Thank goodness she wasn't relying on Obamacare.
Good Morning America host Amy Robach revealed on her show that a recent on-air mammogram had found she has breast cancer, but the diagnosis wouldn’t have been made if she followed certain federal guidelines for screening.Read the rest of the article at TIME magazine
Robach is 40, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of independent experts convened by the government to review the risks and benefits of different screening practices, advised in 2009 that as a public health measure, the benefits of saving lives would outweigh the risks of screening if women started getting yearly checks beginning at age 50, rather than at age 40, as the American Cancer Society and other groups advise.
The task force based its conclusion on the potential costs, both economic and emotional, of uncertain mammogram results, which would lead to follow up tests including biopsies and procedures like lumpectomies and mastectomies, most of which, the studies they investigated showed, ended up being negative.
But maximizing public health and decreasing harm may be at odds with minimizing an individual woman’s risk of dying of breast cancer. And that’s the situation that “we see every day in my field,” says Dr. Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “We see real human beings getting screening mammograms so their cancer is detected at stages when we have curative treatments,” Norton continues. “When people talk about the downsides of screening, it doesn’t compute in the minds of people who are actually in contact with human beings.”
Robach wrote on Good Morning America’s website that she has “very little family history” of the disease, and “considered it virtually impossible that I would have cancer.” She only agreed to get the mammogram, live on air, at the request of her producers and colleague Robin Roberts, herself a cancer survivor. Had she followed the USPSTF guidelines, which some doctors do, and upon which some insurers base reimbursement decisions, she might not have gotten a mammogram for another decade. “I don’t want to imagine what could have happened if she had her first mammogram at age 50,” says Norton of Robach’s case. ...
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