To Mammogram or Not to Mammogram? You Decide

by Wesley J. Smith

In the last few years, the medical establishment has gone into full reverse of their once urgent call for us to get regular cancer screenings in order to catch diseases early. Don’t get that PSA blood screening, we are now told.  We don’t need mammograms for younger women. The annual physical? Time to let it go.  Even colonoscopies have been called into question. False positives cause more harm, don’t you know. Yadda. Yadda.

I have been skeptical, particularly since the recommendations seem willing to allow individuals to be harmed in the name of group outcomes, and moreover, seem to be about Obamacare cost containment paradigms.

Now, a study on mammograms shows that younger women who receive mammograms are more likely to survive breast cancer. From the Harvard University press release:

A new analysis has found that most deaths from breast cancer occur in younger women who do not receive regular mammograms. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that regular screening before age 50 should be encouraged.

That’s in direct conflict to what we have, of late, been told about how there should be fewer mammograms–particularly for the young.

The bottom line: Discuss these issues with your doctor, and the two of you decide. Yes, there are false positives, which present risks. But the big C is a terrible thing. And I have friends who found cancer early because of routine screenings, apparently saving their lives.

As for me, I get screened. Indeed, I just received my latest PSA results yesterday after a good yearly physical. Happily, I received the ”all clear.”

Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.