About my Blog

I am writing this blog from a radical political point of view. To be a political radical is to examine everything critically. It is about taking today's news, today's unmentioned news, history, or even just the way we think about ideas, and adding a totally new perspective to them. If you are a radical, and a socialist, like me, you will agree with a lot of what I have to say. If not, I hope I at least make you think about things that you previously took for granted. Most of all, I hope everyone enjoys this blog.

About Me

I have just graduated from college, where I wrote opinion pieces for my school newspaper. Though I started out a liberal, I have moved far to the left since then. Despite my politics being different from most people, many people found a lot of what I had to say interesting and insightful. I hope to continue challenging people to think here on my blog.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Mother's Letter to Newsday on the Recent Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

Before I post the letter, I would just like to make a few comments. First of all, I am convinced that these recommendations were intended to allow insurance companies to deny coverage for mammograms.

Secondly, it is under capitalism that women can be treated like statistics instead of people. In the eyes of the elite, we are all statistics, and our fate is decided based on whether or not we produce a profit for certain companies (in this case, the insurance companies).

Without further ado, here is my mom's letter:

Thirteen years ago I wrote to Newsday in response to the National Cancer Institute’s review of mammogram    guidelines which were initially eerily similar to the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for breast cancer screening. These current recommendations are telling us that women in their 40s don’t require mammograms, nor should women of any age perform self exams or even get examined by a doctor because these methods are not foolproof, and not enough women will be saved.

I am that “1- in-1,900 woman” who was saved by getting a mammogram at 41 years old when I was diagnosed with a virulent, fast-growing cancer that would have killed me if I had even waited another year.

My kids were four and seven years old when I was diagnosed. They are now 19 and 22, one a college graduate, the other a college sophomore. I’ve lived a very full 15 years since my diagnosis, watching my kids turn into fine young men, enjoying the company of my husband of 28 years, pursuing my passions, volunteering for causes dear to my heart: - pet therapy, helping foster kids, and fighting breast cancer.

For many women like myself, there is often no way to know whether we are at high risk for breast cancer. Younger women are at a higher risk for fast-growing cancers that require early detection to survive. Early detection can also allow for the cancer treatment to be less invasive and less traumatic.

To say that self exams and possibly even a doctor’s exam of one’s breasts are worthless makes no sense. Do these exams work every time? No, but they’re non-invasive, easy, inexpensive (or free!) tools that find many cancers, - certainly not worthless when a woman’s life is at stake. This task force may think women will follow these recommendations like sheep, but we’ve become educated and savvy. The current breast cancer screening methods may not be foolproof, but we are not fools.

How many cancers found are required to be significant when one of them ends up being yours? I’m not just a statistic, nor are the scores of women who won’t be as lucky as me if these new guidelines are adopted.

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