Friday, November 20, 2009

Get Over It Already

For me, this is the most important paragraph of an important post by Maggie Maher on the bru-ha-ha over mammograms:
No one is going to stop covering mammograms. But responsible physicians will begin giving patients more information about what the medical research shows, including the fact that for most women, the danger of undergoing unnecessary radiation –or an unneeded mastectomy or lumpectomy –far exceeds the likelihood that a mammogram will save their lives.
In my life I have had only one mammogram, when a lump I discovered in my breast suddenly appeared from nowhere. I was about 46 at the time.  Nothing came of it.  The lump mysteriously disappeared after I went through a series of tests, including sonogram,  mammogram and biopsy, none of which were conclusive.  It's been 10 years, and I feel no urgent need to go back.  What I have always felt was that the frequent exposure to radiation could be far more damaging than not getting the tests, and while I'm not convinced that this vindicates my cynicism, I feel at peace with my decisions.  I also feel comfortable with my instincts telling me that no matter what I do, my environment and those who poison it have far more control over whether I develop breast cancer than anything I can do.

Update:   Never ones to let an opportunity for politicization slip past, the Health Reform Free Marketeers are beating their chests to alert the rest of the troop:
Republicans are seizing on this week's recommendations for fewer Pap smears and mammograms to fuel concern about government-rationed medical care — and to try to chip away support by women for President Barack Obama's proposed health care overhaul.
"This is how rationing starts," declared Jon Kyl of Arizona, the party's second-in-command in the Senate, during a news conference. "This is what we're going to expect in the future."
Said Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: "Those recommendations will be used by the insurance companies as they make a determination as to what they're going to cover."
 A little late for all this concern, isn't it?

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