A Lot of Unnecessary Breast Procedures Still Going On – Let’s Do Something About it!
A Lot of Unnecessary Breast Operations Still Going On – Let’s Do Something About it!
This afternoon, I had a freewheeling discussion with two other surgical oncologists in the Philippine General Hospital after our Wednesday conference.
One concern we shared and agreed is that there is still (and most probably, even more than before) a lot of unnecessary breast operations, particularly, open biopsies and mammotome procedures, going on in the metropolis and in the country (and even abroad).
We resolve to find ways on how to control and reduce the magnitude of this problem at least in the country.
Off-hand, we agreed, based on our individual observations and experiences, that the root causes for this problem are the disproportionate fear or phobia of the public on breast cancer and the presence of unscrupulous physicians riding on the patients’ phobia to have open biopsies and mammotome procedures done left and right. The next thing that we will do is to formulate strategies and action plans.
Our discussion on the rampancy of the unnecessary breast operations calls to mind “The Advocacy against Unnecessary Operations, Procedures, and Health Practices (AUOPHP)” movement that I established in 2001 when I was the Chairperson of the Department of Surgery of Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC Surgery).
The goals of the advocacy were to prevent unnecessary pain, complications and expenses from unnecessary operations and procedures and to help the Filipino citizenry avoid common and dangerous surgical disorders.
The AUOPHP was launched in August, 2001 starting with the advocacy to inform the public NOT to swallow santol seeds anymore as such health practice has been discovered by OMMC Surgery to be dangerous. Subsequent advocacies included those against unnecessary routine laboratory examinations prior to operations; irrational use of antibiotics during operations; routine circumcision; unnecessary routine mammography; unnecessary fibrocystic breast changes operations; unnecessary appendectomy; and unnecessary prescription of expensive analgesics after the operations; and suicidal ingestion of muriatic acid.
For details on the advocacy, one can visit: http://x-unnec-med-practice.tripod.com.
Above, I said this problem of unnecessary operations and procedures is also present abroad.
Here is a quote from Dr. Christine Horner, from USA, a board-certified general and plastic surgeon:
“Looking at the diagnostic tests that are currently available, none of them are perfect,” Dr. Horner says. “Everything has its pros and cons… [M]ammography produces radiation, which has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. It’s like, “Why are you doing the test to look at a disease when it’s actually causing the disease, too?” … It does pick things up at earlier stages, but the problem is that it’s not very specific. So when it looks and it sees something… that looks suspicious, it is wrong 80 percent of the time. In the United States, there’s roughly a million breast biopsies done per year, and 800,000 of them are unnecessary.”
Let’s do something to control the frequency of unnecessary procedures, at least in the Philippines!
Welcome suggestions on this advocacy!