Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Mammography until 50?! Tell it to Her

The thing about the perfect best friend is that you want everyone you know to meet her.

Forget that she loves you even when you're a bitch. Forget that on a visit to your family's she walked your infant nephew all night long--while sick as a dog--so that you could get some sleep.

Don't even consider that she knows all the words to every 80's song and will sing them with very little prodding or alcohol when you can't remember the words. And don't even take into account her phenomenal dancing skills that would have secured her a job as the spotlight dancer on Solid Gold (that again will be performed with no prodding or alcohol).

Those aren't the reasons you wished she lived next door.

It's her heart and her smile and her laughter and her kindness that make her your number one gal.


My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer this year at the age of the 37.

You know why?

Because she had a mammography at the urging of her new physician just to establish a baseline.

A baseline!

The growth was the size of a grain of rice. One, tiny, little growth that led to a bilateral mastectomy, drains, chemotherapy, hair loss and the inability to lift her three small children (all 5 and under) for extended periods of time this year.

That baseline mammogram at 37 is what allowed doctors to catch her aggressive form of cancer before she even felt a lump--before it spread to other places in her body.

And now the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a statement indicating that women don't need to consider regular mammograms until age 50?!

There are no words to convey the rage I feel about this--so I direct you to my friend's feelings on the issue.

The American Cancer Society IS NOT changing their recommendation that women begin regular screening at the age of 40. (I couldn't be more proud to be part of their blogger's council.)

I am so afraid that women will believe this government entity--that insurance companies will believe them too.

The thing about my perfect best friend is that she is with me today--and will be for a long time thanks to an early mammogram.

You don't need to rely on figuring out when your mammogram is due. Check out this tool to get reminders to schedule yours.

If this makes you angry too, get involved! Check out the More Birthdays Campaign.

12 Deserve Mamma's Love:

Ms. Skywalker said...

I can't believe this, either.

I know far too many people that have been diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30's to ever change my thoughts on the topic.

PunditMom said...

I really can't believe this announcement. My first jaded thought was that this had to have something to with insurance companies trying to save money. O hoped I was wrong. But a friend who is into all this wonky stuff says that the report had to be released before health care legislation is passed, or else insurance companies would have been on the hook. Now there will be wiggle room. And you know they will take whatever wiggle room they can get.

This all makes me sick. Now I want a report to come out doing the same thing for prostate cancer screening. I know it won't.


Unknown said...

Good post we need to get the word out that this is not exceptable. I will be a two year survivor in January. I was diagnosd at the age of 41.

Maggie McGary said...

Amen. I could write almost this same post about my own best friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38. She felt a lump so her dr. sent her for a mammogram. That lump turned out to be nothing...but the mammo found something else, something small enough that she wouldn't have been able to feel it for a few years. That something was, of course, cancer. Lumpectomy? Forget that--my friend elected to have a double mastectomy--and thank god she did because it turned out that whole breast was riddled with cancer. ZERO margins--cancer clear up to the skin. Lymph node involvement. She had to endure 6 months of grueling chemo, 6 weeks of radiation and a slew of reconstructive surgeries. But she's alive today--41--and cancer free.

The thing that I've heard over and over again from cancer survivors is that they just KNEW something wasn't right. Whether it was a doctor who told them don't worry but they pursued it and got the cancer found, or the doctors urging a lumpectomy which would have left a breast full of cancer, I can think of story after story of survivors who ignored what their doctors were telling them because what their bodies were telling them turned out to be what they needed to be listening to.

Seriously--we can't let insurers who don't want to have to pay for women's medical care doom thousands of women to certain death with these ridiculous new recommendations.

Unknown said...


PFunky said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a beautiful writer, a phenomenal mom, sister and friend and I am proud that you are my best friend!

{sue} said...

Thank you. This infuriates me. And now they are recommending raising the age of routine Pap smears. So which types of male cancers are we going to let run rampant?

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have a good friend who found the tumor in her breast in her 30s during a self exam. And now they are saying those shouldn't be taught or encouraged either.

Our friend is still alive.

Whatever happened to common sense . . .

S said...

Amen. Thinking of your friend.

Carmen said...

Unbelievable. Thank you for sharing this information. Off to check out your friend's blog and the More Birthdays campaign!


p.s. Thanks for visiting my blog!

KC said...

Getting a biopsy next week. Small "suspicious nodule" found in Lefty. I am 37. Doc wanted me to watch it for 6 months but I did not feel comfortable with that. Imagine waiting 13 years! 50 is bullsh*t.

My Notting Hill said...

I'm with you and will not be following their guidelines. Two of my childhood friends discoverd cancer at age 39 and just 40 - one early by mammogram and one who did not (she put off her mammogram) My first friend is a 6 year survivor and my other dear friend passed on at age 42.