Wednesday, November 18, 2009

speaking out on women's health

as are many women this week, i, too, am both disturbed and concerned about the announcement and recommendations that have recently been made public regarding women's health, specifically breast health. i am not in the medical field and am not an expert, but i am a woman, and i do have a voice. today i choose to put it use.

i think a lot of us fear that these guidelines diminish the importance of women and our health. we've worked very hard in the history of our country to be taken seriously, to be treated with respect, and to be considered equal. i fear that these recommendations have set us back a hundred years or more. i've read a number of articles in which the new recommendations are considered patronizing, that women shouldn't worry so much, that we get hysterical about such things. forgive my sarcasm when i say that it's only our breasts. the breasts that bring nourishment to our infants and, yes, pleasure to our lovers. it's only one of the signs of our becoming women. it's only our lives and our well-being. why should we be concerned?

without early detection, a few women in my life wouldn't be here. all are under 50. all were diagnosed with breast cancer. i am approaching 40 as are many of my friends. this affects me. it affects my friends and family. i'd rather my sisters be safe than sorry. i realize there is still so much to learn about breast cancer, but to tell us to just not worry about it and forget about the precautions that we've been taught without offering us a real and valid alternative based on new technology is irresponsible. we are told to continue taking these precautions if we happen to be at high risk, but who determines who is high risk and who is not? not everyone who is diagnosed has a family history of cancer.

should we sacrifice our health to save a few bucks? i say we should find some other solution. and i do not believe the government should be taking on this endeavor. my husband used to do work for the government in the engineering field. the red tape and incompetence of the government can be astounding. government-run healthcare is not the solution. my kids are on well care, which is government-maintained. it's a mess. yes, my children have health coverage, but when there are few or even no doctors willing to take it in your area, it's as if they have no health care.

we need to encourage women to speak out. we need to encourage our government representatives to get educated about who they represent. we need to send the message that we vote and that we have voice. women are powerful. we matter and so does our health.

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