I Want My Mammogram
I never thought I'd say these words: I want my mammogram! It's not like it's an enjoyable experience, even though the staff at the centers usually try their best to make it pleasantly tolerable. It's just that I've been watching the news this week surrounding the announcement that the United States Prevention Services Task Force has updated the government's recommendations for women to no longer have mammograms on a regular basis prior to age 50. It's left me worried that the new recommendations will reverse the gains made during the past two decades of work on behalf of women's healthcare and where early detection of breast cancer has moved mountains (no pun intended), the early detection guidelines have saved multiple women close to my family and workplace because their cancers were caught in stage one.
But what most surprised me this week was that the task force spokespeople were not prepared for the amount of anger they've received from women regarding the new recommendation. Which made me actually laugh out loud. Who are the people on this independent task force that they couldn't predict their announcement to be ill-received? The bulk of the audience their announcement affects is women age 30-60! As in, the popular age of motherhood, and passionate opinions.
For me, the recommendations come down to a matter of choice for women - a choice women have had at least for the past decade that I've been clued into mammograms. While there were recommended guidelines for women over 40, it was a woman's choice whether she followed through or not. It wasn't like our children having to provide proof of getting a flu shot in order to attend school. Women weren't accountable to anyone but themselves if they chose to get a mammogram. We could weigh the risks for us and decide to have one or not. These new recommendations for women under 50 to forego mammograms feels like my choice and other women's choice to have a say in our own healthcare is being eroded away. If something exists to catch breast cancer early, I want access to it! I'd like my fellow moms to have the choice to get a mammogram too.Continued on the next page