Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And The Abysmal Timing Award Goes To...

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued new guidelines suggesting women should wait until 50 to begin routine mammograms for breast cancer early detection in a front page story in today's Houston Comical. It seems that false positives are very expensive you see and the costs outweigh the benefits involved unless it happens to be you or your mother, wife, daughter, aunt, girlfriend or sister.

The task force also recommends against teaching breast self-examination because no data exists to show it reduces deaths. That would be news to many women including my best friends wife who recently detected a lump which turned out to be malignant breast cancer. I suppose if you are a professional athlete wearing pink the last few weeks you were duped and 25 years of messaging to raise awareness was pointless?

The timing of such an announcement during breast cancer awareness month is suspect and at a time when healthcare reform awaits a senate vote is simply outright stupid. Yet it does foretell what we can expect under Obamacare  when clinical guidelines rooted in data supplant physician judgement. I thought the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer succinctly summarized the core issue;

Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer...said the statistics suggest the task force is “essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them.”

Brawley added that the task force is saying screening 1,339 women in their 50s to save one life makes it worthwhile in that age group, but that screening 1,904 women in their 40s to save one life isn't.

The American Cancer Society, he said, believes the benefit outweighs the harm in both cases.
And this is precisely why The US survival rates for breast cancer surpass nations worldwide with socialized medicine. Women's groups should be rightly up in arms over this edict. Watch it hit the fan over the next few days.


Anonymous said...

I think I would like to have my wife around abit longer so I have to have to refuse to listen to the idiots that released the information.

Anonymous said...

I find your linking of these recommendations to "Obamacare" at least as stupid as you claim the recommendations to be. You have crafted a "Glen Beck-est" manipulation whereby you give very little of the information out of context in order to scare-monger and deride the recommendations and then WRONGLY attempt to attribute these to a plan that has no part in them.

You are the kind of "talking head" that will be screaming about "death panels" to derail a government funded health plan that will save millions of lives on the basis the it will decide to kill Grandma. You won't even care how mis-informed you are that the "death panels" will not kill but only pay to inform Grandma of her end of life treatment options and put Grandma in charge of her own decisions about her care.

I find your brand of Knee Jerk communication (I scarcely can term it journalism) is lazy, stupid, manipulative, and just plain disrespectful of your readers intellect. In the future, please be more careful to inform us not manipulate us.

The Group Guy said...

In the future have the courage to attach your name to your comments. Of course that would require you to actually think about what you say instead of just calling me lazy stupid or manipulative. Look here and educate yourself http://thegroupguy.blogspot.com/2009/02/federal-coordinating-council-for.html