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New Mammogram Guidelines: A Step Backward?

Original post made by FamilyHistory, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Nov 17, 2009

I'm concerned that the government is changing its recommendations for when and how often women should get mammograms.

After all we've been through to teach women to take care of themselves, this seems like we're going back to the Dark Ages. How many women will die from breast cancer in the future because it remained undetected in their 40's, when it could have been treated?

Thoughts?

Comments (28)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

you can look forward to this and more if the health care bill passes the senate.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Women are going to have to fight tooth 'n nail to survive. This is nothing new. Most nations generally view women as necessary but care little about whether they live or die. Children, frail seniors and women are usually very low on the list of priorities for this country. If women don't figure out ways to demand services that deserve, they will indeed drop like flies.


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm

The recent articles on breast cancel are bothersome to say the least. I don't understand what the problem is with doing regular screening starting at age 40. If that helps save lives than why not do it? What is the problem with "too many false positives" and "unnecessary biopsies" What woman wouldn't want to get tested? I've read some of the articles, but I cannot tell if the outrageous comments are from the people who conducted the recent studies or if it is a reporter paraphrasing something that someone else said. I seem to recall that one article said that the chances of survival don't change much for testing beginning at age 50 vs 40 but if it saves one life, isn't it worth it?

This suggests that you cannot trust the government or some group of so-called "experts". The only one watching your back is you and your family.


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Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:32 am

Well once again we have a group of folks hired by the government to study data already throughly reviewed by the American Cancer Society who now come up with a "results not worth the cost " conclusion without truly evaluating the cost of a woman not obtainng early detection and improved chance of cure. Lisa Baily MD, cancer speccialist and a vocal critic of the new study said it best ..( paraphase)..when you deny early detection you sentance the patient ( here a woman) to early death. I am sure we will soon hear other "expert panels" suggest more ways to deny effective health care on the basis of presumed cost --- just wait until Obamacare is in place!


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:48 am

Accept this part of the Obamacare program only if Michelle Obama waits until age 50 for another mammogram


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Posted by Teri
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:49 am

I have several friends (all in their 40's) who have had breast cancer, had suspicious lesions or unusual cell growth detected during routine mammograms. Some would not be with us had this new finding/recommendation been put in place. I don't understand how a panel of so-called "experts" can recommend this. We have made great strides in breast health. Why take significant strides backwards? How are the health care/insurance companies going to handle this new recommendation? Instead of paying for a yearly exam over 40, will they cease to pay for coverage until a woman is 50? It's bad enough as it is to navigate the health care web.


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Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:14 am

Sorry Qwerty-but Mr President, Michelle and his family and everyone in Congress will be specifically exempted from anything that is forced down our throats--afterall the "leaders' of this country can't be expected to get by on what they deem is best for the rest of us!


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Posted by Andy G.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

Wow...if this doesn't wake people up to how your newly elected, soon-to-be government health care system REALLY concerns themselves with your well being then you deserve exactly what all that "hope & change" promised.

By taking an entire generation of women out of the cancer treatment process (& subsequently relegate them to the deceased column) they begin to be able to justify their health care systems physical limitations. This is total hogwash & an insult to cancer survivors & sufferers alike!


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Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:14 am

This is just the beginning of the end.
For those people that wanted change...well fools you got it and you deserve all you get or in this what you don't get.
Because of all the weak minded leaders in DC..we are all in for an ugly ride.


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Posted by Michael Almasey
a resident of Happy Valley
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:21 am

Anybody want to join me in being an expatriate abroad in Australia, Tahiti, or some other sub-tropical island for the next few years until all this madness blows over?

W.A.S.S. (we are soooooo screwed!) How's that "hopey changey" thing working out for you now?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:34 am

By some of your logic, women should be having mammograms monthly, or even daily.

ALL health screening recommendations involve evaluating the cost/benefit scenario. Unless we want the entire population to start every day with a battery of screening tests--and exactly who is going to pay for all that?--lines have to be drawn, and the value judgments that go into them can sometimes seem arbitrary.

The proposed recommendations are in line with current breast cancer screening protocols for Canada and Europe (and, I suspect, Australia). I haven't looked for the numbers but I rather doubt that breast cancer survival rates differ significantly among those countries.


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Posted by Naysayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

Three utterly FANTASTIC shining examples of current world health care systems there Jill, [portion removed by staff for dripping with excess sarcasm] precisely just what we do NOT need to model ourselves, our health care systems infrastructure or our baseline testing procedures upon.

Actually, thanks for helping make our point!


Canada? You gotta be kidding!


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Posted by Teri
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

Jill,

Have you known anyone over the age of 40 with breast cancer? If you do and the cancer was agressive, large in size, near the chest wall, then they would not be alive today if not for early screening. No one is recommending daily tests or monthly tests. Yearly exams are sufficient. Yes, lines will have to be drawn. The bottom line is to keep women alive who otherwise would die of this insidious cancer if screening is left to the latter years.


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Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

Oh come on now. This is a government health care panel that made these recommendations. We trust them implicitly, don't we? After all, I'm sure they all have medical degrees and oncology specialties. You wouldn't expect to find any cost cutting bureaucrats on such a panel, would you? God help us all.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

I think that insurance company's don't want to spend the money on women. Thousands of women have died of breast cancer before the age of 40.

In my opinion, this policy is consistent with attitudes towards women's health care in general; they can die because there are too many gals around already. FIGHT BACK...MAKE SERIOUS DEMANDS ON YOU DOCTORS. Pressure you elected officials and organize to get what you deserve...a long healthy life! NO MERCY!!!


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Posted by Questioner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I agree that this is an ill-advised conclusion by this medical commission. Question, though: I was under the impression that this is a somewhat independent research panel and is one that was not originally convened by the new administration. Can someone state for a fact that these medical researchers and commissioners are indeed all appointed by this administration and NOT a carry-over from the previous administration? Research/advisory groups like these rarely complete their study and conclusions within a brief 8-month period.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

The new guidelines refer to "public health" not individual health care. The guidelines specifically say that the decision concerning when to start having mammograms is to remain between the patient and doctor. From what I hear, very few doctors will be following the guidelines as a rule.


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Posted by noone
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Welcome to the Death Panels
They said it wouldn't happen, but here they come. These government panels will set the standards of care for the "public option" insurance alternative.
Women may now still go for exams at an earlier age and greater time frequency. But once the "public option" government insurance drives out all private insurance competition, the only option for the public (women) will be this new standard.
They panel already admits that with this standard more women will die, but, you know, they have to look at the costs involved.
Oh well, you gotta do what's for the common good; buck up, sometimes you gotta take one for the team.


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm

"They panel already admits that with this standard more women will die, but, you know, they have to look at the costs involved."

I believe I read something similar in one of the articles. Even if one life is saved from screening at 40 instead of 50, isn't it worth it?

I agree with the other post that said we can be sure Mrs. Obama and others in DC aren't going to subject themselves to these new standards.







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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm

mooseturd is a registered user.

Hey folks. This is the work of some obscure committee. It is not the recommendation of the government. The committee just decided that spending $400,000 isn't worth saving one life of a woman in her 40's. You might decide differently if it's your life.

For cryin out lowd, this outfit even said not to do breast self exam. Go figure! That's saving boe coo bucks.


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Posted by Ruth.
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm

False positives are a problem. When I was 30 a Dr said I should havr a biopsy. Not wanting a mini-mutlation for the unknown, I decided to ignore. I'm 65+ and have only had 3 - 4 mamos since, without incident.


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Posted by !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm

For anyone who is surprised by this decision by the Obama Admin, I am surprised that you are surprised. If you're surprised, then you simply have not been paying attention.

There are only two things wrong with Obama's healthcare plan.

1. It is not about "health"

2. It is not about "care"

What it IS about is creating yet another financial pipeline directly into the pockets of the democrat bureaucrats. They want to keep as much of this largess, so postponing, rationing, and denying care will be high priority on their checklist.

(PS...I am a former hospital administrator and know Obama's ACORN Southside Chicago territory very very well.)


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Posted by Questioner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:31 pm

To: "!", who says "For anyone who is surprised by this decision by the Obama Admin, I am surprised that you are surprised. If you're surprised, then you simply have not been paying attention. "

This was my question: How can we tell this was a committee/commission who performed this study *solely* under the current administration's direction? Could anyone with actual information on when this commission was convened and how long the study went on PLEASE give the actual facts, not simply regurgitate the same "death panel" scare tactics? As I said and am repeating, I would like some actual information, as I think others would appreciate as well.

Thank you.


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Posted by Lisa B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

It really is tiresome to wade through all the comments by conspiracy theorists. You aren't going to let facts get in the way of your thinking, so why post? Keep the politics to a necessary minimum, and talk about the actual issue. You can make your own conclusions based on the results, no one is talking about a change in coverage. If you want an annual screening, get one. I'm not so interested in the extra dose of radiation, or the 30% change of a false positive and 7-8% change of an unnecessary biopsy. As far as the "government" either abandoning you or being out to get you, come on. Time to grow up and realize preventative care can never be perfect. People die. Very sad, but not likely to be anything any society can do about it. Do as much as you can to protect yourself - have a screening every year with insurance, or more often if you want. If you're in an elevated risk group, your insurance may pay for semi-annual screenings. This study just summarizes the results of screening and puts them in context from an epidemiological standpoint There is no "decision by the Obama Administration" whatever that was supposed to mean. You can absolutely "decide differently" as posted above. It's up to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:23 am

Ruth, you rolled the dice and won. Congratulations....

A health professional once told me: "You're reponsible for your own health". Think about it...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MainStreetDiva
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

I plan to do some research, to find the names of the 'experts' on this committee who made this recommendation. Then perhaps send an open letter to them via several major (national) newspapers.

You better believe that insurance companies, over time, will change their existing rules and refuse to cover mammograms for women under 50. They will wait for the furor to die down, then slowly start to sneak the changes in under the radar.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

"!",

"I am a former hospital administrator and know Obama's ACORN Southside Chicago territory very very well"

KEEP YOU DAY JOB. YOUR FICTION WRITING ISN'T CUTTING IT.

I'm laughing out loud!!!!

"I am a former hospital administrator "

!!!???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by noone
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:12 am

Here's a link to info about the study

Web Link

Who did it:
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)

Title:
"Effects of Mammography Screening Under Different Screening Schedules Model Estimates of Potential Benefits and Harms"
Date: November 2009

Who:
By Jeanne Mandelblatt, MD, MPH; Kathleen Cronin, PhD; Stephanie Bailey, PhD; Donald Berry, PhD; Harry de Koning, MD, PhD; Gerrit Draisma, PhD; Hui Huang, MS; Sandra Lee, DSc; Mark Munsell, MS; Sylvia Plevritis, PhD; Peter Ravdin, MD, PhD; Clyde Schechter, MD, MA; Bronislava Sigal, PhD; Michael Stoto, PhD; Natasha Stout, PhD; Nicolien van Ravesteyn, MSc; John Venier, MS; Marvin Zelen, PhD; and Eric Feuer, PhD; for the Breast Cancer Working Group of the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET)*

Purpose:
"The information in this report is intended to help clinicians, employers, policymakers, and others make informed decisions about the provision of health care services. This report is intended as a reference and not as a substitute for clinical judgment."

"This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for the development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products may not be stated or implied."

It is not an independent study. It uses data from already existing data bases and studies. It re-evaluates different screening models and is a restatement of the recommended screening guide they issued from 2002.


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