Video: MP Wilson On Mammography Screenings

June 1, 2015

Shadow Minister of Health Kim Wilson recently spoke to Bernews about proposed amendments to health legislation, calling the amendments “draconian” and saying that “we should not be putting a price at substituting a person’s health.”

Ms. Wilson said, “The principle concern that we have is the opposition with respect to the legislation deals specifically with the amendments that now will increase the age in which women who are covered under the standard health insurance benefit can receive a mammogram, and that’s namely between the ages of 50 and 74, every two years.

“This is contrary to the position that has currently been the case which Bermuda following the American College of Radiology guidelines which speaks to the fact that women should be having a mammogram on an annual basis commencing from the age of 40.

“We know that there are huge similarities between the population here in Bermuda in so far as the rate of cancer amongst women, as well as in the United States. In the United States, the American Cancer Society, who does not support the guidelines of this task force, namely increasing the age in which mammogram should be taken and the degree of frequency.

“The American College of Radiology as well as the American Cancer Society has indicated that their statistics show that in the United States, women that are diagnosed with breast cancer, there are 75% of those such women have no pre-existing conditions or any risk factors.

“So for the government to be proposing legislation which supports, in their mind, the fact that if you have a risk, then we’ll allow you to have a mammogram between the age of 40 and 49 is certainly not comforting particularly to those 75% of persons that are generally diagnosed with a cancer that do not have any risk factors.

“We’re calling on the government to reconsider this particular provision, namely Section 5 of the amendment, principally for the sake of women and those that love women. At the end of the day, this is a very, very draconian step to be taken when we have made so much progress and all the scientific evidence supports the benefits of early screening.

“In that regard, I know that there’s a number of women that are expressing concerns and we’re just hoping that the government will reconsider this position, a very important position because it would appear that we’re putting women’s health and their choices in so far as whether they choose to have a mammogram or not, just pushing them out the window and it’s a retrograde act considering how much progress we’ve made here with respect to the international recommendations of how often a mammogram should be taken.”

MP Kim Wilson on Mammography Screenings

“We should not be putting a price at substituting a person’s health, particularly a woman’s health and her choice in so far as how she wishes to be screened and preventative techniques for ensuring early detection of cancers in her breasts,” added Ms Wilson.

“I think that really, really critical point at this discussion which bears repeating is the fact that Bermuda has a population – we have women that have a number of other issue, i.e., obesity, alcoholism, hypertension, chronic heart ailments, etc.

“These are all risk factors with respect to increased instances of breast cancer. The legislation as it stands is indicating that unless a woman has a risk factor and/or is referred by their physician if they’re under the age of 50 or from 50 to 74, as I indicated, it’s every two years.

“Therefore, women can very well just go to their physicians and say, “I’m demanding that you make a referral for a mammogram.” If the legislation is going to provide for that, then what’s the point of this legislation?

“If I, as a woman between 40 and 49, find a lump in my breast and I go to my doctor, and my doctor says, “Well, I don’t feel anything, I am not going to make the referral,” I’m going to go to another doctor. One way or another, I am going to get the referral and I am going to get a mammogram.

“It seems that this particular part of the provision for a number of reasons is not even necessary. It’s superfluous because women, I’m hoping, will stand up and be accounted for and just take this back, and say, “Well, I’ll just find a doctor that will make the referral.”

“Again, there has been a study – because it’s interesting that the Minister’s statement said that there were no studies that were done concerning the instances of breast cancer in the African-American population versus the European population in Bermuda – and I’m paraphrasing, but there has been studies that have been done in Bermuda with respect to the instances of cancer.

“That particular study did show that we were very much akin to America with respect to cancers and so forth.

“The fact that there has not been an official study done, even the Tumor Registry has indicated that for the last four years, on average, it’s been 23% of cancers that have been found in Bermuda all occur within women from the ages of 40 to 49.

“That statistic is probably much lower because there is no mandatory requirement for reporting cancers by doctors and this is the Tumor Registry’s own documented evidence.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. watching says:

    Well Said Ms Wilson! STAND UP FOR WOMEN!

  2. aceboy says:

    Everyone seems to be happy with this legislation except the PLP.

    • Shell says:

      This is not about OBA versus PLP at least not where I am coming from. Everyone is not happy with this Amendment. Look at the 1300 people who signed the petition, look at the people who walked with Kim Wilson’s Relay for Life team – I was one of them, look at all the comments for all of the stories online relating to this topic. Everyone is not happy.

      • aceboy says:

        I should have clarified….by “everyone” I meant all of the various Health Organizations who say they agree with the recommendations in the legislation. Such as United States Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF] Guidelines, Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, the Bermuda Medical Council, the Bermuda Hospitals Board, Bermuda Health Council.etc etc.

        If you want to have a mammorgram in between the 2 year period….go right ahead. You simply have to pay for it.

        I get my teeth cleaned by my dentist every 3 months. My insurance only pays for every six months. Two cleanings a year I pay for.

  3. Concerned says:

    how many Bermudian women actually have had a mamogram before 70 – 80. I know a lady who had her first one at 75yrs of age Instead of squabbling educate the Women of this Island One plp persn was pushing for pple to have more children what about cervical cancer, cancer of the uterus, colon cancer and the early signs. how many women have possible symptoms of either and are walking around because they can’t afford a GP or any other P Drs have encouraged cancer patients to have their children screened for cancer push that teach our girls in middle school, high school and teach the boys about prostate cancer and how to look out for themselves in ways to detect problems with their bodies STOP speaking death over our Island and start teaching life the word cancer scares the hell out of people because it has always been seen as a death sentence teach the people

    • Shell says:

      You would be surprised at the number of women who have mammograms from the age of 40. I agree with you that education is important but we still have to address issues such as this when they come up. We can’t ignore this.

    • Raymond Ray says:

      Thanks for such a positive presentation surrounding the many forms of cancer and the fact that it is not necessarily, “a death sentence”, as the Shadow Minister of Health Kim Wilson is attempting to instill in the publics minds.

  4. Marge says:

    What is the fuss all about ? women do your home work every time you get a mammogram think about the dose of radiation passes through your body… listen to the health minister she has done her homework…talk to your doctor if you a family history of breast cancer and your doctor will advice you how often you need to have a mammogram ….

  5. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    While I’m not a medical professional, I don’t see a problem with mammograms every two years prior to age 50, and even then could likely be put off further. Unless the person is known to be in a high risk category.

    But that belief is with the presumption that women are actually doing self checks and have discussed their family history with their GP to know their risk level.

    That said, I can also see the argument for yearly.

    But I do have a problem with one of Ms Wilson’s statements.
    “We should not be putting a price at substituting a person’s health, particularly a woman’s health …”

    Healthcare costs. It’s a simple day to day fact. And our healthcare costs are pretty darned high so looking for a way to cut expenses is necessary. (Though this may not be a good one.) So saying that we should not be putting a price is patently ridiculous.

    Second part, why ‘particularly a woman’s health’? It’s no more nor less important than a man’s health

    • PBanks says:

      I suspect the emphasis on ‘women’s health’ is because this particular issue affects women to a much greater extent than men. Nothing suspicious here.

  6. Terry says:

    One day it’s DeSilva.
    One day it’s Burt.
    One day it’s Walton.
    Most days it LaVerne.
    One day it’s Furbert.

    One day it’s ‘pick a name’.

    One day they will shut up and get on with the politics of helping whom they represent. Not just who voted for them but for the Island of Bermuda and it’s future.


  7. Positivity says:

    Thank you Ms. Wilson for standing up for our rights. The legislation is pathetic and yes, I would go to whatever doctor I can get a referral from. My health is not up for debate. Ms. Wilson, what is the next step? I for one will not sit back and complain. I’m with you.

  8. Reader says:

    All this talk about screening every 2 years No talk or concern for the women who have no health care, and can’t afford a scan. Who stands up for these women ? What chance do they have of early detection. Start standing up for fundamental health care for all Bermudians not just the ones that have insurance.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Protecting Little People is not an OBA agenda :-(

      • serengeti says:

        …and yet on another thread you’re arguing against a measure to help protect employees from unscrupulous employers who fail to pay for health insurance.

        You must wonder which face you’re looking at in the mirror.

  9. overboardhope says:

    As a surviver, I would have been in big trouble, if I would have had to wait for 2 years. I had no symptoms. The routine mammogram picked up the problem.

  10. Alvin Williams says:

    Is there anything that OBA political supporters prepared to drop their lock-step support of their party? No wonder MP Leah Scott is crying; there is no hope that this government will ever develop a social conscience which means even a river of tears will not deflect this government from it’s chosen path.