Hollywood celebrities who have survived breast cancer lashed out at new government guidelines that raise the age of an American woman’s first mammogram from 40 to 50.
Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed 17 years ago at the age of 43. She said: “We are not data, we are human beings. You can’t judge it by data. I was in that 40-50 range.”
Newton-John is an active breast cancer advocate, launching her own medical centre in her homeland of Australia. She will perform on FOX’s TV skating and musical special Kaleidoscope on November 26 to raise awareness for women’s cancer.
Breast self-examination [BSE] was also questioned in the guidelines for its validity. Newton-John said she believes strongly in the practice. “At least for me, breast self-examination is the key. That’s how I found my lump and then I went to the doctor and he sent me for my mammogram.”
Breast cancer survivor Jaclyn Smith of Charlie’s Angels fame said: “I’m shocked that they want to abandon proven therapies based on cost analysis. This is wrong. We’re going to be put back in the dark ages again. Women are just starting to not be afraid to self-examine and have regular check-ups and now they’re saying to push it another 10 years.”
Smith, who was diagnosed in 2003 at the age of 56, said: “The year before I was diagnosed, my mammogram was fine. If I hadn’t done that next year’s mammogram, I would’ve had a different outcome.”