Early Detection of Breast Cancer is Key

Cancer Vixen Health Guide
  • In case you were asleep and not keeping up with the news, or just keeping tabs on the tabloids, The United States Preventive Services Task Force said Monday that women should start regular breast cancer screening at age 50, not 40, and that doctors should stop teaching women to examine their breasts on a regular basis.


    Women of America, we must fight!


    As a breast cancer survivor, and a cartoonista/activista (yes I am) who wrote a graphic memoir about surviving breast cancer, and someone who's travelled all over the world talking to women who've had breast cancer and survived it because they caught it earlier before it was too late, I couldn't disagree more. There has been a consistent reduction in the rates of death from breast cancer in every country-including the United States-that has instituted a regular screening program.

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    We must fight.


    Mammograms, while not perfect, do detect breast cancer.

    If you catch breast cancer early, you have a 98% survival rate.

    If you don't test yourself until you're 50 - then you risk receiving a later diagnosis, which could lead to death. To be blunt: it could kill you. A higher death rate from breast cancer is unacceptable in the United States of America.


    We must fight.


    More alarming, 80% of Women find breast cancer themselves, yet the USPSTF urges doctors to stop teaching women how to give themselves a self-exam. Another stark example of how incredibly irresponsible the USPSTF is, and how they are endangering the lives of every woman in America.


    We must fight.


    Dr Larry Norton, Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scientific Director; Chairman, BCRF Executive Board of Scientific Advisors, had an 11 year-old patient with breast cancer. We're hearing about women and unfortunately, now girls diagnosed at a younger age, and now they're raising the age for women to get screened. How could this possibly make sense?


    We must fight.


    I caution what the next step is: the government will not pay for your mammogram unless you're 50 and over. This is common in Europe,

    where medicine is socialized so the government doesn't have to pay for it. If this is the case, It's only a matter of time before not just the uninsured will have to pay for a mammogram, but each and every woman in this country who does have insurance and is under 50. We're in a recession. Paying for a mammogram is a deterrent for something that no one wants to do in the first place. It's just one more reason not to do the very thing that can save your life.


    We must fight.


    I started the CANCER VIXEN FUND here in New York City for women who are uninsured so they can get free mammograms. (When I was diagnosed, I was uninsured.) I believe that each and every woman has the right to live. The Cancer Vixen Mission: No Breast Left Behind. We've done over 600 mammograms and have saved two lives at least.

    I can say with absolute certainty that mammograms  do work.


    We must not let the USPSTF change the guidelines for mammograms.

  • We must fight for ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our cousins, our aunts, our friends, our frenemies (good karma points there) and

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    every single woman in this country.


    We must fight for our lives.

Published On: November 23, 2009