While there is a greater chance of detecting breast cancer through mammogram testing at age 50, starting at age 40 won’t kill you. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released new information recommending that women age 40 to 49, no longer go in for routine mammogram screening.
The USPSTF also recommended going for mammogram testing once every two years instead of every year. This recommendation could benefit some women, but this definitely isn’t the case when it comes to African American women.
According to Dr. Marissa Weiss, director of Breast Radiation Oncology, and director of Breast Health Outreach at Pennsylvania’s Lankenau Hospital, African-American women are more likely to get breast cancer than white women when they’re under age 40.
Reports from the U.S Department of health also say that black women suffering with breast cancer ages 35 to 44 die at a rate double that of white women in the same age group. However, age is not the only problem black women are faced with. They are also subject to being diagnosed with a more serious and fast-developing type of breast cancer known as triple negative. Triple negative is more aggressive and resistant to traditional forms of treatment.
My mother was a victim of breast cancer. She had breast cancer for two years without symptoms, and within three months of being diagnosed, she was gone. The doctor described it as being stage four accelerated, meaning it had covered all of her organs. She passed just 22 days after her 49th birthday.
Mammogram testing should be left up to the patient and doctor because all women aren’t same. Breast cancer doesn’t have specific criteria and it could happen to anyone at any age. All women should be alert and take precautions to catch it in time, if possible.
With the new recommendations given out by the USPSTF, I believe women are being given the wrong message, especially black women. At times, we feel that it can’t happen to us. Well, statistics show that it’s taking us out at a rate far faster than any other race group.
Is there an underlying message in these recommendations? What do the USPSTF hope to gain from these results? All of these things come to mind when I think about the issue. It can’t possibly expect to help women with this research. It seems like it’s about money. But for the sake of my mother and women all over the world I hope this isn’t about saving a dollar. Not when we’ve shelled out millions of dollars for a war that was pointless and has left our economy in shambles.
Living in a country where war trumps healthcare is sickening to me. We’d rather send people to war than to allow women funding to routinely get mammograms that are much needed. If just one mother, sister or daughter’s life is saved by early testing it’s well worth it.