New mammogram recommendations actually protect women

A Long Winter in Stockholm

To hear the television medical pundits tell it, American women WILL NOT give up their mammograms.

Is it any wonder?

For years, the mainstream medical community has been filling women with dread, telling them their only defense against breast cancer is regular mammography screening.

It’s like a form of Stockholm syndrome. Women universally hate having their breasts painfully compressed, but they’re held captive by fear. So instead of being repulsed by mammograms, they crave the imagined safety. Again and again they’re told to believe, so they believe.

I’m sure you’re aware by now that a group of government researchers (the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) recently recommended women start getting regular mammograms every year or two starting at age 50 instead of 40.

In the days since that announcement, the mainstreamers have been swooning like overheated debutantes. One doctor on Good Morning America fretted that we should “not do anything rash here.”

Rash? Can you think of anything more rash that placing your breast in a torture device and allowing it to be saturated with x-ray radiation?

Safety first

Here’s what the task force did: They looked at the evidence. That’s right – EVIDENCE –from placebo controlled “gold standard” studies that the mainstream guys usually swear by. (As we’ve seen before, this is how mainstreamers react when the evidence doesn’t fit their preconceived notions.)

In fact, the 2009 task force is basically just going back to recommendations that were in place a few years ago. The 2002 task force (same task force, but different members) recommended that women start getting regular mammograms once every year or two at age 40 instead of age 50. The task force concluded: “The evidence is strongest for women over 50, but mammograms likely will benefit 40-somethings too.”

Likely? That seems kind of breezy, doesn’t it? And yet, based on that general impression that women in their 40s might benefit, the medical community embraced the idea with a vengeance and didn’t look back.

So here were are, seven years later, and everyone is acting like they never heard such an insane idea. Start regular mammograms at 50? Criminal! On The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck actually called it “gender genocide.” She nearly blew a gasket.

What’s missing in this over-the-top response is a concern for the safety of women.

It’s simple. The task force found that one life is saved for about every 10,000 mammograms conducted on women in their 40s. Without question, we don’t want to lose that one woman’s life. But what repercussions lurk in 10,000 screenings? Many harmless tumors, which would otherwise go undetected, are often treated as life threatening, prompting unnecessary biopsies, surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, which can lead to other medical issues and secondary cancers..

If the new recommendation is followed, women won’t be harmed, they’ll be protected – no matter what the girls on The View might think.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson

“Screening for Breast Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement” Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 151, No. 10, 11/17/09,

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