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View Full Version : New Mamogram guidelines are Dangerous



Lady Hefron
11-17-2009, 11:02 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33973665/ns/health-womens_health/

I am outraged and frightened. Will insurance companies stop covering early detection mamograms? I know several women whose lives have been saved because of mamograms done before age 50.

LadyLaura
11-17-2009, 11:22 AM
*sigh* I would hope not.

Because it doesn't save "as many" women's lives compared to the number of mammograms given? That's just sad. I will gladly take a false-positive result, and an "unneeded" biopsy, rather than miss something that could kill me.

These are PEOPLE not statistics!

Isabelle Fawkes
11-17-2009, 11:28 AM
A government task force said Monday that most women don't need mammograms in their 40s and should get one every two years starting at 50 a stunning reversal and a break with the American Cancer Society's long-standing position. What's more, the panel said breast self-exams do no good, and women shouldn't be taught to do them.

One more reason to keep the government out of the health care business.

Phoenix McHeit
11-17-2009, 11:30 AM
Breast self exams do no good?

Tell that to my g/f's mum, who caught it early by finding a lump.

Mistress_Autumn
11-17-2009, 12:48 PM
Shouldn't start getting mamograms before 50 and shouldn't do self-exams???? Really? You mean that my mom should have just ignored the cancer that was first found because of a self-exam... and was confirmed during her routine mamogram? If she had waited until she turned 50... well, she wouldn't have lived that long so I guess it doesn't matter.

*growls* Freaking government getting into medical stuff and going against all advise. Oh wait... That's pretty much what the politians do across the board. Nice to know we have such caring and devoted people attempting to run our country.

Lady Anne
11-17-2009, 12:52 PM
One more reason to keep the government out of the health care business.

I agree 1000%! One of the MANY reasons for keeping the government out of healthcare. Now you don't (can't?) get a mamogram until you're 50, and if something is found a politician will decide if you get treatment?

Phoenix McHeit
11-17-2009, 01:42 PM
Will insurance companies stop covering early detection mamograms? I know several women whose lives have been saved because of mamograms done before age 50.

From the article:(bolding mine)
The new guidelines were issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, whose stance influences coverage of screening tests by Medicare and many insurance companies. But Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33973665/ns/health-womens_health/#) Plans, an industry group, said insurance coverage isn't likely to change because of the new guidelines.

Phoenix McHeit
11-17-2009, 01:43 PM
I agree 1000%! One of the MANY reasons for keeping the government out of healthcare. Now you don't (can't?) get a mamogram until you're 50, and if something is found a politician will decide if you get treatment?

Umm no. That's not what this article states at all.

Phoenix McHeit
11-17-2009, 01:49 PM
Shouldn't start getting mamograms before 50 and shouldn't do self-exams???? Really? You mean that my mom should have just ignored the cancer that was first found because of a self-exam... and was confirmed during her routine mamogram? If she had waited until she turned 50... well, she wouldn't have lived that long so I guess it doesn't matter.


If you'll read the article, you'll see that these guidelines aren't meant for people with a history of the disease.


The guidelines are for the general population, not those at high risk of breast cancer because of family history or gene mutations that would justify having mammograms sooner or more often.Yes, this new advice is confusing and strange, and it flies in the face of the American Cancer Society, but let's not all play Chicken Little and start screaming about things that aren't actually happening, please.

Ravin' Raven
11-17-2009, 02:14 PM
I, personally, have aleady made the decision to not have mammograms anymore. But it's my choice (ooh that's a scary word). I do BSEs and know my breasts very well, thank you....

These are guidelines and recommendations only based on current studies and literature. No one is saying you CAN'T have a mammo if you want one. It's no different than the guidelines and suggestions on what to eat, whether you should get the flu shot, etc. Guidelines are neither rules nor laws. The are designed to provide data that the average person can use to make an informed decision (heaven forefend). If you know you have a personal or family history, then you are not the average person.

And they will likely change again in a few years as more data are gathered and more studies become available. Just like guidelines on cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., have changed over the years.

Ysobelle
11-17-2009, 03:49 PM
Get government out of healthcare? Okay. I mean, it's not like anyone uses Medicaid or Medicare, anyway.

Lady Hefron
11-17-2009, 09:48 PM
I'm sorry, but I can see some insurance companies denying coverage based on these recommendations.

This isn't about government healthcare, this is about women's health issues. I am completely outraged that these recommendations were made by ANYONE. Women's health issues get short shrift enough without this kind on nonsense. If it is a personal decision based on knowledge of your own body that is one thing, but to make such a sweeping recommendation is absurd and dangerous.

I would rather suffer through false positives (I've already had one and the followup biopsy) than risk waiting until it is too late.

Ysobelle
11-19-2009, 11:07 AM
All right. So. How about some science behind the new guidelines? This in-depth article explains why the new recommendations are actually carefully considered, and reflect current world-wide medical thought on breast health.


http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2009/11/mammograms-guidelines-are-causing-confusion-but-they-make-sense


The article itself is long, and contains many links to further information. Please, just read it before you make up your mind or decide to be outraged simply on principle. This is an incredibly complex issue, and none of us are doctors (have I missed someone?) or WHO officials.

Lady Hefron
11-19-2009, 11:44 AM
All right. So. How about some science behind the new guidelines? This in-depth article explains why the new recommendations are actually carefully considered, and reflect current world-wide medical thought on breast health.


http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2009/11/mammograms-guidelines-are-causing-confusion-but-they-make-sense


The article itself is long, and contains many links to further information. Please, just read it before you make up your mind or decide to be outraged simply on principle. This is an incredibly complex issue, and none of us are doctors (have I missed someone?) or WHO officials.

I have read this article and I'm still outraged. I understand it is a complex issue, however, I also know several women (one a very good friend) who would be dead if they didn't catch a tumor by mamogram at ages under 50.

Breast cancer is almost 100% treatable if caught early enough. I wonder how the cost of a mamogram every year for 10 years compares to surgery, breast replacement, radiation or chemo therapy then critical care hopitalization preceeding death. Instead of discouraging early detection we should be incouraging it.

I apologize if my passion on this issue bothers anyone. I have just known too many families touched by this tragedy.

Betty Munro
11-19-2009, 12:25 PM
hmmm ... think of the savings to the government programs (such as social security) that don't kick in until we are 70-something.
I'm just saying ... ulterior motives???

Katie O'Connell
11-19-2009, 01:08 PM
I should just mention, even IF coverage for mamograms ever changes to reflect this new guideline, that does NOT mean that you will be denied service if you want a mamogram earlier than the guideline.

I am constantly surprised to find out how many people mistake the words 'not covered' for 'not available.' Just because it's not covered by your plan, doesn't mean you can't have it.

I know I'd pay the full cost to get a mamogram if I thought I had a lump, and I don't think there's a doctor out there who wouldn't take my money if I wanted one, guidelines or no.

LadyLaura
11-19-2009, 01:22 PM
On reviewing the article:

I think that part of the frustration stems from the fact that there is no replacing mammograms and breast exams with a "better" or "more advanced" screening tool. If that were the case, I, for one, would rest easier with fewer tests with a more accurate screening process. Unfortunately, this isn't happening, so it feels like we're taking a step back.

I am willing to accept the fact that for SOME women, yearly mammograms may not be necessary, but I strongly believe that the choice should be between the patient and her doctor. And knowing your own body, of course is part of taking care charge of your health. I do fear that too many women will skip mammograms, when it isn't being drilled into your head to get one annually. The more hoops you have to jump (authorizations or whatever), the fewer women will get one, whether they are at risk or not, and that's a bad thing.

I don't, however, believe that the government and insurance companies are going to conspire to deprive women of needed mammograms. I'm not a fan of insurance companies, that's for sure. And I do believe that the end result will be that fewer women will get them, but like I said, not buying into the whole evil empire thing.

LadyLaura
11-19-2009, 01:27 PM
I should just mention, even IF coverage for mamograms ever changes to reflect this new guideline, that does NOT mean that you will be denied service if you want a mamogram earlier than the guideline.

I am constantly surprised to find out how many people mistake the words 'not covered' for 'not available.' Just because it's not covered by your plan, doesn't mean you can't have it.

I know I'd pay the full cost to get a mamogram if I thought I had a lump, and I don't think there's a doctor out there who wouldn't take my money if I wanted one, guidelines or no.

If you EVER think you have a lump, it would surely be covered. I've had mammos in my 30's for that reason, absolutely covered by insurance.

Also, if you are at high risk for breast cancer, you are in a different category, and would still be advised to get mammograms more frequently. It just takes an authorization from your doc to the insurance co, it's not a problem at all. I've been going through the process for years. ;-) You just have to stay on top of it, and manage your own health care.

Sorcha Griannon
11-19-2009, 10:32 PM
From what I have heard, the insurance company that I work for will continue covering mammograms under the old guidelines. Same with other companies that I have seen.


Sorcha

Ysobelle
11-20-2009, 12:07 AM
But if, statistically, the new guidelines are more realistic, the old ones are merely giving women a false sense of security.

It's not as if they're going to come to your house and stop you doing a self-exam. And if you have a family history, or find a lump, you're still going to be covered. This is all just about changing guidelines to be more in line with statistical reality. Everyone will have the story of a lump they wouldn't have found. Not everyone looks at the whole picture as it affects women worldwide. That's what these organisations are for.

And yes, you're still your own best advocate. That's never going to change.

wendyzski
11-20-2009, 12:34 AM
See, those guidelines make sense to me for people like me - with no history of breast cancer or ANY cancer for that matter in the family.

I have been getting my annuals since I turned 40 like a good girl, but these new one might prompt me to ask my doc "Do I REALLY need them annually, or would every 2-3 years be better until I hit 50-ish?". Because it is radiation exposure after all.

LadyLaura
11-20-2009, 10:47 AM
But if, statistically, the new guidelines are more realistic, the old ones are merely giving women a false sense of security.

It's not as if they're going to come to your house and stop you doing a self-exam. And if you have a family history, or find a lump, you're still going to be covered. This is all just about changing guidelines to be more in line with statistical reality. Everyone will have the story of a lump they wouldn't have found. Not everyone looks at the whole picture as it affects women worldwide. That's what these organisations are for.

And yes, you're still your own best advocate. That's never going to change.

I wouldn't say that the old guidelines give a false sense of security, any more than the new ones do. They are saying that the number of false positives, and the cancers that they find that are too aggressive for treatment anyway, compared to the number of "saves," make it not worth it for women in their 40's. I would think that a "middle ground" approach for women in their 40's who aren't at risk might make more sense--fewer mammograms, perhaps.

What is the real shame here is that this cancer kills so many women, and we don't have a better diagnostic tool for it.

Ysobelle
11-20-2009, 11:26 AM
Well, if you wanna get right down to it, I think the real shame is we don't have a cure for cancer.

Gellis Indigo
11-20-2009, 11:32 AM
Well, if you wanna get right down to it, I think the real shame is we don't have a cure for cancer.

Exactly.

Gellis Indigo
11-21-2009, 07:35 AM
Sad, but timely.

Stefanie Spielman, wife of Ohio State Buckeye and NFL player Chris Spielman, passed away on Thursday, following a 12 year fight with cancer, begining with breast cancer.

I've been following the love story of Stefanie and Chris since he was a lineman and she was a cheerleader for the Buckeyes. It is truly and beautiful, and inspirational, story.

From the article (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4672569):

Stefanie Spielman was 30 years old and three months pregnant in 1998 when she detected a lump in her breast. She later miscarried and discovered she had cancer. She survived four bouts with cancer before a fifth recurrence in March.

Chris Spielman was playing linebacker with the Buffalo Bills when he decided to give up football for a year to stay home with his wife and children. When his wife lost her hair because of chemotherapy treatments, he shaved his head.

The Spielmans became advocates for breast-cancer detection and research, winning several awards for their dedication to the cause.

The Spielmans raised more than $6 million for research at Ohio State through the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

She helped form a support group for young women with breast cancer, hosted an annual event that honored cancer survivors and created a fund to help breast cancer patients and their families who struggled financially.
She was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 2002 for her work.

"We have lost a leader in the fight against cancer," seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong said. "Stefanie was a living example of courage and strength to everyone around her. "

Stefanie Spielman is survived by her husband and their four children, Madison, Noah, Macy and Audrey.

Rest well, Stefanie.
Chris, the thoughts and prayers of millions are with you and the children.

Lady Hefron
11-21-2009, 12:40 PM
Damn. Rest well and peace to her family.

shadowcat546
11-21-2009, 09:00 PM
what the ever-loving he*l !!!
How dare they!! I got cancer (colon) at 29!! and again (lung no I'm not a smoker) at 31 !! My docs have been pushing for mamograms for 5 yrs now (from age 35 onward, cause my case is so rare)
__+___ok, I take back my spurt of anger. I don't know all the details, so I retract my opinion__+
I have to get one within the next few months!! they d*mn well better pay. It's preventative! (as well as checking out your own body, and voicing all concerns about "hey doc, my body is doing X, do you think it's ok?"
they need to leave it alone! No one can pay for those mam's tests out of pocket. (it's scary enough getting it done)
they____(government? /people_ who want to deny us a chance at mamograms or preventative checking methods) need to butt out.
~~I go to Karmanos, in Detroit for current procedures~~
grrr... At least on this forum, I can keep up on the scuttlebutt
*_*_Yes, I am at a higher risk. Try telling that to Social Security. They say I'm not sick enough to draw Soc. S. Disability anymore!

Ysobelle
11-22-2009, 12:54 AM
what the ever-loving he*l !!!:censored:
How dare they!! I got cancer (colon) at 29!! and again (lung no I'm not a smoker) at 31 !! My docs have been pushing for mamograms for 5 yrs now (from age 35 onward, cause my case is so rare)
I have to get one within the next few months!! they d*mn well better pay. It's preventative! (as well as checking out your own body, and voicing all concerns about "hey doc, my body is doing X, do you think it's ok?"
they need to leave it alone! No one can pay for those mam's tests out of pocket. (it's scary enough getting it done) they need to butt out.

grrr... At least on this forum, I can keep up on the scuttlebutt



You are high-risk. The new guidelines don't apply to you.

Another point: it was studies like this that set the original guidelines. Saying doctors and scientists need to "butt out" is really cutting off your nose to spite your face.

If new research comes up with new guidelines, I'm not going to reject them out of hand. I'm going to research why they were made, and come to my own conclusions.

Lady Hefron
11-22-2009, 11:34 AM
I was watching one of the "Talking Head" news shows this morning and one of the ladies on there actually read on of the articles in the health care bill. It said, and I seriously paraphrase here because I can't talk all the legalize:

The insurance companies will be compelled to follow all guidelines put out by the group that published the Mammogram guidelines.

So there you go. It is actually in the language of the bill. We need our legislatures to carefully READ this bill before passing it.

Gellis Indigo
11-22-2009, 12:12 PM
We need our legislatures to carefully READ this bill before passing it.

It would be nice if there were given the bill, and time to read it before being forced to vote. :unamused:

LadyLaura
11-22-2009, 12:12 PM
I was watching one of the "Talking Head" news shows this morning and one of the ladies on there actually read on of the articles in the health care bill. It said, and I seriously paraphrase here because I can't talk all the legalize:

The insurance companies will be compelled to follow all guidelines put out by the group that published the Mammogram guidelines.

So there you go. It is actually in the language of the bill. We need our legislatures to carefully READ this bill before passing it.

Sure they will, as a MINIMUM standard of care. They are free to provide more than that, and I'm still not convinced that this means they won't approve requests for more frequent mammos.

Ysobelle
11-22-2009, 12:14 PM
And from what I'm reading, they won't.

Please, do your own research, and from many different sources. Don't believe what one person on one channel tells you. Look into it. Go to the CDC. Go to the Komen Foundation. Read the report yourself. This is important stuff, and everyone's saying something different. Don't reject it out of hand because it sounds scary.

There's so much misinformation out there, and so much "journalism of sensationalism and fear," I almost don't trust anyone.

Isabelle Warwicke
11-23-2009, 07:15 PM
The former director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, suggests (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BREAST_CANCER_SCREENING_HEALY?SITE=MAFIT&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT) to adhere to the former guidlines not the new ones, which were recommended by an independent panel, the Preventative Services Task-Force.

Honestly, I'm going to follow my own body knowledge and keep on giving myself monthly self-exams. I don't care what some randomly funded independant panel has to say or how much money they are aiming to save. I'm going to watch and wait to see what happens before jumping on the new guideline bandwagon.

Ysobelle
11-24-2009, 02:29 AM
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-closer23-2009nov23,0,5827047.story