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Question of Month

Understanding mammograms in seniors and all women

Mammography’s Limits, Seldom Understood By PAULA SPAN  While this nyt blog article raises questions about how useful a mammogram is for seniors I wanted to point out some issues many women and doctors might consider.  First, a mammogram does not find cancer!  Yep I bet you did not know that.  Only a biopsy finds cancer.  A mammogram only tells you where to biopsy.  That sounds like a minor distinction but in fact if you don’t biopsy a lot you lose much of the screening benefit of a mammogram.  That is essential to tell women and doctors both of whom might be happy waiting and not doing those biopsies.  Women might say well I would rather not have a biopsy why don’t I wait and the doctor would also agree sure why don’t you wait.  In fact, if you want the benefits of the mammogram you need to get the biopsy now! Second, many people mistakenly say I felt a lump now I need a mammogram.  That is not true and by allowing that to be the first answer misleads people to the correct answer which is you have a mass / lump anything you feel you need a biopsy.  You don’t need a mammogram to tell you where to biopsy you can feel where.  I am always aware of cover up stories like the doctor who would correctly say, yea I knew that the mammogram was to look for more spots to biopsy and to look for places to biopsy in the other breast.  If that is true great but if you were not thinking of a biopsy and did not really understand how a mammogram works as a prescreen in a much bigger breast cancer screening program you might get mislead.  I hope this helps all to better understand how to benefit from breast cancer screening. Like if you felt this was new and help full.   Dr Shawn McGivney

Will doctor’s dissatisfaction with their carriers affect you?

I wonder how this article might impact care and the relationship everyone has with their doctor or the new doctor they were just assigned when they entered the hospital?   Cbs news shared this view that many doctors might have made the 1 million dollar mistake of becoming a doctor.  One has to wonder if a disappointed or unhappy doctor is really the best doctor? If you think doctors are rich, and have it made, this article might be surprising to many.  I think it is a must read since we all will need to rely on doctors and the health care system for the care of those we love, our parents and ourselves one day. $1 Million mistake – becoming a doctor!   Questions to ask yourself. An interesting line of questions might be what can patients and insurance companies do to make medicine more enjoyable for the doctors who study 10 -15 years to become doctors? Recall most people spend 4 yrs in college a few years as apprentices or less to become professionals. Is it fair for doctors to get paid what they do?  Is it fair that many professional organizations have great unions and fantastic retirement benefits guaranteed by large institutions but doctors often have no safety net?  How might that affect the next generation of people who choose to become doctors? While it is exciting in some ways that the brain drain and getting foreign nationals to migrate to fill doctors spots largely for citizenship is a good way to coerce foreign nationals to be doctors are there any possible language and cultural issues that might arise that can affect patient care as that trend continues?   We would love comments and feed back to what you think.  Share here.   THANKS FOR LIKING AND SHARING  Dr Shawn McGivney  

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