After years of a unified consensus from doctors and expert panels, a group of public prevention health experts are pushing for a C change in the way we screen for early breast cancer. Thankfully, there has been a steady decline of breast cancer related deaths over the past two decades, mainly due to the push for mass screening in normal and high-risk women. Despite this incredible success, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force now recommends abandoning mammograms for normal-risk women in their forties, and all women over 75. What was their rationale, you might be asking? Basically, it’s economics and cold, hard, group-think reasoning. They used mathematical predictions based on existing science to determine that the most lives will be saved with the least negative and false-positive testings, if we screen fewer women (the women not likely to test positive). However, there is a major problem! These abstract studies should only serve as a conversation starter with the doctor, which would be okay, but, unfortunately, studies and stingy guidelines from this same group have been used as benchmarks (and excuses) to take the cheap way out. For now, my patients will be getting the tried and true advice backed be a successful record.
And about the Task Force’s criticism of self and doctor performed lump checks? Really? Please… It doesn’t cost a penny and it could save your life. I’ve seen it!
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