Quote of the Day: Mammograms Shouldn’t Be Pawns in a Religious War

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From Aaron Carroll, responding to the deluge of lame criticisms aimed at a recent study showing that mammograms don’t do much to reduce mortality from breast cancer:

I leave you with one final thought. If you’re not going to be swayed at all by a randomized controlled trial of 90,000 women with 25 year follow up, excellent compliance, and damn good methods, it might be time to consider that there’s really no study at all that will make you change your mind.

This really has taken on the nature of a religious war. But eventually we have to face facts. If you have a family history of breast cancer, or some specific markers of vulnerability, or if your doctor thinks you need one, then of course you should get a mammogram. But despite what we’ve all been taught for the past several decades, the evidence is becoming overwhelming that a blanket recommendation of routine annual mammograms for everyone over the age of 40 just isn’t good medicine. This isn’t coming from people who are anti-woman or who are just trying to slash budgets. Nor is anyone saying that mammograms are useless. That just isn’t what’s happening.

What’s happening is routine science. And unlike religion, the answers change now and then when you do routine science. That’s sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes scary. But that’s the story here. Right now, the answers are changing, and we need to change along with them.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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