Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | January 5, 2015

Mammograms for 40-Somethings

My New Years *Resolutions* are going well…five days in. The cat box is immaculate, I’m more than halfway through The Lost Gate, I’m on track to post here every single day for at least a week, and I just finished the paper today.

Speaking of today’s paper: What should I espy in the Health section of my Philadelphia Inquirer but a familiar name! My good friend Margaret Polaneczky (I get to call her Peggy), my old blog-buddy from those heady early days of medblogging quoted in an article about helping women in their 40s make informed decisions about mammograms. And here it is: Breast Screening Decisions, Peggy’s interactive online tool that *rocks*. Check it out.

For the record (and just to prove I knew her when), here’s my reaction to the brouhaha instigated by the original USPTF mammogram recommendations: Mammograms for the Masses…complete with a comment from Peggy herself. Even then she was working on the recently launched tool.

Well done, Peggy, and thank you. My 40-something ladies will love it.




  1. Thanks, Lucy! We are so proud of and I was really pleased to see how it was covered in the Inquirer.

    BTW – I see you are holding to your resolution to post every day. Impressive to date! You are inspiring me to get back to the old blogging thing.

  2. If I had used this tool in my 40’s I would be dead now.

  3. Lisa: I am truly sorry that you were diagnosed with breast cancer at 41. However that doesn’t change the usefulness of Peggy’s tool. You never see all the women harmed by biopsies and other procedures from excessive mammograms, some of whom probably ARE dead — and wouldn’t be — if this had been available for them.

  4. Lisa: with all due respect, just because in your case the cancer was diagnosed on a mammogram doesn’t mean it made any difference. a) it could’ve been overdiagnosis and you could’ve lived your whole life without even knowing you had it b) it could’ve still be treatable if detected later e.g. when you felt the lump. c) it can still come back and the end result could’ve still be the same. Everyone assumes that if something is detected early it always the same as life saved, but even if you look at the most optimistic of mammograms studies, you’d see about 30% in relative risk reductions meaning that out of 10 people who get diagnosed with breast cancer early, for 7 it doesn’t make any difference. And this doesn’t even count those who didn’t die of breast cancer…

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