by Max Brantley
I'm wondering about local reaction to the huge national story about a federal panel's changed recommendations on breast screening.
The recommendations, issued Monday by a federal advisory panel, reversed widely promoted guidelines and were intended to reduce overtreatment. The panel said the benefits of screening women in their 40s — saving one life for every 1,904 women screened for 10 years — were outweighed by the potential for unnecessary tests and treatment, and the accompanying anxiety. Women considered at high risk should continue to have early screening, the panel said.
Several doctors said that while they understood the panel’s risk-benefit analysis, their patients would not see it that way. “My patients tell me they can live with a little anxiety and distress but they can’t live with a little cancer,” said Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut.