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« "Save A Mother" | Main | Snowy Sunday Linkery (Sujatha) »

December 17, 2009


I guess these are two kinds of rationality at play here - the radical variety in the Tamoxifen vs surgery case (get rid of something that is of no real use to you) and the gentler practical kind in the ski helmet advisory (believe if you want to, but it's of no use to you anyway) :-)

On a more serious note, Birkhold is 52. She may no longer be of child bearing age but can expect to live another 20 - 30 years if she has no serious illness. Tamoxifen protects against breast cancer but I don't know if it has any preventive action on ovarian cancer. It is on the other hand, implicated in raising the risk of endometrial cancer. The drug has many other side effects. Perhaps Birkhold is being overly cautious. But if she doesn't like the odds of her developing breast and ovarian cancers, yet she doesn't want to live with the side effects of Tamoxifen, I don't see her decision for radical surgery as totally irrational. The action is perhaps an overkill because she doesn't yet have cancer and may never develop it. But if she is going to take "preventive" measures of some sort, she may have chosen what seems to her like the less debilitating option of the two. She probably no longer has any use for her ovaries and a pair of breasts to an older woman is not the same thing as it is to a younger woman ... or to a man.

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