I thought I was going to hit a Jersey wall last week while I was driving into work. Yes, I drive like a Mario Andretti on the Beltway, but that had nothing to do with it. It was all NPR’s fault. I was listening to the radio at 4 AM when NPR announced the results of a new research study involving mammograms. The study said that women didn’t have to do self breast exams anymore, and that mammograms are worthless before age 50. I thought I was dreaming behind the wheel of my car, so rolled down the windows. The frosty morning air rushed in and revived my senses, but the announcer kept talking about how this new study will make life so much easier on women.
I know that science is always making new discoveries. After all, we use to think that the world was flat, but really, what’s going on here? Who is doing this research, and more importantly, who is paying for these studies? Research isn’t cheap you know, and all of these new discoveries fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Early detection of cancer leads to a cure. And please spare me the lame explanation about why the guidelines were changed. Stop patronizing us. I was really insulted when I heard that the guidelines were changed so women wouldn’t needlessly worry about test results. It makes me wonder if insurance companies are pimping research projects as a way of saving some extra money. To tell you the truth, I started getting suspicious when another research group announced last week that American women are getting too many pap smears. Maybe I’ll start believing all this stuff when a group advocates that men need fewer prostate exams.
Like Mark Twain said, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”