It's November and We're Still Talking About Breast Cancer

Routine mammograms did not detect this woman’s cancer. Let’s focus more on finding a cure, she says.

by • More.com Member { View Profile }

My husband brought the newspaper in from the front step the other day, took a look at the front page and said to me, “Uh oh, you’re not going to like this!” He was referring to the big breaking news…they’ve changed the guidelines regarding women and mammograms. You see, I have late stage breast cancer. And before diagnosis, I believed the early detection, happy pink October hype about mammograms. I know in the first person that mammograms are not the magic bullet that everyone thought they were—because how did the mammogram miss my cancer and allow it to infiltrate my whole body???
 
I want women to get the screening that is appropriate for THEM. Cancer is a very individualized disease, I question if you can truly draft an all-encompassing guideline for this wickedly chameleon-like disease. My dream would be for each medical team to advise women—after reading their medical history and TALKING to them one-on-one—of what is right for them. Mammograms have their place in the artillery of cancer detecting war chambers. The question is have we placed too much false emphasis on their abilities? And to that I would say a resounding “YES we have.” 
I am saddened if just one woman has to go through what I’ve gone through as the result of a postponed mammogram. And I am worried that insurance companies will rely on these guidelines and begin to start declining approvals for mammograms. Yet, I am happy that we are in the month of November and STILL talking about breast cancer. And I am pleased that the public is beginning to realize that mammograms and self exams are NOT the magic early detection wand they have been touted to be. As the mother of a 17-year-old daughter, I can only hope that in her lifetime we will no longer need to debate early detection methods. In her lifetime we will find a CURE for this deadly disease.

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