Government sets new guideline for mammogram recommendation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/16/09

Government sets new guideline for mammogram recommendation

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By Kristin Beerman | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – For years, the recommendation for women has been to get a yearly mammogram by age 40, but Monday a new guideline from the government is getting blasted by major medical groups. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says now that women who are not high risk for breast cancer, do not need a mammogram until age 50 and after that, it should be repeated every 2 years.  Computer models convinced the task force that in younger women, those early mammograms may do more harm than good.

"That is, the likelihood of having a false positive test with all the attendant anxiety, the additional imaging tests, perhaps even leading to biopsy that may have been unnecessary," said Dr. Diana Petitti, with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The American Cancer Society says it is worried this new advice will just confuse patients.  The ACS says that since breast cancer is still the second leading cause of death in this country, it will continue to recommend yearly mammograms by age 40, arguing that the government is putting more emphasis on computer models than real patients.

"We're not satisfied at this point that the approach that they used is sufficient and adequate to discard a proven way of saving lives from breast cancer," said Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., with the American Cancer Society.

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