31 Days of “Little Known” FACTS — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Day 19 — Celebrities & Mammography Advice

Did you know….

#1. Companies use celebrities to aggressively market 3D mammograms, although there’s no evidence they save lives.

In July 2016, Health News Review wrote:

Sheryl Crow hawks 3D mammograms with fear and false hope

“It may not be her favorite mistake, but it was a mistake nonetheless for the singer and breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow to advocate in an aggressive, unbalanced way on behalf of a 3D mammography device.

That’s the takeaway of a number of breast cancer experts who’ve reviewed the content of the manufacturer-sponsored “education campaign” and Crow’s statements regarding breast cancer screening. They found blatant abuse of statistics and misleading guidance about the appropriate role of mammography screening in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Fast forward to Oct 18, 2019, USA Today: Massive marketing muscle pushes 3D mammograms, despite no evidence they save more lives, investigation shows

“Yet newer tech isn’t necessarily better – and it can cause harm, said Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor at John Hopkins University. “It’s unethical to push a product before you know it helps people,” he said.

#2. Celebrities influence public opinion

Prevention.com did a good job calling celebrity chef Sandra Lee in Why Getting A Mammogram May Cause More Trouble Than It’s Worth:

“After a routine mammogram found that she had stage 0 breast cancer, TV chef and cookbook author Sandra Lee started soap-boxing.

“I don’t care if my niece is only 23,” she said on Good Morning America when she revealed her diagnosis and her plan to get a double mastectomy. “Girls in their 20s and 30s just have to know. If you’re sitting at home right now watching this… get your rear end in there and get a mammogram right now.”

This is singularly bad advice. There’s little evidence that all women need a mammogram right now. If you’re a woman under 40, in fact, getting a mammogram is far more likely to harm your health than to help it. That’s largely true for women between 40 and 49 as well. “

The problem is not when a celebrity makes a personal decision to have extremely aggressive treatments, it’s when a celebrity goes public and gives medical advice on TV and gets a film produced about her opinion on early detection — and is invited to speak at conferences and events.

While it’s great that Sandra Lee is happy with her double mastectomies for her DCIS, celebrities should not be giving medical advice on major TV news programs — especially without giving an alternative, less aggressive approach and perspective for this controversial topic.

In 2015, Celebrity chef Sandra Lee was told by her doctors she was “a ticking time bomb.  I was inspired to write a response:

DCIS is NOT a “Ticking Time Bomb” — What Women Really Need to Know

About Donna Pinto

I am originally from New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles with my family at age 12. After graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Journalism, I had a short-stint in magazine advertising sales before landing my "dream job" with Club Med. For two years I worked at resorts in Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic and Colorado. My husband Glenn & I met in Ixtapa, Mexico and we embarked on a two year honeymoon around the world. This was also a research project for a book we wrote called "When The Travel Bug Bites: Creative Ways to Earn, Save and Stay Abroad." I am also the author of a quote book for new graduates -- "Cheatnotes on Life: Lessons From The Classroom of Life." In 1997, we settled in San Diego and I was blessed to work part-time from home for non-profit organizations while raising our two boys. In 2010, a DCIS diagnosis changed my life. DCIS 411 is the culmination of my on-going journey and discoveries.
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