Panel Blasts Mammogram Guidelines
Radiologists: Breast Screenings Should Continue to Begin at Age 40
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Advice for Women
The breast screening panel supports American Cancer Society (ACS)
guidelines, which continue to recommend annual routine mammography screening
for all healthy women age 40 and older.
"The ACS guidelines have been shown to save lives. The USPSTF admits its
guidelines will cause women to die," Kopans says.
No Breast Screening Experts on Task Force
Kopans says he believes the government panel had "good intentions. They just
didn't know a lot about breast cancer screening," he says.
He notes that there were no radiologists -- the very doctors that perform
mammograms -- on the USPSTF task force.
A big worry, the panel says, is that the USPSTF's recommendations will be
used by any possible health plan being considered in Congress. That, in turn,
would lead insurance companies to stop covering the annual breast cancer
screenings beginning at age 40, it says.
USPSTF Says Its Message Could Have Been Better Communicated
Meanwhile at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
hearing in Washington today, Diana Petitti, MD, MPH, vice chair of the USPSTF,
acknowledged that "the expertise of this panel has been called into
But, she adds, radiologists were "consulted and reviewed the recommendations
and provided input."
Petitti and another member of the Task Force told the hearing that their
message could have been better communicated and that and it wasn't saying women
under 50 shouldn't have mammograms.
The Task Force wanted to convey that women should still talk with their
doctors and let young women know that for them, the risks of mammography may
outweigh the benefits, Petitti said.