More unnecessary cancer hype

So found this on Huffington Post. People will see “unnecessary breast cancer treatment” and not make it to the third paragraph which states “(m)ammograms are still worthwhile,” as well as the rest of the article which essentially says science does not know how to determine which cancers will progress into a threat. So…why did the study not go ahead and figure out how to tell when a cancer needs to be treated or not? I mean is the current method, wait and see if it spreads around, wrecking women’s breasts, so more mastectomies can be done, or if patients die? But as offensively pointed out in this post, screening is “only worthwhile if it finds cancers destined to cause death”. I mean, WTF? I’m still alive (hurray!), but I’d rather not have had the cancer at all, if you don’t mind!

I’m not exactly a big fan of mammography, being someone who got a false negative on her very first mammogram. I cannot believe that a false alarm is as bad as cancer…at least there is relief at the end of a false alarm. I live with the fear and stress of recurrence everyday…and this is after the stress and fear of having and being treated for cancer.

And I just love the last paragraph-yes, science needs to better define what treatment is really needed, or better yet, better DEFINE PREVENTION, where is the funding for that!

Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

4 thoughts on “More unnecessary cancer hype”

  1. All cancers are capable of causing death, it’s just that some are slow and lazy and others want to rip through us very fast. Even grade 1 cancers have the potential to metastise and as we know it’s mets that cause the big issue. Because there are so many environmental and genetic factors involved in development and progression of breast cancer, identifying which tumours will progress is an extremely complex business. As I understand it genes like TP53, GATA, PTEN and up to c. 50 others play a role but how they interact and overlap is still largely unknown to us. Meantime, the only surefire way for women to deal with any sign of cancer is to opt for treatment. In most cases if it’s small and presents lower risk lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy might be all that’s needed. Ok they’re still operations but better that than mets some way down the line. I’d encourage all women to hear this message. Today science can’t tell us which cancers will progress so treatment is your best option right now. I was offered lumpectomy because my tumour looked small on all the tests. It was very aggressive so I opted for mastectomy. They found 2 other areas of DCIS and LCIS both of which my consultant predicted would have become invasive within 5 years. I’m glad I trusted my instincts!


    1. Exactly…to be honest my post was simply the comment I left on Huffington Post in response to the article there. I encourage you to put your comment there as well (although it may exceed the character limit). Most people mindlessly yell for a “cure” or whatever without realizing the scientific complexities you’ve eloquently put here. Hell, they do not even want to know how complex it is, but cancer patients have no choice but to know it intimately. Quite simply, the main reason the article irked me was because it had a sensational title without proposing any real change in breast cancer treatment, diagnoses, etc. It is not that I do not think info should not be made public at all times, I do….I was just frustrated by the fact it does not provide anything that cancer patients can do right now!


      1. I’ve sent an adapted version of the above to Huff Post – just waiting for it to be approved. Some of my family members believe this is more to do with money (NHS in the UK and insurers elsewhere) than the issue of “unnecessary treatment.” Mammo didnt even pick my evil little devil up either just 4 months before I thought something was wrong. Imagine if I’d waited another year…..


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