Sunday, May 10, 2009

At least age makes them more pliable

I stalled on the mammogram thing as long as I could. One of my very first posts on this blog was about the mammogram nonsense. I swear, it's just a money-making scam. The name sounds like it should be some type of special correspondence from one's mother, but I suppose that would be a mama-gram.

According to the National Cancer Institute's risk calculator, I have about a one percent probability of getting breast cancer in the next ten years. I am married to a statistician, but I don't need him to explain that one in a hundred means I can skip the annual mammogram.

In June of 2007, I had a mammogram. It was three or four years since my first one. I went begrudgingly. Three days later, a letter came in the mail saying my boobs needed further inspection. The followup appointment was three hours long. there was the whole new set of films, an ultrasound, and then another ultrasound. Everything was inconclusive, but "probably benign." After researching everything I could about who does and does not get breast cancer, I refused to return for the six-month follow-up appointment.

Two years have passed, and I was being badgered from all sides. Fine. I went. It was awkward, it was uncomfortable, and I remain sure that it was unnecessary. If there is a letter in the mail this week, I will not return for another session of breast smooshing. I will stay on my schedule and go back in two or three years.

Why is this seen as such a big deal by the gynecologist and the primary care doctor? Haven't they read the data? Are they unfamiliar with the risk calculators? Did they miss every statistics class they were supposed to take? One in a hundred. I will take those odds.

No comments: