Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why isn't 1 out of 2000 enough?

So there is a researcher in the UK who says breast screening is useless since it only saves one in 2000 lives.

This number isn't all that new, it's about what has been bandied about in the US in regards to women in their 40's and mammograms.

One in 2K may sound like a small number but it's not.

Fill a football stadium with 60,000 people. 30 of them dead is not OK.

But my real beef goes beyond the numbers of lives saved.

It never factors in the numbers of breasts saved due to early detection, the number of women spared chemotherapy due to early detection, the lower chance of lymphedema if you catch it before it moves to your nodes.

I realize there is a relevant point to the fact that some women statistically will be over treated, and their pain is not insignificant. But even if a cancer does not leave the breast, letting it grow to a larger size is not doing anyone a favor. Nobody wants to find their cancer at a later stage.

We are more than a numbers game.