The topic of annual breast cancer screenings is back in news after Canadian officials declare it’s not necessary for doctors to recommend mammograms to women with average risk factors, such as youth and no immediate family history of breast cancer. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care claims routine MRI’s and X-rays put women at risk for over-diagnosis and evasive procedures.
Canadian officials say that they want to move closer in-line with other medical and technically advanced nations, like the U.S. and U.K., who proceed, in recent years, with caution when recommending mammograms.
“We’re trying to reframe this set of guidelines away from a prescriptive approach, which makes a one-size-fits-all recommendation for women based on their age, and change it into a discussion between a woman and her doctor about the potential risks, about the potential benefits, and allow each woman to make a decision that’s right for her,” said Dr. Marcello Tonelli, the chair of the task force and a professor at the University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine, in Edmonton.
Across the border in the United States, medical officials tread carefully when discussing regular screenings. Most breast cancer advocates swear by annual screening, believing that early detection is key in this culture in which women expose themselves to so many risk factors.
According to a piece in The New York Times, because of the plethora of risk factors and potentialities of developing a wide range of cancer symptoms, many health professionals want to change the name of early stage cancer to more easily digestible euphemisms like ductal carcinoma in situ.
Basically, since doctors, when they look at your tissue and see cancer clusters, only give a prediction on whether or not that cluster will spread, they feel cancer overwhelms the conversation and you’ll panic, wanting to explore every option to save your life — that’s so narcissistic of you.
So in effort to help insurance companies save their enormous amounts of cash they hoard from your premiums — and to keep you away from radiation — doctors want to continue omitting treatment options and force you to ask for anything extra.
Considering that reports highlight the disconnect between African Americans and their health providers and professionals — irrespective of whether it’s from insurance companies racial profiling their applicants or some doctor’s silence and apprehension with their black patients — these recommendations seem to be either blind or purposeful one-size-fits-all policies, which is the aforementioned argument for changing cancer to more specific names.
Sound-off: Do you feel you should have to study before you visit your healthcare provider so you can ask the “right” questions opposed to waiting for the doctor to recommend treatment?