November 22, 2009 in Letters

Idiotic screening advice

The Spokesman-Review
 

The latest breast cancer recommendations from a federal task force reduced the doctor-patient relationship to odds and dollars.

They recommend beginning breast cancer screenings later (age 50 instead of 40), having them done with less frequency (every other year), and not screening after age 74 (presumably, after 74, we “let them go”).

These recommendations would trim medical costs. From an article in The Spokesman (Nov. 17), “the modeling studies indicated that the added benefit of starting screening before age 50 was modest … .”

Simply put: The likelihood of a woman getting breast cancer between 40 and 50 is lower than after 50. Therefore, missing a few positives, i.e., the “modest” benefit, among women in their 40s, is outweighed by the savings. If that 40-something woman who missed the chance for early – and perhaps lifesaving – detection of breast cancer is important in your life, it will matter!

The American Cancer Society and the American Board of Radiologists disagree with the report. A Harvard radiology professor referred to the task force as “idiots.”

Let Rep. McMorris Rodgers and Sens. Cantwell and Murray hear your opinions. Health care/insurance reform requires thoughtful prioritization, tort reform, a smaller price tag and preservation of the doctor-patient relationship.

Gary Varrella, Ph.D.

and Linda V. Muir, M.D.

Veradale, Wash.


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