Thursday, May 01, 2008
Taking some of the "scary" out of b/c
…HA knows five women who got breast cancer—one died. But you know those deals where they say one in seven women will get it? Those are pretty creepy.
…According to Carol Tavris and Avrum Bluming, author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) and an oncologist at USC, respectively, the stats are unnecessarily scary.
…Of women diagnosed early, 90% will survive and not need disfiguring mastectomies or chemo. One of HA’s five ignored hers and it broke through the skin—and she is still here 15 years later.
…Of course, we see all those weirdass studies—eating grapefruit increases your chances of getting b/c 30%, for example. But this tells you nothing. You need to know the total number of women with b/c who ate grapefruit. If one in 1000 breast cancer patients who ate grapefruit changed to three in 1000—that’s a 300% increase, but is not alarming. If it was 100 shifting to 300, maybe.
…Even the much-vaunted increase in breast cancer among women taking hormone replacement translated to 6 out 100 women, instead of 5.
…So many so-called factors have been linked to breast cancer: gaining more than 33 pounds when pregnant, eating fish, being a Finnish flight attendant, being a Dutch survivor of childhood famine, and so on. Most of these are nonsense.
…Unfortunately, the authors say, good news doesn’t travel as fast as fear.