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Author Topic: Breast Exams...  (Read 967 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 18, 2009, 11:15:34 AM »

Government panel recommends fewer and later mammograms, no self-exams

Most women would do fine to hold off until age 50 for their first mammograms and skip self-exams for breast lumps altogether, according to new government recommendations released Monday that came as a surprise to many in the medical community—and women in general.

The report, issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, asserts that women can push back the date of their first mammograms by a decade (from the current recommendation of 40 years old), and healthy women from 50 to 74 should undergo the screening every other year, rather than annually. The recommendations cover healthy women who do not have a family history of breast cancer (or the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations), and the authors make clear that they lacked sufficient data to support recommendations for those in these risk groups...
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2009, 01:05:44 PM »

Hm, interesting.  The article does state that the recommendation is for those without a family history of breast cancer and in that light it would make sense not to have a yearly mammogram if there were no changes in breast health and no family history of breast issues.  I wondered if there might be mention of the exposure to xrays during the procedure outweighed the benefits of getting a mammogram with no prior history but I didn't see that in the piece.

I do take issue with this statement from the article: "Instead of giving people elaborate instructions to do self-exams, we should educate them to pay close attention to changes in the bodies."  First, a breast self-exam doesn't require elaborate instructions.  There used to be little cards with three-step instructions that were plastered everywhere in the communal dorm showers at my college and those were pretty clear.  Second, it's hard to detect a change in the body unless you examine the body.  I think it would be more effective to educate patients on doing self exams and have screening mammograms every other year as this article suggests.
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Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2009, 04:09:23 PM »

Since this issue is tied directly to the current healt care debate, I think it should be moved to the politics forum lest anyone make a political comment and be censured.  When that happens, then I will comment.
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2009, 04:11:49 PM »

Hm, interesting.  The article does state that the recommendation is for those without a family history of breast cancer and in that light it would make sense not to have a yearly mammogram if there were no changes in breast health and no family history of breast issues.  I wondered if there might be mention of the exposure to xrays during the procedure outweighed the benefits of getting a mammogram with no prior history but I didn't see that in the piece.

I do take issue with this statement from the article: "Instead of giving people elaborate instructions to do self-exams, we should educate them to pay close attention to changes in the bodies."  First, a breast self-exam doesn't require elaborate instructions.  There used to be little cards with three-step instructions that were plastered everywhere in the communal dorm showers at my college and those were pretty clear.  Second, it's hard to detect a change in the body unless you examine the body.  I think it would be more effective to educate patients on doing self exams and have screening mammograms every other year as this article suggests.

Yes, I found that sentence to not make much sense, as well.  I'm all for people, especially women, taking charge of their own bodies and learning how it should work as opposed to how it does work given our penchant for not paying attention to things, but how can you detect a change if you don't examine yourself on a regular basis?
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 04:58:28 PM »

Since this issue is tied directly to the current healt care debate, I think it should be moved to the politics forum lest anyone make a political comment and be censured.  When that happens, then I will comment.

I don't really think it is tied directly to the current health care debate, honestly.  This particular article has nothing to do with public policy.  However, if you'd like to discuss that aspect feel free to open a thread in politics.
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Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
Tags: mammograms cancer 
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