Bad cancer advice

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I take issue with the assertion of H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice at Dartmouth University, that the benefit of breast cancer screening "is much smaller than people have been led to believe," ("Overdiagnosis?" Dec. 10). Say I find a lump in my breast without experiencing any symptoms or, better yet, let's say Dr. Welch is asymptomatic and discovers a lump in his prostate. Is he just going to leave it there?

To suggest that I continue through life like a ticking time bomb and not undergo treatment if I detect a lump in my breast is ludicrous and insulting. If that lump has already grown to the size where I can feel it, you can bet I am going to have something done about it. Who is he to decide whether my lump "never would have become breast cancer" and thereby suggest that the harms of screening outweigh the benefits?

I hope to be around for a long time and will take every preventive measure to do so. I will continue to self-exam, and please sign me up for my mammogram.

JENNIFER POLLER
Squirrel Hill


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