Don’t rush so quickly for routine mammograms. No need to bother with annual pap smears.
What other time-honored advice would the medical profession like to revise next?
Shall we all start stuffing our faces with high-fat food?
For decades, doctors have been telling women to start getting mammograms at 40 and that early breast-cancer screening is the key to staying alive. Now suddenly, the eminent physicians at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force are saying 50 is soon enough.
Too few cancers are being caught now, they explain. Too many unnecessary biopsies are being ordered.
And just as that news was sinking in, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists arrived with a second medical flash: Annual pap tests cause more health problems than they solve.
In both cases, the experts relied on solid-sounding statistics, studies both long and wide. In both cases, the new conclusion was greeted with an uproar of confusion, outrage and doubt.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius went so far as to say Wednesday that women should continue getting regular mammograms starting at age 40.
The doctors forgot something important on the way to their change of heart: Statistics will rarely calm a worried patient.
We keep learning this lesson, most recently in the big health reform debate. Human factors – comfort, nervousness, just wanting to know – all play a bigger role than the experts ever anticipate.
The nation’s health is one thing. Mine – or yours – is another.
What are people comfortable with? Who do they really trust? What do they fear most? And this:
Change is never easy when health is on the line.
The doctors may have science on their side. They’ll have ample time to prove it.
But they still aren’t good at delivering big news.
1. Oprah’s next platform
2. Rudy’s next race
3. Sarah’s next office
4. H1N1′s next panic
5. Medicine’s next never-mind
UPPERCUT: Yes, there are some truly generous tough guys stepping into the ring Monday night at the Hilton in Melville for the Long Island Fight for Charity. But the firmest punches may well be thrown by the female fighters on the card, who include Bethany Thomas, Lauren Trezza, Kim Masi, Tina Masi and Andrea Attivissimo. The real prize for both genders? Beating the $140,000 raised last year for Long Island Community Chest, Genesis School and Family Residences and Essential Enterprises. Pow, pow, pow!
ASKED AND UNANSWERED: The Port Authority wants to stop accepting bridge-and-tunnel tolls in cash? What next? Squeegee guys who insist on E-ZPass? . . . When Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer heard the county legislature might subpoena his e-mails, what thought flashed through his head? “Yes, vindication!” or “Oh my god, what did I write?” . . . You mean Long Island home sellers really are dropping their prices? Amazing, isn’t it, how a deader-than-dead market can loosen everyone’s resolve? . . . What will Rebecca Tharpe say when the convicted Brentwood mortgage scammer delivers her first court-ordered lecture on mortgage scams? Never ever listen to people like me? . . . You’re not planning to ride the LIRR Oyster Bay branch this weekend, are you? Good. Don’t. . . . Are the Palins really expecting Levi for Thanksgiving dinner? Did the invitation sound a little lukewarm to you? . . . Did it really take just four hours for local boy Bill O’Reilly (with Fox pal Glenn Beck) to sell out the Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury on Jan. 23? . . . What happened after Miley Cyrus left Nassau Coliseum Thursday night? By Friday morning, one of the teen singer’s tour drivers was dead in an overturned bus? . . . “New Moon”? Or just same old moon on a new theater screen? . . . If their team was winning, would Knicks fans be so upset to miss Allen Iverson? They aren’t so they are. . . . Will Oprah’s real legacy be the book club, even more than the talk show?
106th Rescue Wing
New York Air National Guard
When a 67-year-old Canadian sailor went missing on his way to Bermuda, who else can you call? Just like that, an HC-130 Hercules search-and-rescue aircraft was taking off from Francis S. Gabreski Air Base in Westhampton Beach with a team of para-rescue jumpers aboard. Soon enough, they were scouring open ocean from Virginia to Bermuda in search of a 45-foot sailboat. Would they find sailor Hubert Marcoux and his boat the Mon Pays? Would they not? There few guarantees in this line of work – just this one: When called, they go.
Category: In Print