Experts Say Mammograms Cut Breast Cancer Deaths : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Experts Say Mammograms Cut Breast Cancer Deaths

Mon Mar 18, 7:17 PM ET

By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Cancer experts tried to dispel doubts over the benefits of breast cancer (news - web sites) screening on Tuesday, saying regular mammograms saved lives.

"A woman who is screened regularly aged 50-69 years old with mammography can expect about a 35 percent reduction in her risk of death from breast cancer," Professor Bruce Armstrong, of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said.

Armstrong headed a team of 24 experts from 11 countries who analyzed published studies looking in the benefits of breast cancer screening. IARC, a UN agency, conducts and analyzes research into the causes and prevention of cancer.

Criticisms have been made in recent months that screening often gives inaccurate results and might not be cost effective. Confusion has grown over how often women should be tested and at what age.

The results of the independent analysis, released ahead of the Tuesday start of the 3rd European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona on Tuesday, confirmed the benefits of regular screening and showed the criticisms were unsubstantiated, IARC said.

Dr. Robin Wilson, the secretary of the European Group for Breast Cancer Screening, and other experts at the Barcelona meeting said they supported the IARC findings.

"Current evidence based on actual screening outcomes strongly support its effectiveness," Wilson said in a statement.

The IARC experts admitted "false positive" results could cause anxiety and some cancers could be missed. But they said screening was an effective means of detecting a disease that kills half a million women a year world wide.


The IARC analysis showed the benefits were most significant for women 50-69 years old. They found inadequate evidence of the efficacy of screening for women under 40 years old or over 69.

Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium and Norway have full national screening programs. France, Germany, Spain, Greece and Portugal are conducting pilot programs.

Women in the United States are advised to have annual mammograms from the age of 40. In Britain and other countries women begin screening later and do not have mammograms as often.

Professor Valerie Beral, of the University of Oxford and a member of the IARC panel of experts, said the findings were a consensus of independent experts.

Over a 10-year period an estimated 10-20 of every 1,000 healthy women aged 50-69 years old will develop cancer and four to six women will die of the disease. Screening could reduce the number of deaths by two in every 1,000, according to Beral.

"It's a true reduction in deaths," she said.

Screening, the latest surgical techniques and new biological agents will be among the main topics when 4,000 scientists, doctors and patient advocates meet for the Barcelona breast cancer conference from March 19-23.

-- duuuuh! (no@shit.sherlock), March 18, 2002


Let's see... you need to HAVE cancer before they can get rid of it, so if they actually FIND the cancer, then they know what they need to get rid of.

Hmmmm, we need an "expert" to tell us this stuff??

-- (thank god @ for. experts), March 18, 2002.

There are those who advocate women getting no mamography. This then would mean a woman would not have the cancer detected early, probably not until it had grown so large it would be unmistakenly noticable and so far along that it could be fatal. This would save the investers in the HMO's a lot of money, money they would have to spend on early detection and treatment. They would just throw the women into a hospice hospital where they could drug them to death in a week and save "lots of money" for the stockholders. After all, they do owe the stockholders a good profit don't they?

-- Cherri (, March 19, 2002.

Cherri, you stated; “There are those who advocate women getting no mamography”. (Mammography)

Would it be too much to ask you for some medical validation of this statement? Oh, make sure you provide some facts to back-up your outlandish claims of the intent behind this position.

You are one bitter woman with a warped look at the world.

-- Send (mo@money.please), March 19, 2002.

The owner's manual for my automobile recommends different service intervals according to the conditions in which the vehicle is used. A vehicle driven through unpaved roads or on mostly short trips requires more frequent maintenance than a vehicle experiencing neither of these conditions. Two vehicles, mass produced from an identical set of parts, nonetheless may differ in their servicing requirements.

Human beings aren't nearly as similar to each other as two vehicles of the same make, model and year. So how can it be right to apply a health procedure that involves risk, indiscriminately to millions of people? It can't, yet the health authorities see fit to regularly dispense one-size-fits-all advice.

Like many procedures, mammography involves a tradeoff. The pat statement "the benefits outweigh the risks" is more likely to apply to a woman with a genetic predisposition toward cancer and a poor general general state of health, than to a woman for whom none of the risk factors are present. Subjecting a person to radiation, as mammography does, will tend to produce cancer cells. Thus, if applied indiscriminately, mammography may result in some women dying from cancer that otherwise would never have formed in critical mass.

No team of experts, even as large a group as twenty four (the IARC panel mentioned above), can fairly represent the views of tens of thousands of health professionals, though they may suggest otherwise. One may find informed difference of opinion on almost anything having to do with health. This is to be expected when it comes to forming generalizations about such a diverse population as human beings.

This is also true with regard to mammography. For example, the October 20, 2001 issue of The Lancet (a highly regarded professional journal) contains a piece entitled "Cochrane review on screening for breast cancer with mammography" (pp. 1340-42). It begins with the following statement, "In 2000, we reported that there is no reliable evidence that screening for breast cancer reduces mortality. As we discuss here, a Cochrane review has now confirmed and strengthened our previous findings."

That same issue of The Lancet also contains illuminating commentary about the authors' being pressured by their institution (the Nordic Cochrane Center) to add positive statements about mammography to their paper.

So it is possible that the HMOs, despite their well deserved reputation for ruthless cost cutting, have grounds for resisting mammography as a routine practice. It is worth noting the vested interests on the other side, the yearly gross revenue of the mammography industry comprising billions of dollars.

(Note: The Lancet has a website, To read articles on-line requires registration, which is free. The Lancet may also be found at any medical library.)

-- David L (, March 19, 2002.

Ummm....considering our past exchanges, you will forgive me if I don't take health advice from you seriously.

-- Uncle Deedah (, March 19, 2002.

Would it be too much to ask you for some medical validation of this statement? Oh, make sure you provide some facts to back-up your outlandish claims of the intent behind this position.

Gee, would I ever. I took my MOTHER to her doctor, she had been complaining to him for a while about a pain in her breast as well as pains in other parts of her body, such as her hip bone. He gave her yet another lecture that her only problem was that she wanted apin pills. She took 2 tylonal-3's a day. He stated (I was there and heard him) that she could not possibly have that many different areas with pain and sent her to a "nursing home" where he was going to get her off of the drugs. The nursing home refused to make an appointment for her to get a (fuck the spelling) mammagram and I had to personally harrass them and demand they make the appointment as well as accompany her. The lum in her breast was the size of as large marble by then. They took out the lump, yeppers, it was cancer, and also found it had metastisized throughout her body, she had bone cancer in her hip, it was in her pancreas(f*sp again). I had to accompany her to chemo, which never was ready to be administered, even if I walked to her oncologest's office in a nearby building and hand carried it to the nurses in the hospital to be sent to the pharmacy. She was in such bad shape she would urinate on herself, I would get her to the shower and change her bed, all this at supposidly the best cancer hospital in Seattle. Left alone she would not get food or any care at all. The nurses told me that due to HMO cutbacks they were understaffed and it was IMPERATIVE that a family member accompany patients or care just didn't get given. She was supposed to go in, get chemo, and go back to the "nuring home". Each and every time it ended up being a two day ordeal, with us spending the night. I had to be at the nursing home constantly, to make sure he pooty was emptied and her bed was changed and her meds given. She was in a lot of pain from the bone cancer, yet the nurses refused to give her meds that the oncologist prescribed because of her origional doctors orders that she be cut down because she was "just seeking drugs". Unfortunatly, over new years 1998-1999 I ended up in the hospital for 10 days because my left leg had swollen up within hours. Seems when I had my last daughter in 1990, the surgeon managed to sew my left iliac vein up with the rest of my innerds. It is the main vein that comes from the leg, meeting with the one from the right leg and goes directly to the heart. A few year earlier this problem had been discovered when it was partially closed. But this time the scar tissue had grown to close it completly. Didn't freekin matter that when I had the kid (by C-section) I TOLD the surgeon and Doctor repeatidly that they had caught something, I could feel it pulling "something". My second C-section so I knew where I was supposed to hurt. I was only allowed to go home when I promised to stay off of the leg, keep it elevated and not even shop for groceries unless I rode one of those little carts in the store (did it once, was so embarrassed I never have since). 10 days after going home is when I took my Mother to her doctors appointment and all of this started hapening. Needless to say I did NOT stay off of my leg as ordered. So there I was with this huge swollen leg, in horrific pain (called claudication), taking her for treatment, taking care of providing for my Dad (at their house) and for his medical care and transportation and meals, then finally coming home to care for my kids and try to get off of my feet. I took her for chemo and tests (for the different forms of cancer that riddled her body). The one time I could not take her was the last time, my doctor forbade me to be on my feet, period, no exceptions. The nursing home refused to provide an escort to chemo, finally sent her a day later. The freekin male nurse put her into a wheelchair with no footrests, she had thrown a bumch of blood clots in one of her legs during the night, the asswhipe looked at her lags and said "I see no problem", he pushed her towards the door where the driver of the cabulance was waiting, her leg caught and she was thrown from the wheelchair. The cabulance driver helped her up and back into the chair and into his vehecle. He dropped her off inside the hospital. She was so weak and "gone" that she sat there for 5 hours, no one bothered to ask her if she needed help or anything. It just happened that a family friend from out of town came through to visit someone and found my mother, still in the chair where she had been placed.

Since I wasn't there to advocate for her, she was in a shared room and her oncologist came in talking to her about being fatal, she had NO idea before that. (I knew, but since I know....... knew her so well I knew she would just give up and not fight if told). There was a party going on around the next bed, she was of course upset by the news of her impending death. I called the hospital and demanded she be moved to a different room,by herself or with the inconsiderate partiers in it. They balked, but I got my point across and she was moved. I headed right out to the hospital. The oncologist had decided that treatment was no longer worth the "cost", or as he stated "A waste of HMO money". My Dad was retired military, with guarenteed medical for life for himself and Mom. Her medical care had been handed off to an HMO years before. (Oh yea, f*ck the Clinton's and the "health reform" crap THEY rode in on (too many people assume that because this administration disgusts me I somehow "love" Clinton--wrong). They had made the decision to stick her into a "Hospice hospital". Death wing is more like it. Odd how they end up with an entirely new group of patients every week.

Wanna know how they did it?

Patients come in on Thursday or Friday, family visits, they are treated extremely well, then starting on Monday their LOCKED IV's full of morphine are turned up to administer more morphine per hour every day. Once I realised what was happening, it was too late, Mom was so drugged she could not sit up, much less eat or drink. She was given NO liquids, either by mouth or through IV. She lay there, her body wasting away in the most horrific way, from lack of any liquid. I faught them, I had power of attorney over her and her medical treatment. They refused to lower the amount of morphine, giving some BS excuse about I didn't have to listen to the cries of pain and they were being humane. So she goes from practacally no pain meds to this disabling dosage. I tried to thart the machine, tried to use that little plastic thing to block the tubing, I shopuld have taken the IV out and stuck it in an orange so the alarms wouldn't go off. I would sneak in at night and try to communicate with her, try to work on the infusion machine to disable it. By this time the pain I was in was so bad my doctor had put me on a strong, time release pain medication because I was litterally screaming from the pain. This med dummies down your mind. Fortunatly I do not like meds (or for that matter any form of drug, legal or illegal because I enjoy thinking) But I was not used to my mind being dummied down, I doubted my own judgment. Something I seldom ever did. Yes she was fatal, yes she was going to die soon, but if she had been in normal hospice care she could have lived 6 months or more. people are not supposed to survive more than 5 days without liquids, she made it an amazing 10 days. There came a point of no return, I knew it, she had lain there too long without fluids. I went to the nurse and asked her to just increase the morphine and get it over, to stop making her suffer so much. She cried out when they turned her, even with all of that morhine (I believe it was 80mg per hor by then) she was suffering, not from cancer, but from dehydration). The nurse informed me that they did not do that, they didn't outright kill people, it was illegal. If I could have, I would have done it myself by then.

What? Me bitter??

No, not bitter, just experienced.

The oddest thing about all of this was the way people just accepted the BS they were fed. The families of the other patients never questioned anything. One weekend there were all of these patients with family coming and interacting, then a few days later every single patient was comatose and started dropping (dieing) like flies. By the next weekend there were a new group of new patients in the rooms. My Mother trusted me to take care of her and Dad. I didn't, couldn't do it to the best of my ability and I will never, ever "get over it".

Now wanna hear about how my Dad died? Or my 5 month old son? Or my first son back in 1977? Or perhaps about the surgery I FINALLY got to bypass the blockage in my vein? Or how the incision, 4 months later is still "infected"?

Just wait until it happens to someone you love, when the bottom line proves to be more important than the life of a loved one.


Then come talk to me about my attitude.

-- Cherri (, March 20, 2002.

Oh, the "point". Yearly mammagrams had been reduced to one every other year. Had she gotten one the cancer could have been detected before the lump got big enough to feel and see, had it been treated in time, it would NOT have metastisized through out her entire body, forming cancer in all of the other places it did. She was in her late 60's, well into the age bracket for testing.

Has anyone else noticed how one in three people are getting some form of cancer these days? Nothing to do with pollution or destruction of the enviroment though is it?

The cost of a mammagram is minute next to the cost of cancer treatment.

And before any asshole decides to bitch about free medical for military retirees and their spouses, MY FATHER was on the Bataan Death March and spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese POW camp, came out ans spent a full 21 years in service (at low wages) and earned every bit of his retirement privalidges. After he got out he went to work for the city and worked 20+ years. He got cancer in 1994 and beat it, just to die from "rules" set up at his hospital for treatment of pain. In other words, they had a "set" structure for pain medication (his legs were bad, lack of adiquate blood flow after cancer treatment). He was on meds to slow his heart down to 40 BPM. The Doctor gave him the phentanal patch, which slowed his heart down to the point where he collapsed. Then the doctors refused to compensate for it in the hospital and let him die, rather than attempting to reverse the effect. I explained exactly what the problem was. But why should they spend money saving an 80 year old man's life? After all, wasn't he just a parasite, feeding off of your hard earned tax dollars? He'd lived a long life, why not just let him go? I', not making this up, this is exactly what was said to me.

Money isn't everything in life, but these days, it appears to be more important than many lives.

-- Cherri (, March 20, 2002.

I am so sorry Cherri to hear of all this you and your family have been through.That's disgraceful the way they treated your mother and father. You have my sympathies.

-- (cin@cin.cin), March 20, 2002.

I'm sorry, Cherri.

-- helen (hear@this.a.lot), March 20, 2002.

Cherri knows that I post with no disrespect to her mom. I've followed Cherri's mom for several years and know the pain that ensued.

HOWEVER: I wish I had the E-mail that my second daughter sent me regarding mammograms. It was true, yet funny [only if one weren't the one to get the mammogram]. It was full of tips on preparing for the mammogram: Open the refrigerator door, lay breast at door entry and SLAM. Another suggestion was to lay down with a breast exposed to the garage floor and run the car over the breast.

I'm sad to say that I didn't go for my mammogram this year. Heh. I remember several years ago [pre-hormone therapy, I might add] getting a mammogram and having the girl look at my breasts and suggest that the current slide was the wrong size. She put in the slide for the smaller breasts and went into great detail about how she even tested men. She bragged about how she could take a nipple and press it out. Well, the mammogram didn't hurt so much at the time. I was just the little 34-B girl. AFTER the hormones, I developed, and the NEXT mammography wasn't so comfortable. Okay...I'm not suggesting that the FIRST one was comfortable, but GEEZ!

I'm not TOTALLY stupid. I understand that these things are necessary for my continued health and all that, but I just chose to skip this year. When guys have to put their penis up on a plate and have another plate smash down on it until an X-ray machine can pick up images of whatever is inside, I think men could understand why women might not be so keen on this test. The REALLY odd thing, IMO, is that if/when the testers find something that looks even the slightest bit abnormal, they do an ultra-sound on the area. An ultra-sound hurts not ONE bit.

I don't look forward to September.

-- Anita (, March 20, 2002.


I hope you are not taking what "Send (mo@money.please)" says seriously. This person is obviously very fucked up in the head and gets off on insulting and offending other posters. I suspect it is the original Y2K Pro, or someone with a very similar mental problem.

-- (please@ignore.sicko), March 21, 2002.

Cin, Heen, Anita, I appreciate your empathy. It was a nightmare, but a waking one. Some were privy to the time of my Dad's colapse, I went on line after the ambulance left with my fears. I understood my parents would go before me, but they were ALWAYS there, I kinda believed they always would be.

Funny though, Mom died on August 23, 1999. During this time, when I would finally get home and get the kids settled, I would go to Time Bomb 2000 and try to explain why (in my view, from my experiece) TEOTWAWKI would not happen on the rollover. I wuld get bashed by some people for my views, which made me laugh. Words from a stranger, on line had absolutly no effect on me, had no ability to hurt me, I knew what real pain was.

I'm a bit...reluctant to admit it, but it I got a kick out of (and still do *grin*) posting something that would set some people off into a screaming rage, I would laugh at their lack of self control, laugh at the fact that words on a comuter screen could effect people so deeply.

Even now I will post something, usually extreme, which I know will push buttons and cause some people to go apeshit. People don't realize that they are the only one responsable for letting someone else control them through words. If they react to people pushing buttons then they leave themselves open to button pushing.
I have to admit the mammagram thing set me off, hit me the wrong way at a weak moment and I reacted. Because I had experienced the actual results from the mindset that puts money, profit before humanity. I'm afraid it will only get worse before it gets better.

-- Cherri (, March 22, 2002.

UnkD, have you actually been following this controversy in the press? Sounds like a hit-and-run jab to me...

Mammograms are a tool but we should not be complacent about their value. They reveal the problem when it has advanced enough for our primitive machines to detect something. It does find the cancer earlier so you can join the army of treated cancer victims and suffer the side effects of that treatment paradigm for more years than if the cancer were found later.

DO have a mammogram, but DON'T have one until you have researched what you would do if you had breast cancer.

Would you have a mastectomy? Would you want breast reconstruction? Would you undergo chemotherapy or radiation? See a naturopath/non-allopath ?

Whatever your diagnosis, just remember that it is your immune system that fights invaders. And prevention is a most important weapon.

Also, you are in charge of your body -- not the doctors or the medical community. You must be in touch with how your body feels and what it needs.

There are even "spontaneous remissions" of "terminal" breast cancer that cannot be "explained" by conventional medicine. The one thing we do know is that they are NEVER related to standard treatment.

But y'all know how I feel about this stuff ;-) and every so often am foolish enough to think it matters if I speak out. And Cherri, I am sorry for what you and your mother went through. ANY kind of early detection would have had a better outcome.

-- Debbie (, March 23, 2002.


The medical profession has been taken over by the Geeks-In-Glasses who care only about the bottom line. There are still plenty of individual doctors who genuinely care about their patients (some good ones here at UAB, including the neurologist who saved Sandy's eyesight, come to mind), but they're thwarted by the system.

That system permitted cost overruns for decades, supported by MASSIVE insurance fraud, and is now paying the piper. The chickens have come home to roost.

HMOs weren't a bad idea in principle when they were proposed. I've worked in insurance, and fraud was simply an accepted fact before HMOs came along. Speaking from firsthand experience on the other side of the coin, if the hospital learned that you had a good insurance plan, they'd start billing for everything they could think of, primarily to pay for those patients who couldn't pay and who didn't have coverage.

I'll never forget when I took my first wife home from Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. She had a heart condition and on the way home, she started feeling faint. Solely as a precaution, I stopped at the emergency room at the little hospital near home.

It just so happened that we were double-insured and there was no law against double-collection at that time (there is now): I had a good plan with my employer, my ex had her own policy. The emergency room was going to release her until I happened to mention this fact in passing; next thing I know, she's in Intensive Care, running up a $xxxxxx bill! :)

Imagine that.

HMOs were supposed to be the answer, but they've gone ENTIRELY too far the other way, where cost-cutting has become almost a religion and, yes, one DOES get the feeling that they'd much rather you die than run up a $200-300,000 hospital bill.

The massive consolidation of the industry isn't helping, either. Tenet Healthcare (by golly, I have GOT to get back on that for my Website, don't I?!) worries me the most. Here in B'ham, Carraway Medical Center is now on the block, and -- you guessed it! -- Tenet is negotiating to buy them, too. They already own several other facilities here.

That's just too much control concentrated in too few hands, especially given (in my opinion) Tenet's less-than-sterling reputation to start with.

I don't know what the answer is. I can see where the problem originally came from, but the solution that they're currently using *IS*, without question, permitting good people to suffer and die. That's unconscionable.

What's worse than unconscionable, also IMNHO, is the way that veterans are treated by the Veterans Administration. People have this fantasy that vets get free healthcare for life. What they don't realize is that this healthcare is generally shoddy and substandard.

But that's for another rant.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, March 23, 2002.

Debbie, thank you for speaking out. : )

Cherri, I too am sorry for what your mom went through. I believe the day is coming when euthanasia will be an accepted way of life. It makes me very sad.

-- Pammy (, March 23, 2002.

This certainly is an interesting thread. In general, men have a difficult time relating to the fears that all women live with regarding breast cancer. Most men have a loved one that has gone through the trials and tribulations but they themselves have no ‘personal’ fear. Just as women have no fear of problems of the prostate.

Cherri, I stand by my comments. Who can really believe what they read on the Internet? You have a way of blaming everybody else for all of your ‘alleged’ problems but fail to mention where YOU may have been responsible.

I loved your gloating comments about ‘pushing people's buttons’.

Works both ways.

-- Send (mo@money.please), March 23, 2002.

fail to mention where YOU may have been responsible.

Where then was "I" potentially responsible, in your view?

-- Cherri (, March 23, 2002.

Cherri, I'm sorry for your loss. But I don't share your view of HMOs. You were at the blunt end of that stick and there are many personal tragedies out there which I find truly sad. But I don't believe that socialized medicine any better alternative. If you can think of an alternative that would have treated your situation differently, please tell us.

Stephen, I also think that vets don't get what they deserve. But the public believes we already spend too much on military, so I don't see it improving any time in the near future.

-- Maria (, March 26, 2002.

Plastic surgery is now considered a treatment for breast cancer. You will find plastic surgeons at cancer hospitals. The Oncologists will press women into having mastectomies and breast reconstruction.

However, they will not tell you that pedicle TRAM Flaps disable 100 percent of the patients. They won't tell you that you can herniate, and they won't tell you all the other complications.

The plastic surgeons and oncologists don't know all of the complications, so how can they inform the women?

There is research about the complications, such as hernias, tissue death, etc. But, the plastic surgeons won't tell you -- they want to get your insurance money.

Even doctors who don't want to harm women, don't understand the dangers of breast recontruction with implants or tissue flaps -- that's because the complications & failures are suppressed.

If you want to read more testimonies about women who are disabled because of TRAM/tissue flaps go to this site:

When you finish reading those testimonies, there are more on breast implants at that Canadian Connection. Just go to the bottom of a testimony and select "home."

That will take you to the home page, then select Friends in USA. That will take you to the testimonies of women in the United States.

-- ... (..@...), April 03, 2002.

Fortunatly radical masdectominies are not always necessary there days. Mammagrams can detect cancer before the cancer reaches the point were radical's are necessary.

If I were to get breast cancer that demanded a radical masdectomy, I would have a tattoo done over the scar and wear padding in my bra to make me look even while dressed. Hey, what an Idea! I should have a tattoo done over the scar on my leg where they harvested the vein for my bypass...hhmmm. I may take a walk down to my favorite tattoo parler.

-- Cherri (, April 03, 2002.

Now there’s an image from hell.

-- My (eyes@are.hurting), April 03, 2002.

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