Thousands of women remain misinformed about their options when it comes to Breast Cancer screenings. Some suggest that public pink ribbon campaigns which focus on the benefits of mammography exclusively could be to blame.
Still Confused After 50 Years of Mainstream Mammography Education
A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that 9 out of 10 women “vastly overestimate” the benefits of a mammography screening (or have no idea about them). The same study found that most American women believe mammography could prevent Breast Cancer from happening in the first place.
What causes women around the world, and especially in the United States, to be so misinformed about the facts?
Mammography Screenings: The Debate Continues
According to a 2009 report publish by researchers at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, “[no] screening test has ever been more carefully studied than screening mammography.” They reference more than 600,000 women over the last five decades who have participated in randomized mammography trials to prove their point.
“Given this extraordinary research effort, it is ironic that screening mammography continues to be one of the most contentious issues within the medical community,” they state. “Wouldn’t you think that the fact that [mammography] is still debated… for the last 50 years would mean that the benefits and risks are about even?”
Mainstream Informational Campaigns Make It Worse
Breast cancer screening campaigns tell women what to do. They do not give all the information needed for a woman to make her own choices. In pink ribbon fact sheets, for example, there is no mention of false positives which occur in up to 20% of all mammogram screenings. There is also no mention of the fact that mammograms themselves can sometimes lead to cancer.
One study suggests that those exposed to public campaigns are the most confused about what mammography can and can’t do.
“Most surprisingly, those who frequently consulted their physicians and health pamphlets were slightly worse informed,” states a Swiss study.
Other studies focus on advertising over the years. They suggest that a culture of fear and peer pressure has directly influenced women’s perceptions and actions. A Breast Cancer screening poster put out by the American Cancer Society in the 1970’s states:
“If you are a woman over 35, be sure to schedule a mammogram. Unless you’re still not convinced of its importance. In which case, you may need more than your breasts examined.” Really??
Other experts call the lack of real public information about Breast Cancer screenings an act of “disease mongering” on the part of the pharmaceutical industry.
“Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers,” states Ray Moynihan of the Australian Financial Review and Henry David, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Newcastle, in a commentary for the British Medical Journal. “The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.”
However it came to be, the reality of the situation is clear. Women in the U.S. and elsewhere are still not getting the whole picture when it comes to Breast Cancer screening.
Now that YOU are in the know, here are 3 action steps you can take NOW:
#3 Understand that you have the right to decide for yourself regarding mammogram. Encourage your loved ones to do the same.
#4 Create the habit of proper Breast Self-Exams (BSE).
The real question that each woman must ask for herself when it comes to conventional Breast Cancer screening is: Do the benefits out-way the risks for me?
If you are doing your best to stay informed about all sides of Breast Cancer screening and you take the time to go within before you decide on a course of action, then you WILL take the right steps for your Healthy Breast journey!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr V”) is the founder of Breast Cancer Conqueror.com and The 7 Essentials System ™. This step-by-step guide empowers you with knowledge so you Never Have to Fear Breast Cancer Again! To watch a FREE webinar about the 7 steps for beating breast cancer naturally, Click Here.