Monday, November 23, 2009

When Success Is Failure 

The medical establishment spent decades beseeching women to get mammograms in order to detect incipient cancer. Their education program was a success. Now, after in-depth study, a scientific panel says there is no need for a mammogram until the age of 50. Women have rebelled and demand that they be allowed to have the test beginning at age 40 as they have all along. This is a case of a PR campaign that succeeded too well and failed. No one left room for a possible change in message, and now women do not want to hear the new evidence. It is a cautionary tale for practitioners who send simple messages. Sometimes that is not the best approach. As for mammograms, for the time being women will continue to get exams as they always have, whether or not the procedure helps them.


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