everyone message -- they may do good things but they have become way too powerful and there are lots of other cancers that need research dollars too.


@Pseudo Pseudonym Our screening program here in BC is pretty good. I go yearly, because I'm higher risk, but it's certainly possible that other women do not have to (at least to a certain age); I'm not sure, because many of my friends are still younger. Doctors are also pretty good at reminding about self-exams (though I will never be good about doing them).

I agree, though, that some of the focus needs to shift to more deadly cancers like ovarian. Why do we not have any kind of test by this point? Even if it was something non-invasive, like an ultrasound?


Breast cancer is the most fatal cause among women. It is advisable that women should consult a doctor when they feel some of the symptoms of breast cancer.Prevention is better than cure. - James Stuckey

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