See What I Mean

Further to my posts about the new NHS breast screening invitation leaflet (“Good news for women” and “Consider 1000 women”), I attach the new leaflet which is now available on the screening programme website; and the old leaflet – the one I was sent in May – by way of comparison.

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-952″>pre-2013 screening leaflet</a>

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-951″>2013 screening leaflet</a>

What a contrast. I applaud the NHS for the new leaflet, which I think leaves women in no doubt that they must weigh up the pros and cons of going for screening. Some very misleading information has been revised: for example, compare this from the old: “If a breast cancer is found early, you are less likely to have a mastectomy (your breast removed)” – with this from the new: “Whether your cancer is invasive or non-invasive, you will be offered treatment and care from a team of breast cancer specialists. The treatment is likely to include surgery (which may mean a mastectomy), hormone therapy, radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy as well. These treatments can cause serious, long-term side effects.” Note that the new leaflet acknowledges that the standard treatment even for non-invasive cancers may be very radical.

It will be fascinating to see what happens to the uptake of screening now. It will also be interesting how much pressure is still put on women to attend  A refusenik  (better informed than I was) tells me that, earlier this year,  when she didn’t attend, her GP invited her in for a discussion, which she declined as she doubted her ability to withstand the face-to-face pressure.

I know I am repeating myself. If you are bored, you can click the “close” button. But this blog is for me, and if I need to repeat myself, I will. If I am still banging on about this same issue in a year’s time, then do give me a nudge, as it will perhaps suggest that I am psychologically stuck. Particularly as I clearly don’t have to campaign on this one any more. However, for now, still under two months on from the the first time the word “mastectomy” was used in relation to my own case, I am just so sad that I was sent an old leaflet while the new one was actually in production. The screening programme sent me information they knew was biased and misleading, without a caveat in the covering letter. They sent it to thousands of other women too, in the period since the Independent Review reported last Autumn. I think that is seriously unethical. It landed me with an impossible dilemma – one which still haunts me.


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