Published: Thursday, May 29 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT
It seems like you are talking apples and oranges. Early detection of breast
cancer makes it easier to treat. The problem is that too many people think
"it won't happen to me" and wait too long for the tests.
That's why they campaign so hard.My wife was diagnosed with
early stage breast cancer through her annual mammogram. It still required
surgery and radiation treatment. It was a painful and scary process, although I
do understand it could have been much worse if it was not detected early.As a result of our experience, we encourage friends and family to
participate in the screenings for early detection. If it gets caught early,
medical professionals have a fairly good idea of what to do to treat it. We also want better treatment for late stage detection. There are
plenty of people already onboard with funding for research and improving
treatments. We participate in raising funds for ongoing research to effectively
conquer breast cancer. That's the second part of the process.I
hope you realize that this is a two pronged fight against cancer. Good luck in
Really, it's as if we don't understand cancer at all. Does the
medical establishment? Take two of the most common cancers - breast and
prostate. It's hard to impossible to distinguish the killer varieties and
those which will do no harm. We need accurate biomarkers.
One thing not commented on is Denise's age. Since she was only 37 at
diagnosis she was too young for regular free mammograms through ObamaCare, and
definitely not encouraged to seek that screening with no family history. It
must have taken great courage and a wonderful, positive attitude to have sent
Stage 4 to remission. Congratulations, and great article well written.
Excellent points. Great to hear another point of view instead of the usual
"get detected early". Doesn't always happen that way, and I too
feel it's important to have a voice for those individuals who might be
passed off as "incurable".
Another Thought says "The problem is that too many people think 'it
won't happen to me' and wait too long for the tests." That was not
Ms. Neish's problem. After all, what tests should a 37-year-old be having?
Routine mammograms are not medically indicated for women under 40, and a recent
government task force recommended that they don't need to start until age
50. Yes, women should be doing self-exams. But according to the American Cancer
Society, “Breast cancers that are found because they can be felt tend to
be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast.”
A routine mammogram saved my life, but that was because I was old
enough to be getting routine mammograms. Cancers that occur before 40 are
usually more aggressive. Encouraging “friends and family to participate in
the screenings for early detection” only helps those of a certain age. Ms.
Neish has every right to feel dismayed at the implication that early detection
might have helped her. I know a woman who, 10 months after a normal mammogram,
was found to have stage IV cancer, (which she has successfully fought). I wish
Ms. Neish all the best.
It's soo sad to think about not having your mom around, or wife or any of
the girls in your life, suffer the mental anguish, plus all the pains in her
Thank you for the well-wishes of those who commented. I was especially glad to
hear from the woman who has battled breast cancer herself. Happy that she could
see my perspective. Another Thought- I appreciated your comments, and am happy
that your wife is now healthy. "Insufficient" just means that it's
not enough. "Early detection" is obviously always going to be an
important message, but we have been saying the same thing for years now. What we
shouldn't say that we need to get checked before it's "too
late". We can do better than that. Let's put some of that "early
detection" campaign money toward actually finding a cure for breast cancer!
I think it's shameful that there has not been much improvement in treatment
for the last decade for this terrible disease. Those who have battled early
stage breast cancer should also insist that we work harder to find a cure,
because they have a much higher chance of recurrence, and next time it may be
metastatic. Did we just give up after the "early detection" campaign?
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