• Glenn Wilson

    Most women are just being told what to do, rather than being given the facts necessary to make a fully-informed decision.

    Dr. Greger: “Selling [cancer] screening can be easy,” starts an editorial in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. “Induce fear by exaggerating risk. [Then,] [o]ffer hope by exaggerating the benefit of screening. And, don’t mention harms [caused by the screening].” This ploy “is especially easy with cancer—no diagnosis is more dreaded. And, we all know the mantra: early detection is the best protection. Doubt it, and someone may suggest you need your head examined.” And, they are not exaggerating.

    “Screening can lead to important benefits, but it can also lead to important harms.” And, so, that’s the big challenge: “conveying the counterintuitive idea that screening [doesn’t] always help—and can even be harmful.” Yet, “surveys have shown that most people believe that cancer screening is almost always a good idea and few believe harm [is even] possible.” In patient-education materials, “passing references to potential harms [may] deceptively [be] “buried [under] a euphoria of benefits.”

    The cancer screening test that has been most carefully studied is mammograms. “In the past 50 years, more than 600,000 women have participated in 10 randomized trials… Given this extraordinary research effort, [it’s] ironic that [mammograms] continue…to be one of the most contentious issues within the medical community.” “There are few [things in medicine] that invoke more passion…than mammograms, with both sides, ironically, accusing the media of being in the opposite camp.

    Continue at NutritionFacts: 9 out of 10 Women Misinformed About Mammograms.

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