Did you know…
Fear-mongering is defined as the action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue.
Thanks to Dr Kenny Lin for his blog post in Common Sense Family Doctor :
Fear-mongering in thyroid and breast cancer screening
“From the 1980s-era American Cancer Society print advertisement that lectured women, “If you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined,” promoters of breast cancer screening long used fear to motivate women to undergo screening mammography.
In 2015, several advocacy organizations successfully persuaded the U.S. Congress to override the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s “C” grade (small net benefit) on screening mammography for women aged 40-49 with a “Stop the Guidelines” campaign that included full-page advertisements in major newspapers asking the rhetorical question “Which of our wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters would be OK to lose?
Women under 50 are less likely to benefit because there is less lethal breast cancer to be found in younger women, and consequently much higher false positive rates that affect more than half of all women receiving annual mammograms from age 40 to 50. And the USPSTF didn’t tell clinicians don’t screen – more accurately, they said don’t screen reflexively, and the message to younger women is not to avoid mammograms, but to talk about the pros and cons with your doctor.
That hasn’t stopped a new alliance of radiologists and breast cancer surgeons from targeting the Task Force with a 40not50 campaign which encourages women in their 40s to turn off their brains, eschew shared decision-making, and demand that their doctors start screening them at age 40 because mammograms save lives, and a government-appointed panel (whose 16 current members include 6 women) wants to prevent women from seeing their 50th birthdays.
Notwithstanding the ulterior motives behind this absurd campaign, it is insulting to women. It says that they can’t be trusted to consider the medical evidence, have conversations with their primary care physicians, and make decisions about their healthcare that are right for them.”
Thank you for calling this out Dr. Lin! Well said!
Please also see:
31 Days of “Little Known” FACTS — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Day 18 — Fear vs Facts
31 Days of “Little Known” FACTS — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Day 21 — Biased Guidelines & Marketing
DCIS is NOT a “Ticking Time Bomb” — What Women Really Need to Know