I was taken aback a moment ago when I came across a Facebook update from yesterday posted by a Komen Affiliate. It was advertising free mammograms. There is nothing wrong with offering free mammograms per se, but the announcement included a heavily scrutinized advertisement that claims getting screened is the key to surviving breast cancer. It isn’t. If concern about Komen’s misrepresentation of scientific information sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve already been over this.
Professors Steven Woloshin, MD, and Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, . . . → Read More: Komen, Still Spreading Screening Hype
Christie Aschwanden is an award-winning freelance writer and editor. She is a contributing editor for Runner’s World and was a contributing editor for Health from 2000 to 2010. She has been a contributing writer for Skiing and her articles and essays have appeared in more than 50 other publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, O—the Oprah Magazine, Men’s Journal, Slate, NPR, Mother Jones, National Wildlife, Backpacker, Reader’s Digest, Self, WebMD, Science, Cell and New Scientist. Christie has also written and edited books and reports for the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of . . . → Read More: The false narratives of pink ribbon month, redux
This article was edited since its original publication.
It is now widely known that the benefits of wholesale mammography screening were overpromised. Rates of overdiagnosis (i.e., when a diagnosed tumor lacks the potential to progress to a clinical stage, or is so slow-growing that the person would die from other causes) are higher than previously realized. We still do not know what causes breast cancer, how to prevent it, or why it recurs. The breast cancer that kills (i.e., metastatic) continues to strike hundreds of . . . → Read More: The trouble with Komen: Misusing statistics/Generating false hope
One might assume that anything involving breast cancer awareness would be based on the best available evidence. Unfortunately, this assumption would be wrong. I’ve evaluated hundreds of campaigns, advertisements, websites, educational brochures, and other sundry materials related to breast cancer awareness only to find information that is inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, or out of context. We could spend the whole year analyzing them. For now, consider a print advertisement for mammograms by CENTRA Mammography Services. [Note: I previously shared this ad back in July in an . . . → Read More: 3. Factoids and Impressions
Andrea Mitchell MSNBC
On September 7th, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell told viewers that on a “personal note” she was “now among the one in eight women in this country…who have had breast cancer.”
In her one-minute reveal about how her summer vacation ended with a diagnosis instead of a hiking trip, Ms. Mitchell assured viewers that her breast cancer was found “during her annual screening…at its earliest stage,” and that it “had not spread.” As evidence of her successful treatment, she said, “I’m already back . . . → Read More: A Call for Responsible Reporting
Image from www.breastcancersite.com
You wouldn’t know it from the pink billboards but questions about the benefits and risks of screening mammography have been ongoing in the medical scientific community for decades. No screening test has been studied more extensively, and study after study confirms that the vast majority of women (70 to 90%) do not have their lives lengthened as a result of routine screening. What’s more there’s a good chance they will be overdiagnosed (5 to 50 percent) and over-treated (20 to 30 percent), . . . → Read More: Mammogram Mania
The commercialization of breast cancer has been a growing trend. Beginning with the emergence of the pink ribbon in 1992, there has been an increasing notion that breast cancer “awareness” results from pink osmosis. Many, including myself, have asked: What exactly are people made aware of? When analyzing the imagery associated with pink ribbon products and awareness activities, the messages are clear:
Breast cancer exists.
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All women are at risk.
[singlepic id=33 . . . → Read More: “It’s Time To Get Real”
During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), and throughout the year, pink ribbons and products abound in supermarkets, shopping malls, magazines, newspapers, television shows, billboards, and work places with inspirational stories from pink ribbon culture to accompany them. The media-friendly interplay of pink femininity and cancer culture provides a light, entertaining, and at times comical depiction of the cause of breast cancer that some, including myself, find disturbing.
Like most everyone else spreading the pink, NBCAM has its own store for pink products. These . . . → Read More: Pink Kitsch, Brought To You By NBCAM
Every year, over 700 thousand women in the United States are diagnosed with some type of cancer. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death (after lung cancer). In 2009, the American Cancer Society estimated over 192 thousand new cases of breast cancer among women and over 40 thousand deaths. Although 80 percent of new breast cancer cases were in women over age fifty, a growing number were diagnosed at earlier ages. Nearly . . . → Read More: “1 in 8” – Fear Mongering and the Probability of Developing Breast Cancer