There is no clearer example of the contamination of breast cancer with political interference than Mammogate , when the federal government cowardly rejected the sound and impartial recommendations of its own expert panel for political reasons.
Now, a new scene in the government's Breast Fest has appeared where our elected legislators play doctor. States are passing laws that require medical facilities to inform patients who have undergone mammograms if they have dense breast tissue and that they should discuss with their physicians if additional testing is necessary. More details are found in the New York Times report on this issue.
I will defer expressing a medical view if women with dense breasts are adequately protected by conventional mammography. If medical professionals, unelected but presumably trained in actual medicine, believe that ultrasound exams or M.R.I. scans are necessary to illuminate dense breast tissue, then brace yourself for an avalanche of unnecessary scans which will generate anxiety, cost a few zillion dollars and identify false positive lesions which are entirely innocent and lead to a breast biopsy bonanza. This cascade will be fueled also by the medical malpractice system, the raptor present in every mammography suite that is ready to sink talons into its prey. Am I exaggerating here? Ask any radiologist why he has stopped reading mammograms. The guys that still do are scared stiff. These breast images are not sharp iPad images with futuristic resolution. Instead, they look like grainy collages where it can be agonizing for a doctor to decide if a small smudge is nothing or everything. Understandably, in today's litigious climate, radiologists join OperationOVERCALL, rather than risk the opportunity to serve as a defendant years later.
The government are not physicians and should not legislate medical advice. It’s hard enough for actual doctors to sort through conflicting and controversial medical data and evidence to determine what is best for our patients. We struggle with this every day. Will the clumsy axe of government be a helpful player in this effort? Do we want folks who are beholden to lobbyists and are political animals by definition to force physicians to practice in certain way?
Why stop at breasts?
Pass laws that will require physicians to
Sure, there's dense breast tissue out there. But, not nearly as dense as the government. I suppose we should trust them with our lives and our health judging by the sterling performance they demonstrate as legislators. Congress' approval rating is now soaring at 21%.