I’ve spoken and written about the imbalance in the news coverage about the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force’s new guidelines on mammography last November.
If stories and communications are going to use anecdotes, then for every anecdote about a woman who claims her life was saved by a mammogram in her 40s (something that can’t be proven), there should be a countering anecdote with a woman who had a mammogram in her 40s and got a diagnosis of DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ.
Well the New York Times nailed that story this week, under the headline, “Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer.“
I’ll only offer the link and will post only this one excerpt:
“Diagnosing D.C.I.S. “is a 30-year history of confusion, differences of opinion and under- and overtreatment.”
Everyone should read this story in its entirety.
It covers what was missing too often in the discussion about mammography screening last November. There are tradeoffs of harms and benefits. There is a need for fully informed shared decision-making in the face of this diagnosis. This story makes that clear. Much of our public discussion has not.