There appears to be an attack against women.
Just a few days ago, new guidelines came out advising women to stop doing self breast exams and is completely altering the mammogram schedule. I can’t help but wonder how this is justified when breast cancer continues to be one of the ten leading causes of death in women.
What confuses me most is, why not do self breast exams? How many women out there have done self exams and found a lump whether it turned out to be anything or not? Doing a self breast exam does not cost anyone anything. I don’t understand why women would be encouraged NOT to do self breast exams. Oh, wait. A self exam might reveal a lump. God forbid a lump be properly checked out. That might cost some money. But it might also cost a life.
In addition to this insult, they are now saying that pap smears should be performed every two years. This makes no sense to me either.
HPV (human papillomavirus) still remains the most prevalent and widespread sexually transmitted disease out there. According to the CDC, over 80% of the population is infected and most do not know it. Also, almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. With something so rampant, do we really want to wait every two years to see if we’re infected? While it’s true that some HPV can be fought off by the body’s own immune system, others who are infected need more invasive treatment and the longer the wait, the more invasive… and more costly.
Everyone who is at risk for cancer has been told time and time again that early detection is the key to how well the disease can be fought off. Even a year can mean the difference between life and death.
I fear that the reason for these changes are in anticipation of health care reform. Obviously this will save money in the long run. Obviously money means a lot more then saving lives.
While women can take charge and still do self breast exams, what we can’t do, unless we want to pay for it out of pocket, is a pap smear. Who can afford to do that? So essentially our lives are in the hands of those who set these standards and guidelines. It’s a very scary thought. And of course, insurance companies won’t cover these preventative measures anymore.
I’m willing to bet that they wouldn’t take such a gamble if they knew they would be held personally responsible for women’s deaths. Women will die because of this; there’s no doubt about it. And the people who set these standards should be held accountable for that when it happens.
I would like to add that it is suggested that men be checked yearly for prostate cancer. They haven’t changed this recommendation yet. Will they?