NEW GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES ON BREAST HEALTH - WHAT A JOKE...
Posted Nov 17 2009 10:03pm
Unfortunately, this isn't a joke - it's real...
I am FURIOUS!!! I just watched a report on Fox news this morning about the "new government taskforce guidelines" for breast care. Here are the new guidelines:
1. Mammograms are NOT needed for healthy 40-49 year olds of average risk. 2. Women, ages 50-74, should get screened every 2 years, not annually. 3. Mammograms NOT needed for women ages 75 and up 4. Doctors should no longer teach breast self-exam
Can you believe this? Here is what the report said.
Alisyn, the reporter, interviewed Dr. Cynara Coomer, a surgeon and Professor of Cancer Surgery at Mt. Sinai. Dr. Coomer called this "a step backward". She said it was "very coincidental timing" and "motivation is about saving costs as opposed to worrying about over-diagnosing/treating women." She continued, "...shouldn't be worrying about saving money at the expense of women." She said that 40% of her practice is women under 50.
A few of the things they discussed...
Less testing translates to less treatment = some cancers will streak by. For every 7-10 women who are being over-treated (mammograms), we are saving 1 woman's life - that's worth it. (I personally think it's worth it - what about you?) Women who have breast cancer under the age of 50 tend to have much more aggressive tumors - the years are going to make a difference for these women.
Dr. Coomer said "This is rationing, and we need to be very concerned about it." "The 'Public Option' [in the new healthcare plan] will be using these federal guidelines as opposed to using the guidelines from the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society in not going along with these guidelines, and we can only hope that the private insurance companies don't follow suit."
Wow. I immediately emailed the newsroom - I want my voice heard. I don't know that my emailing Alisyn will make any difference at all, but I CANNOT be silent on this matter. Here is my email to Fox:
I just watched your report on the new government guidelines on breast cancer screening and I am FURIOUS! I cannot believe that the guidelines that have been set by the American Cancer Society are being challenged - who better to set guidelines like these - the cancer society or government bureaucrats who know nothing about cancer?! These new guidelines are a joke - NO mammograms needed for ages 40-49?! So, the women who are in their 40s don't really need screening, even though 100s of 1000s of women in that ages group are diagnosed every year?! Mammograms for ages 50-74 only EVERY OTHER year?! Personally, 1 year for my cancer is a big deal, since mine was a fast growing cancer. Mammograms NOT NEEDED for women over age 74 - ok. What?! So, only women between 50 and 74 even matter to the government?! This one really confuses me: doctors should no longer teach breast self-exam? I don't understand - why? Maybe because during your self exam you might find something and then have to get a mammogram? Whatever. What they should really say is only women between the ages of 50 and 74 should do self exams - we don't want anyone else - younger or older women - finding anything that will make it so that we have to take care of them.
I'm 43 years old. The ONLY way my aggresive breast cancer was found was through a mammogram. If they wouldn't have found it last year, I've been assured that by the time I could actually feel the tumors, it would have been about 4-5 years later, and I would have been so far advanced, they wouldn't have been able to save me. And according to these guidelines, I shouldn't even do self exams, so if I followed those guidelines, I wouldn't have found the lumps - I just would have died.
My mammogram - that I got at age 42 - saved my life. SAVED MY LIFE - a life that, according to the government, doesn't really matter. I was low risk - I had no risk factors.
HOW DARE THEY?! How dare they make a decision like this that will affect so many womens' lives. I'm willing to bet that not one of the people on that task force has ever been touched by breast cancer, because if anyone had, they would be fighting like crazy to keep the American Cancer Society's guidelines. And when I say 'touched by breast cancer', I don't mean just women who have had it, I'm talking about their families and friends. They are changing not only the lives of 1000s of women, but their families' lives as well - my breast cancer had an impact on me, my husband, my 4 sons, my parents, my sister, my boss, my friends, my neighbors, etc.
Anyone who has even one active brain cell in their head should FIGHT LIKE HELL to get this changed. They should fight like hell to oppose the government health care plan too - this is only the first of many terrible things that will happen if we let this plan take hold."
I really hope that anyone who reads this post will forward the information on to all of the women they know - and try to get the word out about this.
LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD - DO NOT SIT BY SILENTLY AND LET THE GOVERNMENT GAIN CONTROL OVER AN IMPORTANT ISSUE LIKE THIS.