I was reading an article titled "Barred from screening" which went into why the government recommends free breast screening for older women only. The jist of it was that there was a higher risk of false positives in the testing of women aged 40 -49, no mention of women under 40. That at the end of the day it was an economic and resource issue, not enough doctors and not enough machines, even though the participation rate among the target group was 14% lower than aimed for. The following line has infuriated me, "False results - while dense breast tissue can resemble cancer in a x-ray, the policy says younger women are "more likely to have unnescessary recall for assessment, with anxiety, sometimes invasive investigations, when there was no breast cancer in the first place." Was this policy written by someone who only interviewed women who had false positive results?. A mammogram, FNA and core biopsy are painful but it does not compare to a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and breast reconstruction, now that is invasive. I think any woman would much rather go through further assessments to get an accurate result than the latter. I would love to sit in a room with these people who make decisions on my behalf and show them the results of invasive treatment.
3 Comments
Not applicable
Oh doesn't it make you mad when you read this sort of thing. I am sure it is written by people who have never had anything to do with cancer, let alone breast cancer in younger women. Who cares if there are 100 false results if they pick up just one young woman with cancer. Yes the bilateral mastectomy road is a hard road, been there, done that and also know several women in their 20s or 30s who have had breast cancer. I would not wish cancer on anyone, but the people who make these decisions should really get to know a great deal more than they obviously do.
0 Kudos
Deceased
Hi there I hesitate to get involved here, remembering the old proverb - fools rush in where angels fear to tread. What is the cost in physical and emotional trauma to the 100 people who get a false positive? A biopsy is not a risk free procedure, the psychological trauma for a young woman to be told that she might have breast cancer and needs further tests, multiplied by 100 for every woman found to have a real positive result? I belong to a cancer group where many wish that the existing blood test for the cancer would be used as a screening tool. It is not, although it is probably as reliable as some of the other screening test that the government funds. The problem again is the number of people who have to go through a risky biopsy procedure and the psychological trauma of thinking that they have cancer, for no reason at all - a false positive. Unfortunately the evidence does not support it. Yet I am one of those that was detected with an aggressive cancer at a relatively young age. If I hadn't had the test I wouldn't be alive now. Also no one talks about the false negatives - those that the test says do not have cancer but who actually do. When the test moves put of the safe zone for testing, then the number of false negatives can also increase. The issue is not one of having the decision makers sit down and listen to individual stories - it is a matter for them of deciding what is best for most people. They are not unfeeling people and they do not make these decisions lightly. Most of the committee that make these decision also have people sitting on them who have had a personal experience of cancer (or in the case of other diseases, the relevant disease). Believe me these 'consumers' are not afraid to be vocal, but they also have to take note of the evidence and make decisions that try to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Regards Sailor An incorrectly identified mark is a hazard, not an aid, to navigation. Alton B. Moody
0 Kudos
Contributor
you have the right to vent your anger MissRen and i am glad you did. i am on the understanding that if you approach your GP he can write you a referral to Breast Screen centres at any age. i approached my GP and asked for one at the age of 35 due to my sister having cancer in both her breasts at the age of 27 and again at 40 odd. In august 09 i was diagnosed with DCIS. I had 5 weeks of radiation on top of that. my daughter who is now 33 has now been given a referral by my GP for breast screen WA for screenings due to my sister and myself. i urge any young lady to approach their GP and ask for a referral. there is a fair chance you will get one.
0 Kudos
Post new blog
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.