breast cancer

A few facts and figures about the mammogram industry's bottom line.

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If the researchers are right, screening all women starting at 40 yields a lot of false diagnoses—without any clear benefit.

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A while ago, I criticized a new paper on the supremacy of the U.S. healthcare system that was being touted by Gary Becker and Greg Mankiw. The paper, by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that mortality trends for prostate and breast cancer were much better in the U.S. than in other advanced countries. My main beef was that Preston and Ho's research design was too blunt to really pick up on why this was the case. But I see that an updated NBER version of the paper has more details on what could be behind the better U.S.

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is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. A colleague received the following fundraising letter from an organization I had not previously encountered: the Independent Women’s Forum. The letter says: Dear —-/ More American women are going to die of breast cancer if you and I surrender to President Obama's nationalized healthcare onslaught. It's as simple as that... Why? Because nationalized healthcare does not let doctors and their patients decide what's best.

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Last week, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States government can afford a civilian. Among the 16 awardees are truly great figures: breast cancer philanthropist Nancy Goodman Brinker, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

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Appearing Monday on the Ellen DeGeneres show, Hillary Clinton made another bold campaign promise: to cure breast cancer within a decade. If elected, she pledged a $300 million annual commitment to research into the disease, which killed some 40,000 women last year and is said to afflict 240,000 individuals annually. Breast cancer research is certainly a worthy cause--not least because the hundreds of thousands of women who are stricken with it represent hundreds of thousands of families for whom the female center is vital.

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GOP presidential candidate Tommy Thompson vows to "end breast cancer" within eight years. I don't know much about breast cancer research but this sounds pretty pie-in-the-sky to me. And it's not as though breast cancer, of all diseases, persists from a lack of publicity and political focus. My guess is we're already doing about as much as can be done. But please correct me if I'm wrong. --Michael Crowley

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