Saturday, November 21, 2009

fuss about mammography guidelines

Old news, just another agency saying it again.

And you'd think a sniper was shooting 40 year old women at a shopping mall.

I don't understand why women are so devoted to such a lousy test. Mammography may save some lives - not often and usually in older women.

And the blogosphere is full of women saying they were diagnosed by mammogram in their 40's and would be dead if they hadn't been tested. That might be true for a few, but it can't be true for many. This is like basing health policy on shark attacks or lightning strikes. Most of these women would have found lumps a little later, had them biopsied, and been treated the same way months or years later, with the same excellent survival rates. Some of them would have been screened at 50 and the lesions that were present at 44 would have vanished anyway.

Commentators tell me that breast cancer is the greatest health concern of women. Only if they are illiterate or misinformed or responding too enthusiastically to marketing plans. Others have announced that women do not base health decisions on evidence or statistics. That's not true. I do.

I was 53 at diagnosis but I don't think that mammogram saved my life. I can't be sure, but I might have died of heart disease at 70 with the same DCIS in my right breast, not bothering anyone.

I've always looked at evidence and guidelines. I was skeptical about mammography. No skeptical enough to ignore it
completely, but I spaced them 5 years apart. I thought that was often enough and it turned out it was.

We have way too much breast cancer "awareness" and way too much screening.

The guidelines (which are not new incidentally) are rational, not rationing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Reasons to live in Alaska

Nobody ever asks what I think about Sarah Palin

Muktuk (no one eats raw whale in the Lower 48)


Night skies in winter

Moose in yard


Dog mushing

Fillipino food

Fourth of July in Juneau

legal ivory from extinct mammals

Reasons to move to Florida

Cuban sandwiches

place is swarming with Keadys

can walk dog without putting on sweater, coat, and four booties

26 species of turtles

over one million alligators

no volcanoes


better chance for a real chopped liver sandwich

fresh produce

flowers all year round