We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Back in the day, had a mammography for specific symptoms. Mammography confirmed problem; had minor op; no problems since. Don't know the details of friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer except one: mammography didn't find; self-examination did.
without the mammogram that prompted a more detailed cancer study the lymphoma in my mother wouldn't have been diagnosed when it was (a small lump was seen, which turned out to be one of the cancerous growth in her body).
Not that it mattered, it was diagnosed way too late to be curable, but then the mammogram was also delayed a lot past the time it should have been done.
So no, saying that they're universally useless is just as idiotic as saying they're a universal guarantee to catch breast cancer early.
I just went for my first (was putting it off I'm 45, and they've been pushing me for years to get one)
and was totally put off by my (new) doc's comments. Sounded like he expected me to be paranoid about getting breast cancer. Is worrying about it going to make me less apt to get it?
Probably the opposite.
Women are easily exploited on this issue. Not only are our breasts very important to us, but we are ignorant of statistics. The 1 in 8 number publicized by all those who profit from women's fear is a lifetime risk. At age 50, there is about a 2.3% risk that a woman will develop breast cancer between 50 and 60. That's between 2 & 3 women per 100.
We understand very little about breast cancer. I know women who were diagnosed early who are dead and women who were diagnosed late who are still alive 20 years later.
The best article I read on this issue casts doubt on survival rates: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2013-08-18/what-if-what-you-survived-wasn-t-cancer-
As I understand the problem: There are too many false positive from mammograms causing physical and emotional pain to prove that the test was simply wrong. So that's the first problem that the mammogram is a poor and inaccurate diagnostic tool. The second problem is the belief that mammograms save lives by finding the cancer "soon enough" that it is operable etc. But in fact there is more then one version of breast cancer and the slower growing less aggressive version is the one that usually accounts for this phenomenon and if that same cancer had been discovered later when it became obvious to the patient it would have still been operable. While the more aggressive cancer is still potentially deadly even when discovered early. But this distinction is not touted by the medical community for various reasons not the least of which if people knew the mammogram was not very effective then they would stop getting them and that particular profit center would disappear. Then of course there is the various special interest groups who think spending money and medical attention on this problem equates with doing something positive about it so mammograms must not only continue but should be mandatory even for more younger women. The various sides in this arguement have their minds made up and to the extent that science and experience disagrees with their bias it is disregarded.