Not digging the newest breast cancer screening advice

I just sat down to do some work tonight and was distracted by the federal government’s latest announcement.  It seems that a task force has decided that women should wait until age 50 to get mammograms and it’s only necessary to get them every 2 years.  They go on to say that breast self-exams do no good and women should not be taught to do them.  I am outraged and furious at this latest advice. Earlier this month, I spoke to 3 women over the course of 3 days all in their thirties with a recent breast cancer diagnosis.  And nearly every day, I hear of another young woman beginning a breast cancer fight. 

Sure the guidelines are different for women with a family history or a genetic mutation but what about those of us that discovered a mutation only after we were diagnosed?  I think everyone can agree that mammograms are not perfect but we need to find a better tool for screening younger women before we take away the one tool that actually works.  And why debate breast self-exams and breast exams performed by doctors.  A breast self-exam ultimately led to my diagnosis.  Where would I be two and a half years later if I hadn’t discovered the tiny lump in my breast?  Does the federal government care or are they just worried about increased costs of biopsies?  Share your thoughts?  We need to be advocates for our own health and make sure we are not negatively impacted by this latest advice.


Posted on November 17, 2009, in brca, breast cancer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Ellyn, IMO, this is another way, for the Goverment, to somehow, justify the health care cuts and the crisis, that has occured. Also, I doubt, that the strong and intelligent women in the know, will allow this. Things like this, get on my last nerve. My mother , would still be alive, with the protocol of today. Keep up the good work. And, keep your voice loud, Leslie

  2. I couldn’t agree more. This is EXTREMELY disheartening and even if all of us rally alongside the American Cancer Society who strongly oppose this directive, much damage has been done if women do not perform breast self-exam and get their mammograms which SAVES MANY LIVES, including mine.

    The individual states govern coverage I think I heard on the news this AM, so perhaps the next step is to write to our legislators.

  3. Christina Roderick

    We are the first victims of the new “health care” cuts! Women of America, forget politics, think of your life and the effect these cuts will have on everyone!

  4. Victoria Bordner

    I couldn’t agree more and I am completely OUTRAGED! I heard Nancy Snyderman tell Hoda Kotb (Hoda is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in her 40’s with no family history) on the Today show this morning that “while they can’t discount her experience they also can’t discount that for every 1 “Hoda” there are 1899 other women being NEEDLESSLY RADIATED!” Respected female doctors who once espoused the importance of early detection are now trying to have us believe that this new directive is in our best interest! This has NOTHING to do with “needlessly radiating” too many women and EVERYTHING to do with money. I have NO FAMILY history of the disease and my stage 1 breast cancer was detected via mammogram at age 40. Are they saying that they’d prefer to treat my possible stage 3 or 4 breast cancer 10 years down the line? After so many years of claiming “early detection is the cure” this is an unacceptable slap in the face!

  5. It’s appalling that the recommendations have changed. I am outraged by the patronizing tone of those who feel that false positives which occur more frequently in younger women due to denser breast tissue may cause emotional stress and unnecessary biopsies and radiation. So what! This is a risk benefit situation. I will never give up my yearly mammogram.

  6. “Does the federal government care or are they just worried about increased costs of biopsies? Share your thoughts?”

    Breast x-rays for women under 50,women with no symptoms,and women with no history of breast cancer in their family are unjustifiable for the detection of breast cancer. And they’re of dubious value to to all other women,since the breasts are especially sensitive to x-rays. Perhaps our government is actually taking steps to protect women from the costly,dangerous,and inaccurate method’s employed by profit oriented doctors?

  7. Altonwoods, I’m guessing you haven’t had a friend, mother or sister detect their cancer through a mammogram or self breast-exam under 50. I’m not a statistic, I’m a person and I’m living, breathing proof that the new guidelines are ridiculous.


    I agree with ellynd. I guess some people don’t mind play politics with the lives of the public. Furthermore the same people are the ones who claim to be supportive of the less fortunate and minorities. These people will be the first to suffer from these cuts. The ones who can pay don’t have to woryy about it.

  9. I think this will interest you, I was reminded of your blog after reading it…

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