So I was watching Larry King Live last night to hear from Patrick Swayze's wife and brother. I couldn't believe the resemblance between Patrick and his brother. That is beside the point of this post. After the segment with the Swayze family a panel came on to talk about breast cancer screening. Evidently a task force of some sort was convened by the federal government to review the efficacy of the current views on mammography for women. I'll be honest I have not done my research on the reasons behind the task force or their results but from what was disclosed last night I am shocked, flabbergasted and gravely concerned. According to this task force women from the ages of 40 to 49 should not routinely get mammograms and I believe they also are suggesting that women in their 50's be screened every other year! Are you kidding me???? Cheryl Crowe and two doctors spoke against this finding, saying it confuses women and also gives the insurance companies a loop hole to refuse to pay for this essential and only screening tool for breast cancer in women. One fact that was shared in the conversation is that breast cancer tumors double in size every three months. If our country adopts these new standards that extra year in between mammograms could make the difference between a stage one and stage three tumor. I believe that part of the philosophy behind the task force suggestions comes from the imperfect nature of mammography in younger women due to the density of the younger breast tissue. I am astonished by this development, particularly when so many people are worried about the future of health care. Why are we giving the insurance companies more power with such dangerous recommendations. I am going to do some research on this tonight and I'll report back with links and hopefully some next steps to protect the availability of mammography for all women.
Here is an article with some details about the task force and it's report!