Things that cannot screen for breast cancer, and things that can


"Things that cannot screen for breast cancer: pink water bottles, pink phone cases, pink t-shirts, pink spatulas. Things that can: DOCTORS AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD"

Via Lian Amaris who is also on Twitter and is evidently my kinda person.

For more context, visit Greg’s. The TL;DR: Susan G. Komen For The Cure caved recently to anti-choice activists and has stopped giving money to Planned Parenthood who, you know, actually does screening for breast cancer. As well as pap smear screenings for cervical cancer. And abortions for patients who need to undergo chemotherapy for their cancer.

I’m putting this one in religion, because there are no pro-life arguments that do not originate in some religious person somewhere.

Comments

  1. Erin says

    I recommend reading What the Dog Saw. There’s a chapter in there on mammograms and how inefficient a method of screening for breast cancer they are. A doctor showed Gladwell a pile of mammogram results and pointed out all the things which may or may not be cancer. He also pointed out one that was most definitely cancer but had it been a fraction of an inch away from where it was, it wouldn’t have been picked up. Regular self or spousal screening is the way to go and then consult a doctor when you find abnormalities.

    That being said, I do not condone the pulling of funds from Planned Parenthood. Nor do I purchase much (if any) of the pinkified stuff…granted I have a “no pink” rule in my house. I donate some money when I can, but that goes to the Cancer Society.

    (By the way, you totally have an add for becoming an ordained pastor.)

  2. Parrowing says

    This is a very surreal moment. Lian Amaris was a professor of mine several years ago. Never expected to read about her here. I never find it entirely comfortable when two worlds collide but at least I can appreciate the drawing.

  3. dianne says

    Regular self or spousal screening is the way to go

    Sorry, but no. Actually, there’s no evidence that clinical breast exams, self or provider, do much to improve breast cancer mortality. Mammograms do decrease mortality, albeit with less than ideal efficacy. (Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2972726/?tool=pubmed). There’s no particular harm in doing self-exams, but don’t neglect mammograms if you’re in a risk group, including an appropriate age group.

  4. jamessweet says

    It’s true that screening for disease in general (with breast cancer screening tending to be the most contentious) is an extremely tricky topic and not nearly as much of a slam-dunk win-win no-brainer as many laypeople think. Mammography may be overused in some demographics (I tend to fall in the camp that think it is overused, FWIW, though my knowledge is limited). However, there’s relatively little controversy (at least in the mainstream) that it’s beneficial in at least some risk groups. The controversial part is what demographics have a high enough risk, with defining “appropriate age group” being one of the most controversial aspects. The controversy is exacerbated in no small part by the difficulty of accurately measuring the benefit of screening (see lead-time bias and Will Rogers effect).

    But let’s not allow this to derail. Defunding breast exams at Planned Parenthood on the basis of right wing political pressure is worthy of unqualified condemnation. There’s no “Yes but” here.

  5. Dianne says

    Maybe we should be funding research for better methods of breast cancer screening as well.

    Underway. There are promising findings with ultrasound and MRI, though neither is ready for prime time yet. Of course, the NIH’s 5% pay line isn’t making things move any faster.

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