Taylor Swift announced on her Tumblr blog that her mom, Andrea, has been diagnosed with cancer. Although she’s keeping the details of her mom’s cancer and treatment private, she wanted to teach her fans an important lesson about cancer screenings, as previously reported on the Inquisitr.
Swift took to the blogging site to write the following.
“The results came in, and I’m saddened to tell you that my mom has been diagnosed with cancer. I’d like to keep the details of her condition and treatment plans private, but she wanted you to know.
“She wanted you to know because your parents may be too busy juggling everything they’ve got going on to go to the doctor, and maybe you reminding them to go get checked for cancer could possibly lead to an early diagnosis and an easier battle… Or peace of mind in knowing that they’re healthy and there’s nothing to worry about. She wanted you to know why she may not be at as many shows this tour. She’s got an important battle to fight.”
Not all cancer screenings can help detect the early signs of cancer. Pop Sugar noted that since Swift didn’t specify what type of cancer her mom has, no one knows what kind of tests she had to take to receive the diagnosis. Unfortunately, there’s not one test that will check for every type of cancer. The news site went on to say that Swift’s mom could’ve had early signs that alerted her doctor or had an abnormal levels of blood cells. It’s hard to tell from Swift’s message.
A recent Vox report is also noted that although Taylor’s cancer advice is thoughtful, it’s extremely problematic. It’s obvious that the singer had good intentions for her fans, but she failed to not provide enough information about her mom’s cancer. Knowing what kind of cancer Taylor’s mom has will help others become aware about it, and get the right tests for that specific cancer.
According to the report, mass screening programs have grown in popularity, but hasn’t helped patients when it comes to detecting different types of cancers. Mass screening are also different from other tests used to diagnose cancer like ultrasounds that diagnose people who are at risk or show early signs and symptoms.
Swift isn’t the first celebrity who’s asked fans to get cancer screenings. Angelina Jolie, Katie Couric, and Kylie Minogue have also prompted their fans to get tested for cancer. Some studies have showed that when a celebrity asks people to get screenings for a specific type of cancer, people talk to their doctors, and the screening rates rise. But telling fans vaguely to receive regular cancer screenings can lead to overdiagnosis, which means receiving the diagnosis of a cancer that’s not harmful or fatal.
Taylor Swift’s advice is risky as she asking her fans to have their parents get screened more often for all types of cancer. People can avoid overdiagnosis by talking to their doctors about the tests’ risks and any symptoms they may have. Not all cancer is deadly, and getting an early detection can actually be harmful, says researcher and physician, Dr. Gilbert Welch.
“All the forces line up to support early cancer detection. On first inspection it makes total sense, it’s so intuitively appealing. And then the more people who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, who have their thyroids taken out, and who are doing well — other than the fact that they’re on medications or may have vocal cord paralysis — the more they are seen as survivors.”
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