I'm a busy woman. (Last night I held my face over a steaming bowl of pasta I was making for dinner and wondered if that could count as a "getting a facial.")
Busy I may be, but there is one thing I make sure to schedule time for: my annual mammogram. Now I'm flabbergasted and pissed about the new guidelines coming out about mammograms. I knew the news was out there that some doctors are recommending changes to the way women are screened in the U.S., but I didn't focus on it.
After all, I had just gone for my annual mammogram. Ironically, while I was in the waiting room thumbing through the glossy magazines, I came across an article about this. I read it, then took off my gown and got my mammogram. You would too if you'd watched your cousin die from cancer.
In fact, if you had to make a Top 10 list of the things I am really afraid of, sharks and breast cancer would be on it. (I can trace the shark part back to childhood, when I read the bulk of Jaws before an adult could stop me. While staying at a seaside inn.) But I was also very young when I stood at the bedside of my older cousin and watched her pass away, leaving three beautiful children befret. She had breast cancer, seemed to beat it, then later it spread and killed her. Her sister also had it. Breast cancer is a beast, like Jaws, that I want to avoid.
So I'm considered high risk, even though I don't have a direct maternal link to breast cancer. (The cousins are on my father's side.) But because of this, I have always been aware of the issue and gone for my mammograms.
I've looked at earlier articles about this in the New York Times, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. How could everything we've been told be wrong? I know this happens all the time with other things - one day we're told coffee is bad for us, the next day it's found to have positive health benefits, etc. But this is different. This is big.
This week there was no avoiding it. Because NPR did a two-part story on the changing recommendations. Since I am a news junkie but don't have time to read much, the radio has become my main source of news. I would be lost without the BBC and NPR and WBAI, my local progressive station.Continued on the next page