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Dr. Susan Love on wishful thinking & breast cancer

See Dr. Susan Love’s column, “Wishful Thinking and Breast Cancer” – a breast cancer awareness month gem. Excerpt:

“All too often, when it comes to breast cancer, we seem to get caught up in wishful thinking and forget about science.

We use wishful thinking when it comes to breast cancer screening guidelines. We get angry at the experts who tell us studies show that mammography is less beneficial for women in their 40s. We focus on the idea that if only every woman had regular mammograms every cancer would be found early and cured.

This ignores the biology of breast cancer, which tells us that there are at least five or six different kinds of breast cancer that grow at different rates. Some are slow enough to be found early by mammography, but others are too fast growing or fast spreading to be “caught” at the exact right time. Instead of arguing about screening guidelines, we need to face the science squarely and focus on prevention, so that we can learn how to avoid cancer in the first place.”

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