Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Monday, 28 April 2014

Breast cancer mammograms: overrated, overhyped and over-diagnosing, compounded by evidence of harm

Is it time to radically re-think the flawed philosophy behind the 'early detection' tenet of the breast cancer awareness movement? They go against the Hippocratic Oath (they do harm)! At last somebody else is saying it. It's why I've been refusing mammograms (and NOT supporting pink-ribbon "awareness" campaigns) for years; that and the pain of them (unbearable pain when you have fibromyalgia) and having had a false positive diagnosis of breast cancer myself back in the 1990's, with all the accompanying stress that brought. I cannot adequately describe how that diagnosis affected me (severely compounded by the fact that it was delivered with a total lack of tact and compassion, publicly in the busy corridor of a Spanish hospital), but I 'lost' several days where I could not function, could not speak, could not think, could not sleep, could not eat ... was enough to cause PTSD.

Yes, undoubtedly, this is not as bad as actually having cancer, but there was no way for me to know that at the time and, by then the harm was done.
"In calculating the role of population-based screening, the absence of benefit is only compounded by evidence of harm: 21.9% of breast cancers found through mammography screening represented over-diagnosis, according to the Swiss Medical Board. This means that one in five women who was told she had breast cancer after mammography screening received unnecessary treatment."
It's lucky I was sceptical and rejected the (barbaric) treatment offered me as the only option, or the end of this tale might have been very much worse indeed.

Breast cancer mammograms: overrated – and over-diagnosing women