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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate