Cancer Screening – have your say
There is heated debate in some quarters over benefits or problems caused by Mammograms, with experts taking opposing views. Recently I attended one debate where world-renowned experts were one step away from an Olympics-style boxing match – it became so heated.
There is an increasing recognition that people should be provided with what they need to make an informed choice themselves about cancer screening, including balanced information about benefits and harms.
Currently, Professor Amanda J Ramirez, National Cancer Action Team is leading a review, engaging clinicians, academics and charities, who have helped us develop a proposed approach. This has been published on http://www.informedchoiceaboutcancerscreening.org/
Ramirez is keen to engage YOU in the debate over the coming months. The website will give members of the public an opportunity to have their say about the approach, the type of information that should be available and how it should be presented. It is well worth taking this survey, which should take about ten minutes, as the answers will be noted and form help the Team get the views of the public on the approach.
More and more research is showing breast screening can possibly cause harm as well as benefit. Ever since the pan-European cancer charity Europa Donna held a fascinating debate in London on screening pros and cons, people have been asking questions. And major organisations have typically stood back and offered platitudes rather than action.
Dept. of Health, NHS, Breast Cancer Charities, cancer hospitals, professionals, etc. have done what they do best – sat on the fence.
Brave souls, from cancer patient Mitzi Blennerhasset, to one of world’s leading breast cancer surgeons, Prof. Michael Baum, have been calling and calling for an investigation – for more information – for the truth to come out – but finally Richards, the ‘Cancer Czar’, has been goaded in to action, come off his comfy fence, and ordered a review.
Meanwhile Mitzi has posted a string of information on her website,
The debate was aired here first
It takes guts for a pioneer, lauded for his work, to go on looking at facts – then come out and say further research says “do the opposite”.
Over two years ago, on a night when there was thick snow, enough interested people managed to fight through the drifts to hear a fascinating debate, put on by Europa Donna.
The debate was between various luminaries of the breast cancer world – and got so heated that the snows were well on their way to be melted. Michael was there to explain why, having set up the NHS Breast Screening programme, he now advocated caution – and was telling people that the programme should provide much more information, and to urge further investigation into the results.
Of course, if the NHS ‘approves’ something, woe betide anyone who sensibly points out that once a programme is rolling, it might throw up anomalies. The NHS has approved – so you don’t questions this. Well, not if you don’t want the medical establishment to close ranks.
Michael doesn’t care; his position in the surgical oncology world is so eminent he doesn’t need to worry. But it took guts for Mitzi to question the medical establishment, and demand better treatment for cancer patients.
It should be OUR personal choice if we want a mammogram, or not. Not dependent on fighting the system or paying to go privately. But to make this choice we should be given the facts, and let’s hope Mike Richards pulls his finger out and gets on with the review.
Here is an extract of Mitzi’s research, up on http://evenstarsexplode.wordpress.com/
*COCHRANE LEAFLET: screening for breast cancer with mammography http://www.cochrane.dk/screening/mammography-leaflet.pdf