Friday, November 20, 2009

Speak Up About New Guidelines

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.


Karen Anne said...

The good news is government health insurance is not changing its policy about mammograms.

HHS Kathleen Sebelius landed on this like a ton of bricks.

dynochick (Jan) said...

Remember during the Clinton Admin. when insurance companies wanted to send women home within 24 hrs of giving birth? A press conference from Clinton himself to say 'no way', quickly made the insurances companies drop that idea like a hot potato. I wonder if that will pop back up.

I see company provided insurance making changes and requiring huge co pays for yearly exams or exams before the 40-50 yr mark.

GM health plans recently quit paying for stomach meds because they determined stomach problems were self inflicted by eating spicey foods. The GM exec said 'we need to quit eating chili fries.'

Why is it that insurance companies have no problem taking your money for years but when you suddenly need to use it it is unwarranted or a self inflicted condition?

But then I guess all that is important is that insurance company execs get their bonuses. I recently saw a list of the the top execs and their bonuses and they get huge $$$. Don't these people have a conscience?

Karen Anne said...


No, they have no consciences. Mind boggling.

By stomach meds, do you mean acid reflux stuff? Prevacid is off patent as of about a week ago and has just gone OTC, if that's useful to you.

Anonymous said...

I was floored - I know two young females who are battling for their lives right now. One has breast cancer stage 4, just turned 40 and the other has cervical cancer stage 4, she is only 30. Give me a break. I swear they are tying to kill us.

I can't even wrap my head around how these women are stage 4 at this point after battling for almost 2 years now. How in the hell did this happen.


De-Blurker Kate said...

I TOTALLY agree. THEY MATTER! My oldest niece was diagnosed with breast cancer before her 40th birthday. She didn't KNOW she was at risk because her FATHER (who didn't know, either) was the BRCA gene carrier. Her paternal grandmother (now near her 90's) never had it, though several other of the grandmother's family members did. Unfortunately, they were of the generation where talking about it was taboo. It was only after my niece was diagnosed & they started really delving into the medical pasts of other family members that they realized the pattern. Both of my other nieces were then tested, 1 carries the gene, 1 doesn't.

sewwhat? said...

Did someone say this was one way to cut medical costs, which is another way of saying denying access to health care? I believe so, and the poor who could never afford this on their own will be the first victims.

NV said...

Alright, ladies! You've all rallied to the battle cry. Go forward and keep making noise.