Monday, November 30, 2009

Breast cancer, cervical cancer, all cancer . .

First, they said we weren't saving enough lives to justify aggressive and broad based breast cancer screening.

Next, they said we weren't saving enough lives to justify an agressive regime of cervical cancer testing.

Now? All cancer.

"There's growing evidence that cancer screenings aren't always helpful — and can sometimes be harmful . . . A number of medical groups also have scaled back their cancer screening guidelines . . . two weeks ago advised most women ages 40 to 49 not to get "routine" mammograms because of concerns that the tests cause too many false alarms and even unnecessary treatment . . . revised its guidelines for cervical cancer screening. . . the task force said men over age 75 shouldn't be screened for prostate cancer, noting that men this age are more likely to die of something else before a prostate tumor could harm them."

Got that? If you're going to die anyway, you might as well die of cancer.

Personally, I'd prefer to run the risk of false alarms and temporary unnecessary anxiety. If possible, I'd prefer to avoid the pain and suffering and loss of dignity of cancer and die of something else, even if I get no more time.

Unfortunately, under the approaching regime of government mandated cost / benefit analysis, I probably won't have that option.

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