For years, scientists have known that mammograms are largely ineffective. Why can’t we get that message across?
Don’t look down. Therese Taylor repeats this mantra when she’s rising out of bed in the morning. Don’t look down. She says it when she’s standing in the shower. She says it when she’s brushing her long brown hair so that it hangs over the vacant space once occupied by her left breast. Don’t think about what you’ve lost. She’s lost so much. Her breast. Her identity as a healthy person. Her uncomplicated sex life. Her faith in the medical profession.
Taylor has gained something too—a fury that’s uncomfortable to express when other women are dying from breast cancer and her doctors tell her she’s lucky. But when she thinks of the fear her three children endured and the months of post-surgical shoulder pain so sharp that she worried a tumor had invaded her bones, the 55-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, resident doesn’t feel lucky at all. She feels rage. Her doctors implied she had cancer and said that if she cut off her breast, she would live. Now she knows it was never that simple. Continue reading