cphite wrote:KnightExemplar wrote:For example, it was recently discovered that mammograms were not useful to patients of age 40 or younger. If we simply enact a policy that stops women from getting mammograms before age 40, then we conserve more resources with minimal risk.
A good friend of mine just celebrated her second cancer-free year since being diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. She was 31 when she was diagnosed. I've gone to several Komen walks with her; it's pretty startling how many women under the age of 40 you see at those events who are either survivors or currently fighting breast cancer.
The problem isn't mammograms; the problem is that mammograms are ridiculously expensive. Medical procedures in the USA are ridiculously expensive almost across the board, because there is practically zero downward pressure on pricing; and actually some upward pressure. Instead of trying to cherry pick procedures to stop people from getting, we should focus on getting the prices of procedures down to reasonable levels.
Angua wrote:It's weird, I thought that you give ultrasounds to women under 40 because of the difference in consistency of their breast tissue.
Is screening women under 40 a big thing in the US for breast cancer? In the UK it's women over 50 (though any person who has a lump or something suspicious will get fast tracked to a breast clinic no matter the age).
You're right, malignant tumours have a tendency to look somewhat like healthy glandular breast tissue (except for calcifications). So making a mammogram on a pre-menopause woman is like making a picture with a lot of static, the intensity varies somewhat, but it's nearly useless, this has little to do with women getting breast cancer before the age of 40.
There is also a separate issue: diagnosing is mostly determining the odds of it being each of the candidate diseases (or physiological). I.e. if 5% of healthy women get a positive test result, and 80% of women with cancer get the same result, but only 0.1% of the population has cancer a lot of people get the side effects of further testing and perhaps of treatment with sometimes lethal side-effects. The frequency of cancer in women with lumps of a certain consistency is much higher.
Ultra-sound does fix the first issue, but I think it suffers somewhat more from the second issue (reliability).
PS what is the exchange thing? Is it a subsidised insurance program? Why don't clinics like it?