Huge Government Changes in Breast Cancer Screening

A woman and her familyHuge changes in breast cancer screening have recently been announced by a government appointed task force, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). But the American Cancer society is highly critical of the new guidelines.

The USPSTF now says average-risk women between the ages of 40 and 50 don’t need a mammogram, and those between the ages of 50 and 74 should only have a mammogram every two years instead of every year. Routine screening is not recommended for women older than 74, whereas previously it was recommended every one to two years.

According the to USPSTF, the changes have been made because the benefits of earlier testing are minimal compared to the risk of false alarms and unneeded biopsies.

But this appears to be nothing more than a cost-cutting measure by the federal government. According to the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, this recommendation is based on the conclusion  “that screening 1,300 women in their 50s to save one life is worth it, but that screening 1,900 women in their 40s to save a life is not”.  This ”is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives, just not enough of them.”  

Source: AP, November 2009

 

 

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