“The 1998 Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act allows women to choose double mastectomies without personal financial loss.”
This is correct to some extent. but the author goes on to explain the real deal. As Austrian economists know, there is always a cost. And that cost makes something, somewhere, more expensive. So… personal cost, yes. It can be tiny and barely felt. Or it can be in another medical procedure that doesn’t get done because all those “rights” were granted, and depleted resources just enough.
The letter writer goes on to explain this well. But in an economic science way I bet the washed brains of the boobwahzie totally missed it.
I commend Dr. Nathanson for trying to point out the economic impact of these fool-hardy laws.
July 17, 2015 6:31 p.m. ET
“The Double Mastectomy Rebellion” (page one, July 11) highlights a troubling national trend for patients who, by selecting their most comforting routes to happiness, increasingly believe that they can identify for themselves the best options for breast-cancer management. Patients ignore the pleas, warnings and hard data that experienced breast-cancer experts provide. Double mastectomy (and, sometimes, even unilateral mastectomy) for treatment or prevention of recurrent or new breast cancer most often doesn’t make scientific or economic sense.
Seeking the right physician, perhaps even getting a second opinion, is important for patients who have a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, but only to the extent that face-to-face clinical knowledge and experience should be carefully evaluated together with the vast knowledge base of the Internet. Can laymen, with only a passing scientific understanding, come up with the “right choice” of surgical treatment? Is it appropriate to base the choices on powerful emotions and feelings, reinforced by friends, family, anecdotal stories and mastectomy support groups?
The 1998 Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act allows women to choose double mastectomies without personal financial loss. However, the effects on people with other diseases are more than economic. Money spent on statistically unjustifiable treatments may result in limited availability of resources, sometimes preventing patients with potentially life-threatening illnesses from receiving promising new drugs that could save their lives. Perhaps it is time to ask patients who seek prophylactic mastectomies against the advice of their doctor and when their risk of future breast cancer is low to pay for that privilege themselves.
S. David Nathanson, M.D.