In case people are wondering, I'm not scientist bashing
(I'm married to one)!
This BBC article
quotes a letter to The Times by a bunch of possibly eminent scientists, referring to research published in the BMJ. Now, not having a sub to the BMJ, I don't know what was in the original article, but I recall reading something recently the details of which escape me, but they said that it was possible that the large increase in breast cancer cases in the last 20 years might be attributable to the fact that modern screening methods catch more cancers, and it is *possible* that some cancers just go away on their own, so women didn't always die of untreated breast cancer.
OK, so that was all paraphrased, but it's what I remember reading, maybe a week or so ago.
SO, the letter to The Times (which I can't find online) is the basis of the BBC news story. My problem is not with the research
, to which I can basically say: so fucking what? Because, there is no way currently to tell which of those 50% of cancers will "go away on their own"
. My anger is totally directed though at people who will publish this, saying that women are having unnecessary treatment, but not saying at the same time that we don't know for which women it will be unnecessary
. Therefore the best thing is to treat all
the women who have cancers diagnosed. Until we can predict which women will not develop invasive cancer, we can't go around saying "well, maybe you won't get it, so you can consider this unnecessary, go on, just wait a few years and see what happens. Oh, shit, too late."
Oh dear, I think I am still angry, so I'm not sure if I am making a great deal of sense.
I guess my point is that nowhere does it say which
women are having unnecessary treatment, or how we can work out which women, becasue currently there is no way to work out which women
so the way the letter is written seems to me to be totally irresponsible. The facts might be true, but they aren't particularly useful
at the moment. I'm afraid that women who might not want to face their fears will take this article as "permission" to ignore something that is niggling at them. That scares me. That could, and I'm very afraid will, cause women to die.