Breast screening info 'misleads'
I'm sorry, I don't think I've met these "researchers". But perhaps they could do with meeting me.
quote the first:Invitation letters and leaflets do not tell the truth about the number of tests ending in unnecessary treatment, they write in The Times.
Quote the second:None of the invitations for screening come close to telling the truth and as a result women are being manipulated, albeit unintentionally, into attending, they wrote. Up to half of all cancers that are found by screening, if left to their own devices, might not do any harm during the woman's natural lifespan. But when detected by mammogram, the woman may then undergo unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the letter said.
It was all explained to me. My diagnosis was that I had a PRE CANCEROUS condition, and that, basically, if you were talking in terms of switches, and if it took 10 switches to turn the cancer on, I had 6 of them switched to on already. But at the same time, there was a not unreasonable chance that I would not actually develop invasive cancer. There was also a 1 in 10 chance that I already had invasive cancer that had not been detected by the screening methods used. (I did not have an MRI, I had a mammogram, a punch biopsy of the nipple, and two needle biopsies guided by ultrasound and by mammography.)
"Up to half of these cancers may not do any harm."
And what actually happened to me? I had a grade II tumour. A fast growing Her2 positive tumour. The kind that sweeps through you and hits your other organs before you can say, "hmmm, is it worth having my breast smooshed in this here machine?" Were I to ask the women I know, if you had a bad mammogram result, or as in my case, a bad mammogram, ultrasound and needle biopsy, would you think, that hey, I've got a 50% chance that it won't come to anything, so what the hell, I'll just go on about my business?
Do you know something? a mastectomy isn't actually that big a deal. OK, I know I have a bloody good reconstruction, but I have two friends who don't have reconstructions, and do you know? I KNOW they have prostheses, but I DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHICH ONE IT IS. Really, really really, when the odds are 50/50? What are you going to choose?
I really hope that women reading this article aren't gong to say: "oh, those dastardly scientists, trying to make me think I've got cancer". If you have flashing warning signals of cancer, given today's medical technology - what are you going to choose? Taking a chance, or taking the route of surgery and adjuvant treatment? So fucking what if it's "just in case"?
I really really hope that people aren't going to read this and think that it's only a "chance" that they have cancer. Fuck.
I remember, every single bloody second of the walk from the car to the western general that morning, when I was saying to Bill that I knew that my mum was worried that I might be one of the "1 in 10" but that I wasn't worried, and I was sure that I was going to be given the all clear, and well, whatever, I had a lot of scars, and I didn't look like I used to, but hey, it was ok. And I might even have been swinging my long, blessedly straight hair as I spoke.
Here I am now, short and curly haired, constantly constantly exhausted. I look like hell. My fingernails not only look like hell, but are totally fucking useless, I can't even open a can of coke. But guess what? I have a better than 95% chance of dying of old age. Because I opted to accept the recommendation of my doctors and have a mastectomy, as a result of which I was recommended to have chemo and tamoxifen and herceptin. It has, yes, totally fucked up my life and made it very difficult, and my intellectual abilities have been compromised beyond recognition, but I'm alive, and I think that's how my family and friends, and my two beautiful beautiful boys want me.
Also - Breast cancer biology 'changing'
I'm not totally, entirely, actually sure that this article is actually saying *anything*.
But:And more cancers were diagnosed as grade one - slow-growing tumours, with a decline in the number of grade three - fast-growing tumours.
Hmmm. I'd always been confused by the Grading, thinking it corresponded to the size, and that the "Stage" and "Grade" were effectively the same thing, but as it turns out, Stage and Grade correspond to different measurements. So I guess this explains why I had a Grade 2 tumour. It went from not there to 11mm in the space of a couple of months. You read descriptions of tumours and it says under 20mm is Stage 1.
I think that first article made me really really angry. I think that I have settled down now.