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1999 was my last one – until recently – and given my experience – it may well be my last one, ever.

Why?  Because I am fed up with the “breast industry” that has created more and more “procedures” for the purpose of making money, while delivering more false scares.  Oprah and I share that story.  OPRAH BREAST CANCER SCARE

Over the past decade there has been a constant shifting in the frequency and age of mammography. First at 50 – every five years – then every year – then they pushed it to 30 and 40 year old – but switched to every two years. The “breast experts” began to resemble the “food pyramid experts”, and look what they produced: a fat country.

Plus, I don’t like the idea of shooting radiation into my body – not for my teeth, not for my breast – unless absolutely necessary.

But this year, I allowed my young Doc to convince me to have a baseline mammogram. Which I did.  Then I got the call they needed a closer look at my left breast.  Whew – I thought the first  Poke, Prod, Twist, Squeeze was tough – the “close up” one was even more painful.  What is all that squeezing doing to our cells, I ask you? No man would ever allow this to be done with his pecker or balls, period.

But honestly, all of that was fine, generally.  What I objected to was the full court sales pitch that came after the scan.

The nurse (a Jane Lynch look-alike) takes me into the small, dark, hot, stuffy radiologists’ room who shows me the scan which looks like a small cluster of snow. They want to biopsy it – to see if it is cancerous.

“What?” I needed some clarification.  Like, what was I looking at on the screen and what was involved in a biopsy?

The radiologists explained that it could be simply some ducts that were non-cancerous  and clogged or had not opened … but they wanted to stick a needle into my breast and draw out some tissue to check, to make sure.

“And how do you biopsy that?” I asked.  The nurse explained two options

Option 1: A Surgeon cuts into you breast – guided by the projected image of your mammogram on your chest. FULL BOAT SURGERY.

Option 2: Lie on a table, breasts hanging out two holes, local anesthesia, shoot in a needle to draw out a sample tissue, leaving behind a little clip in the breast, then have ANOTHER Mammogram to see if they got the right spot. Oh, and I believe that is followed up with radiation and some kind of toxic medicine.

Really?  Would you let a mechanic do a procedure like that on your car? With that kind of outcome?

I looked closer at the image on the screen and said: “I’m going away for 6 months. I don’t think I’ll do anything about this until I return.”

The radiologist and nurse visibly shifted in their attitude and that’s when the full court press began – a concerted effort to convince me that having a biopsy was necessary.  As the Nurse walked me toward the exit, she urged me to reconsider with the zeal of someone on commission to capture a new recruit for a cult. No Joke.  And she did so right by the reception room, for everyone to hear.

I finally escaped and buzzed home – incensed – and remembering the woman I met just the day before who shared this horrific story of her daughter’s breast “cancer” experience – and subsequent surgery to get a cyst removed, that turned into a full-blown catastrophe because the surgeon punctured the cyst, spreading into the breast whatever was inside the cyst and now no one will touch her unless she agrees to have her breasts removed.

The woman then tracked down her daughter’s radiologist, who actually remembered her daughter’s scan and admitted: “You know, we really don’t  know a lot about this breast cancer yet. We just sit in a room and stare and stare at radiograms all day until we think we see something. ”

Really?!  But then, I’m not really surprised.

I’ve had the sense for years that Breast Cancer is an INDUSTRY, a CASH BOX and I was not a patient – I was a sales opportunity.

Breast Cancer is rapidly becoming the same as Prostate Cancer – which most men will get … but die of something else.

It’s not that I’m sticking my head in the sand -My aunt died of a full-blown case of Breast Cancer – in her early 80’s.

She knew she had a problem but refused to do anything about it as she was not going to spend her last years in a hospital environment.  She is my heroine.

It IS upsetting to hear someone suggest the BC word to you and it takes a lot of gumption to step back from the rush of treatments they push. But I believe we should SLOW DOWN rather than rush into procedures.  Even the radiologist said to me she believed there were too many biopsies being performed unnecessarily and she cited an article from READERS DIGEST that said the same.

“Mammograms also offer a smaller benefit than many patients — and doctors — assume. Mammography’s effectiveness has been hotly debated, but a carefully conducted 2005 analysis suggests it cuts the risk of dying of breast cancer by 15 percent, says the NIH’s Kramer. That means a 60-year-old who gets regular mammograms shaves her risk of dying of the disease in the next decade from 7 per 1,000 to 6 per 1,000.” (Readers Digest Article)

My cousin recently called to say she heard a news report that stated 1 out of 3 women will be over-diagnnosed with breast cancer and 1 out of 3 women will have unnecessary procedures. ONE OUT OF THREE!!

So Ladies – “Do No Go Gentle Into That Good Night…” Do not believe what they say on first sight.  Stop, Look, Listen, Research and Advocate for Yourself–  before you become a cog and a commodity in the Breast Cancer Wheel of Industry.



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by scott on November 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Here is the bottom line. It is a screening tool. It is not perfect and It has saved more lives than it has complicated. As a medical person and a person who care very much about you, i urge you dont ignore the results. Get a second opinion and dont ignore the results.


  2. Scott – thanks for checking in and for caring but the facts don’t add up so easily. Multiple professionals and multiple respected periodicals are calling this issue into questions for good reason. We need to slow down, and yes, get second opinions and thirds and alternatives – rather than the accepting the machine that is hungry.
    Again, thanks for caring.


  3. From My Friend Russ:
    Dear Laura,Brava,Brava,Brava.Still the smartest cookie in the cookie jar.HOpe your message is well circulated and heeded by women who are literally being scared to deathby their money grubbing MD’s.I hear this sort of fear talk on my show daily,tests,tests and more tests..Loved the title BOOBI trap.


  4. Posted by Jeff on December 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Laura, I have to agree with Scott on this one. As you know, I had a PSA of less than 1. Another screening tool that is far less than perfect. Who would have thought that I had prostate cancer. The needle biopsy confirmed cancer on both sides, Stage II. As Scott said, “don’t ignore the results”. See you in Cedar Key.


  5. Dear Laura,

    You know I have felt the same for YEARS! I have zero history of breast cancer in my family on either side, but I did have cystic breasts (still do I guess, but less coffee makes them less obvious). I absolutely refused the every two years mammogram thing, didn’t go for 7 years, and I endured the most awful, arrogant speechifying by physicians (women among them) who talked to me as if I were a complete idiot not to submit my rather dense and medium sized cupcakes to tear-inducing PAINFUL compression on a yearly basis. Never would they accept that I am a rather than an intelligent person who knows her breasts! They just follow their blanket “recommendations”. And that is part of it that’s very important: If a woman knows her breasts, knows what they look and feel like, she knows a lot better than anyone (including a machine) if anything has changed! Indeed, our partners should know our breasts almost as well as we do and should make it their business to check us on a regular basis, in my opinion.

    So I got a mammogram when we got here to Piedmont, just to have a baseline. Anyway it had been four years. Again, nothing (of course), except every time I have to explain that that little shadow on Lefty is a particularly large cyst. *Sigh*

    I do not expect to get another mammo for a good long while. And I fully expect that my GYN is gonna give me grief. Heck, they need to pay for their machines, right? It’s like when Ran got his knee done in November, I had to force them to take their expensive Polar Cube back (because we already have one at home from the last surgery) but it was a struggle. Why do we need another? Why because the hospital and the supplies company both make money from billing (read “bilking”) the insurance company $500 for this simple little plastic ice chest.

    No, hold your ground. You are right. And I was sad to hear about Bucks. When did he pass?

    Lots of love to all….


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