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Lest we women of a certain age get all uppity and think we are somehow equal and valued

by: Blue Girl

Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 07:50:15 AM CST

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It took me a day to process the news that the guidelines for breast cancer screenings were being changed, nudged upward as we prepare to step into the era of health reform and cost controls. We are testing 1900 women unnecessarily in order to save one, the argument goes, and it just isn't worth it.

Okay. Tell it to the other 1899, but as for me? I don't care to hear it.

Wanna guess which one of the 1900 I am?

I am the poster child for early detection. My brush with the disease was a non-event that cost less than ten grand to treat because of early detection and screening.

The new guidelines come from the U.S Preventive Services Task Force, a government-sponsored group that provides guidance to doctors, insurance companies and policymakers. The group determined that although mammograms were found to reduce the breast cancer death rate of women 40 to 49 years old by 15 percent, it wasn't enough to warrant starting to screen at age 40. It also found insufficient evidence for the benefits of screening after age 74.

The task force noted breast cancer deaths have declined since 1990 by 2.3 percent per year overall and by 3.3 percent for women aged 40 to 50 years, attributing that decrease to the combination of mammography with improved treatment. But the group found the potential harm - through false positives and radiation exposure - outweighed the risks.

Groups such as the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging immediately denounced the new guidelines.

"I think it's shocking to basically spell out in such a bold and callous way which groups of women they no longer care to find cancer in," said Dr. Linda Gordon, imaging director at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley.

Am I just being overly sensitive, or is the healthcare debate really pulling back the curtain on the sexism ingrained on our society? The same people who shriek that they don't need the government running their health care nonetheless want language inserted into the bill that would essentially eliminate all abortion coverage, interjecting the government into the healthcare of all women of childbearing age. We have seen male republican Senators take to the floor and decry maternity care as part of the package because "they don't need it."

And now, they tell me that I was not worth saving.

I guess that once past our childbearing years we no longer have enough value to justify the modest expense of screenings like the one that either saved my life or a hell of a lot of money and heartache.  

Blue Girl :: Lest we women of a certain age get all uppity and think we are somehow equal and valued
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Statistics and Lives (3.00 / 1)
There once was a legal doctrine,"Better that a thousand guilty go free than convict one innocent."  

Mass screenings are statistically better - because we don't really have baseline due to the fact that there were no national protocols for testing.

We are approaching the 4th decade of fetal heart monitoring and there still is no consensus on what constitutes "distress" because there was no baseline established.

"In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying."

- Bertrand Russell -

Truth justice and the American way (4.00 / 1)
As it happens, I think the statistics speak for themselves in the realm of defensive medicine.  Blue here is the ox that would have been gored under the new rules.  I also suspect that VA would have considered her an elevated risk and tested her early anyway.  That said ...

With real medical services cost reform, this test would no longer be so expensive and the stix would fall in a slightly different pattern.  It's also time to step up to the plate and accept that in the evenness of time some of us will have to adjust.  Dropping support for erectile disfunction & PSA's would be a welcome start.  How effective and efficacious are colonoscopies & tracheoscopies?  What is their cost benefit ratio?

The sooner we get to 'Medicare' or VA for everyone, whether it's a single-payer system or nationalized resources - the sooner we can get on with the real job at hand.  As a veteran with [prolonged] exposure to dioxin through Agent 'of the day' & PTSD, I know that at sometime the numbers will unite against some protocol somewhere and its going to be over.  I'll just have to get over it because I've enjoyed the last 41 years - since 21 December 1968 when I rotated from 'Nam.  It's not like it will be a surprise;  I'm the only one I know of from my Ranger Team left.

Actually (0.00 / 0)
The sooner that we EXCLUDE the CHRISTIAN RIGHT & Registered REPUBLICANS from healthcare - the sooner that the Chlorine hits the gene pool.

"In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying."

- Bertrand Russell -

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