Is it me, or has some segment of the medical community declared an all out-and-out war on women in this country?
The already controversial “new guidelines” regarding mammograms and breast-screening generally want to take this out of the “routine” category. Now they want women to only get pap smears every couple of years. Since when did M.D. start standing for mighty dumb?
In both cases, it’s supposedly because of the “low incidence” of cancerous tumors that either exam identifies. Well, if you happen to be among the women who fall into that “low incidence” category, I guess you cease to matter.
I know a few women who fit this "low incidence" category. Chances are good that you do, too. Do you think they don’t matter? No? Me either. Clearly, Breast Cancer Awareness really is so last month.
Granted, the guidelines don’t apply to women who have family histories of breast or cervical cancer. But what about all those women of varying ages who have no reason to suspect they’ll fall victim to one of these horrid diseases?
In recent days, I’ve seen dozens of women on the news show circuit, some who found cancers in their 20s, others closer to my age give or take a few years, who are only alive today thanks to those “routine” screenings.
As a woman who falls into that black hole of the age 40-49 set that is now being told such screenings aren’t necessary, I’m a little pissed off. Especially when there’s data that shows that 17 percent of breast-cancer deaths occur in women age 40 to 50. That’s roughly 1 in 6. Oh well. Write them off.
Cheers to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He took this issue on the other night and did everything but call it stupidity. Most other doctors I've seen though don't seem to be raising a ruckus about it.
I can see the stage being set for the insurance companies to start denying annual coverage for these visits and tests. Just about every major health insurance carrier has decried my view as “hype” and said that no one is rushing to change their coverage policies. Yet. Give it time.
You see, it wasn’t all that long ago that mammograms weren’t widely covered, if at all. Mind you, at that time you could get insurance coverage for Viagra – but not for a mammogram. (I always found that more than a little ironic. Pardon me for pointing this out, but I think a woman might tend to enjoy sex more if she’s alive. I’m just sayin.’)
If you’re a woman – or a man who happens to love one – spout off about this. It really could be a matter of life and death.