New Health Care Recommendation- NO MAMMOGRAM FOR YOU!

Three years ago I thought I was going to lose my best friend, then 38 years old, to breast cancer. With no history of cancer in her family, she happened to find a lump and by then it was stage 3 cancer, into her lymph nodes. She had never had a mammogram, and why should she have? As a rule, insurance companies only pay for routine mammograms after age 40. It is estimated that about 6% of women under 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. That doesn’t seem like much, does it? No, until you realize that in 2005 (the CDC’s most current stats), 186,486 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed. That brings the total number of women under 40 to over 11,000. Eleven thousand women who won’t detect their breast cancer unless they are able to feel a lump themselves because they are too young for a routine mammogram. That’s a lot of women- wives, mothers, sisters, daughters…Annual mammograms for women starting at 40 have reduced the death rate from cancer by 15%.

But under Obama’s health care plan not only will mammograms not be recommended for women under 40, they won’t be recommended for women IN their 40’s.

Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests

Yes, it seems an independent government panel has found that the risks of mammograms are greater than the benefits.

The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and other experts are against this change in recommendation.
With health care reform legislation waiting congressional approval, this could change what insurance companies cover in terms of screening.

Read it for yourself HERE.

P.S. My friend went through treatment and so far has been cancer-free since 2007.

19 thoughts on “New Health Care Recommendation- NO MAMMOGRAM FOR YOU!”

  1. Claudia –

    When I heard this story a day or two ago I about hit the ceiling. It was just a few years ago they moved the “baseline” age down to like 30, and the 20s if you have a family history of breast cancer.

    Now they aren’t even recognizing the age of 40 as a baseline … But 50!??!

    Know what my conspiracy is on this? Yeah, the old “death panel” thing.

    See, for the last several months of the gov.-run healthcare debate the reality of rationing (as they do in the UK) according to severity and advanced stage of the disease (and breast cancer not detected early enough does tend to get ‘nasty’ fast) and the patient’s age would be taken heavily into consideration of whether or not to treat said patients.

    If you look at the UK stats on breats cancer they have the highest mortality rate because of neglectful and late testing, and upon discovery of the disease it is so advanced not to bother treating it.

    It’s where I think they are trying to go with this new testing guideline BS.

    Anyhow, where in hell are the women’s groups out bitching about this? They are always screaming (as did the democrat representatives in congress just before the vote a couple weeks ago in the House) that women are continually slighted under the USA healthcare system. Yet, not one peep on this???

    I have known several women who have had breast cancer issues … and guess what. They were all between the ages of 30 and 50.

    Something else for your consideration: according to my GYN (and I’ll spare the fellas here) women no longer need yearly testing in ‘other’ female [areas], that every couple yrs is enough.

    Exactly what on Earth is going on?

    This IS pre-rationing mentality.

  2. This is terrible medicine. Screening mammograms may not save money, but they save lives. The American Cancer Society overwhelmingly believes the benefits of screening women aged 40 to 49 outweigh its limitations. The task force that determined this-United States Preventive Services Task Force- is very influential in determining Medicare and insurance reimbursement for these exams. Unfortunately the data used by the task force is flawed and likely influenced by goverment cost cutting measures. This is the beginning of what may be an unhealthy future for all of us.

  3. I’m still waiting for my female liberal friends to get angry at all of this. No such luck. Everything is still Bush’s fault to them.

  4. Honey, this recommendation comes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is a Government-appointed expert panel. And it has been around for many years. It appears to have been started up under Reagan in 1984.

    I suggest that you check who appointed its current members, before you blame Obama / pardon Bush.

  5. As much as I hate to spoil the fun of those people here who loved to get irate before they know all of the facts …

    Here’s the list of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

    The Chair is Ned Calonge, its Vice Chair is Diana Pettiti, and it seems that both are actually Bush appointees from 2004 (as are many of its other members), as you can see from this link:

    So let the back sliding begin …

  6. “As much as I hate to spoil the fun” … are you a woman?

    Have you followed the facts about breast cancer? This latest change in approach to preventative/early testing/screening flies in the face of the last two decades of stressing just the opposite on age.

    Honey’s “Bush” comment was matter of fact about her liberal friends. It was a generalized ~sigh~ of the usual double standard that seems to be the norm anymore where these things are concerned. Bush hold overs? So what? If they were Clinton hold overs during the Bush Admin., and this same turnabout in the screening protocol of the female population for a female disease was being done, you would hear blame upon Bush from women’s groups and demands from female democrats in Congress for hearings.

    Fact is, if you watched the circus play in the House 2 weekends ago before the House vote on Pelosi’s HC bill the democrats made a point of parading their female members upto the microphones to damn not only the existing healthcare system for its sexist failures regarding women, but also accusing the republicans standing in the way of government run healthcare of literally wishing ill upon the female population of this country … and that parade was because of the repubs’ firm resistence to fed funding of abortion in the stinking bill.

    You do not start screening for breast cancer at 50, plain and simple. So where the hell are those parading female dem congress members on the heels of today’s 180 on the subject.

    And I wouldn’t ever think to use the word “fun” in a debate regarding breast cancer. Not if you’d ever known anyone who had had it or died from it.

    This IS a pre-rationing move, and an indication of where our healthcare practices will be stearing under full government control. And it’s happening under this “president” and this democrat led Congress while they’re trying to ram through said HC while lying through their rotten teeth that we’ll all be so well taken care of by them.

    Now, if you truly wish to go full-political on the subject that’s a can of worms I think you might have just gotten a sniff of. After all, I take your last 2 comments as baiting the discussion into those waters.

  7. BTW, of the women I know who have had breast cancer only 1 actually found a ‘lump’ with self exam.

    The others either had a vague ‘mass’ detected in the dr’s office by the doctor’s ‘experienced’ physical exam … or had the mass detected on a mammogram where it was either too small or too obstructed by breast tissue to detect at home.

    A large percentage of lumps usually are not cancerous. But a history of fibroid cysts is usually recorded with the baseline screenings at a younger age.

    (12/08) […] “Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women age 25 to 49, and these young patients also have worse overall survival and increased risk of cancer coming back compared to older women, so it is important that we try to understand how the cancer develops and the measures that help prevent it,” says the study’s lead investigator, Karthik Ghosh, M.D.

    The average age of benign breast disease diagnosis in the 4,460 women included in this study was 39 years old. Within that group, 326 women eventually – sometimes decades later – developed breast cancer. […]

    Looking at the Breast Cancer Worldwide chart you’ll note the Incidence of women in the US is high compared to countries, like the UK Netherlands, Denmark and Canada, but our survival rate is better due to the early and often screening (which would make our number higher) and the willing treatment for women in the throws of the cancer … unlike those government run socialized HC systems of the countries I just mentioned.

    The next graph shows the risk by age, however …

    […] While breast cancer is less common at a young age (i.e., in their thirties), younger women tend to have more aggressive breast cancers than older women, which may explain why survival rates are lower among younger women. […]

    So, early mammograms to establish a baseline in women is important in spotting any abnormalities as she ages.

    The fact is, this Administration’s and the pushy congress’s mantra on better HC in this country is early testing and prevention. Yet, breast cancer is only 2nd to lung cancer in killing women and we’re moving the bar of early detection on it 20 yrs later???

    I’m having a real hard time accepting this, after listening to [them] push and push women to get in for the test over the last 2-3 decades.

    Now we’re just honky-donky until age 50? Bullshit.

  8. Drillanwr, I will admit that you are correct in at least one way.

    Given that a committee headed by Bush appointees is responsible for this recommendation, it is a little surprising that Honey’s liberal friends are not as incensed about this as she is.

    Did you read the report I linked to, though?

    If you do, I think you might find that the actual recommendations are not quite as bad or extreme as they are being portrayed in the MSM and non-MSM blogs.

  9. “Drillanwr, I will admit that you are correct in at least one way.

    Given that a committee headed by Bush appointees is responsible for this recommendation, it is a little surprising that Honey’s liberal friends are not as incensed about this as she is.”

    You really are fishing. Okay, so, these are Bush hold overs. I, for one, was screaming for Bush to fire ALL Clinton hold overs after his Inauguration … and especially AFTER 9/11 in the CIA and FBI. Keep trolling.

    As for Bush appointees, the man was known to ‘get along’ by appointing “moderates” (see: closet libs). Your argument is not only off topic, especially in the context of what this means in terms of socialized HC, but in women’s HC and attitudes towards it in general. THIS is a step backward.

    Yeah, your link cites a Canadian group and the AMA (traitors). Warning bells …

    I also tend to discredit any ‘medical report’ that stresses test “anxiety” as a determining factor in testing and further testing patients for nasty things that might make them really really sick for a long time until it kills them.

    Must be pretty damn ‘anxious’ having both breasts hacked off, and mountains of chemo and radiation to the brink of WISHING you were dead, all the while wishing you had been tested and detected earlier.

    I stated above, I have known several women who had breast cancer (none related to me or each other) and all were between the ages of 30-50. Never knew anyone over 50 with it. Watched one die from it, leaving behind her kids.

    I have two daughters in their early/mid 20s. Both had baseline mammograms at 21.

  10. cubabuzz,

    Regardless of who appointed whom, this very same panel noted a slight decrease in mammogram exams in women over forty about six months ago and its experts stressed the importance of the yearly exams.

    So, what has changed between then and now?

    Also remember that for certain sectors, Bush appointed whomever he believed was best for the job, regardless of their political affiliation, unlik eour current douchebag in chief. And if youll notice, on that board there sits not one single oncologist and most, with the exception of the chair, are all professors or deans – members of academia. And, as such, the probability that they are liberal democrats is exponentially high. And, again as such, the probability that this is a political decision moreso than a medical one is as exponentially high.

  11. As a physician I can say that most of our organizations-save the AAPS and a few select others-have leaders who are progressives/socialists. These tend to be the doctors who are not in the trenches taking care of patients, but instead occupy a large portion of their time in non-medical pursuits. This is especially true in those who almost exclusivley feed at the public trough such as academicians and emergency room physicians. So yes, the task force has appointees that lean strongly towards government thinking; and as much as I prefer Bush over the current regime, he had strong progressive leanings in many areas and it is no surprise that people under him would approve of the current composition of this task force.

  12. Val,
    As usual, you are so good.

    Why does a liberal like cubabuzz get his high on gotchas? The point is today it is government policy that this decision was made. And today it is bad policy. What is it going to take to get my liberal friends riled up against choices being foisted on us today?
    My “Bush’s fault” comment was a metaphor about how liberals are shifting blame to the previous administration for everything that is wrong now.
    When liberals are not, Klavan-and-the-culture-like shutting me up because only they are allowed to speak, they are blaming Bush for everything and absolving Obama for any problems today or choices he has made.

    The fact is conservatives blamed Bush when he did wrong things out loud, me included. I have yet to hear a liberal criticize Obama for anything, in particular for all of the promises he has broken or for things they screamed about when Bush did them.
    So enough with the reminders that the recommendations come from Bush appointees. I am an idea person, not a cult of personality person. My point was why aren’t my liberal friends unhappy about all of the bad that is going on at this time? It was a generic idea.
    I have yet to agree with one thing this administration is doing. And if I do agree, it is with a yes, but.
    With Bush, my disagreements were many but at least he lowered my taxes, made my portfolio grow a lot, supported Israel, and kept me safe. Above all, he kept terrorists where they belonged, under military control; he loved this country and did not try to make it subservient to a world court or the U.N.

    The mammogram decision is a disastrous one and if it came under the Bush administration or Bush appointees, does cubabuzz imagine that the outrage here would be any less vehement? We must take this decision in light of the other horrors suggested for health care to come under this administration.

    Privatize health care, privatize medicare, privatize all of our personal decisions, allow us to buy insurance across state lines, stop goofy law suits and make losers pay through the nose when they lose them, and make health care expenses tax deductible for all of us. If I can make my own choice of what I want in my coverage, I would not include starting exams at 50.

  13. “The mammogram decision is a disastrous one and if it came under the Bush administration or Bush appointees, does cubabuzz imagine that the outrage here would be any less vehement?”

    No, I just ask that people DIRECT the outrage where it BELONGS and not just assign it where it happens to be CONVENIENT. Be HONEST.

    And, Honey, I would thank you to stop slurring me by calling me a liberal. I’ve never called you names or said you weren’t a conservative etc.

  14. Okay, now I’m REALLY questioning the timing of this revisionist mammogram report that pushes the screening age to 50:

    Given her and Madonna’s constant “flashing”, am I one of the few women of 50 that doesn’t feel the need to flash everyone my very well-kept body … and sans plastic surgeon???

  15. This is unreal and borders in the absurd, but then that seems to be the “norm” these days!

    I personally know 5 breast cancer survivors :)(yeahh!!) who were diagnosed and treated in their late 30s and early 40s!

    I wish you well 🙂 Melek

    “Prevention is better than cure.” ~ Erasmus

  16. cubabuzz,
    Is it a slur to call someone a liberal? Is that what passes for name calling nowadays?
    You could not call me a non conservative because it wouldn’t be factual. Everything I write gives evidence that I am a right wing conservative and proud of it.
    So far I see no evidence of you having conservative leanings, so I figured you were a liberal.
    Anyway, whatever your politics, and I know it’s
    a free country, but you are generally, quite an irritating commentator to me here. (Your name is cute; it reminds me of the flies that buzz around the ears during the night and drive someone mad.)
    You not only nitpick in the most extraordinary ways, you deliberately mistake our responses and revert to continually making your small point as if repetition will hit it home.
    I much prefer people like Val who know how to conduct an argument.
    But, I do have to hand it to you. You do generate lot of responses.

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