A Better East Texas: Breast Cancer Screening

Recently the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released new findings from existing research recommending that women and doctors take a much more casual approach in the diagnosis and detection of breast cancer.  The reaction was one of shock and anger from many doctors, care providers, cancer survivors and women in general.  But beyond the reaction, there is an underlying problem with this type of public decree.  There is the potential that insurance companies could reduce covered tests and diagnostic tools to this new less frequent standard.   And could this also be the tip of the ice berg where other standards are relaxed causing more out of pocket costs for patients that test at the current intervals?  This is a much bigger story than purely how we detect breast cancer and it is the equivalent of saying you only need to wear your seat belt when you are driving on the highway and not around town.  It is ridiculous and a very slippery slope.  Relaxing the standards of detecting any sort of disease especially cancer just seems counter to the idea of early detection as the best hope for a cure.  It is now up to the insurance companies to have a conscience and not jump to a radical revision in covered services which will ultimately save lives – making this a Better East Texas.