New Mixed Messages on Mammography – Wait Until 45 or 50?
I've gotten into digital arguments with people because I sometimes question the advice of the medical community.
The reason I do that is because we can point to example after example of the well meaning medical community changing horses mid-stream, admitting that treatments, procedures, pills and injections that they had been recommending for and giving to the public turned out to be bad for us.
We've been concentrating on Breast Cancer Awareness Month to such a high degree, with messaging that encourages women to be checked on time, if not early, that this news from the American Cancer Society via CNN.com is somewhat disconcerting.
In a move sure to befuddle women -- and anger some breast cancer survivors -- the American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines saying less screening for breast cancer is better than more.
The venerated cancer organization says women should start getting mammograms at 45 instead of 40, and that everyone can skip the routine manual breast checks by doctors.
Now three key groups -- the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force -- recommend different ages for starting regular mammograms: 40, 45 and 50 respectively.
While mammograms save lives, they can also cause harm, and each group does a different job of balancing the pros and cons.
Breast cancer is becoming epidemic and it is affecting people at younger ages than ever before. Now women are supposed to just wait even longer to be checked? Now mammography, formerly the key to early detection and survival, is rampant with false positives and the radiation is bad for us?
Why aren't they recommending thermography? Why aren't they recommending self-exams?
Honestly, I think they don't know what to say, so they are saying what covers their liability.
Look, I'm no medical pro. I'm just a human watching the rate of disease rise at an alarming rate. We decided to put an effort toward helping this month, and the thing we've been recommending (at the suggestion of our trusted medical community) is now not the way.
I'm finding it difficult to not feel frustration here, and I'm not exactly sure where to go from here.