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American Cancer Society Stands By Cancer Screening Guidelines
Date:10/21/2009

Group has no plans to rethink testing for breast, prostate tumors, contrary to published report

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The American Cancer Society says it is not currently rethinking its stance on cancer screening, as was widely reported Wednesday.

"We are not redoing or rethinking our guidelines at this time, nor are we going to restate our guidelines to emphasize the inadequacies of screening," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

The society continually revises its screening recommendations and issues new guidelines every year, usually in January. Moreover, current guidelines do not minimize any problems with screening, Lichtenfeld stated.

"We have always been talking about the limitations of screening," he said. "That's not really news."

For instance, the cancer society revised its prostate cancer screening guidelines several months ago to emphasize the fact that it does not recommend PSA screening for everyone but does recommend that men have "informed discussions with health-care professionals before embarking on a screening program," Lichtenfeld said.

Also, the cancer society has never maintained that mammography screening for breast cancer is perfect. "Mammography misses lesions. We know that we do find more lesions than might otherwise cause a woman harm, but that's something we've known and talked about for a long time," he said.

A report published Wednesday in The New York Times said that the American Cancer Society was planning to post a message on its Web site early next year delineating the risks of overtreatment resulting from excess screening. Responding to the article, Lichtenfeld said that "I'm not aware of that and if it was, in fact, happening, I would have knowledge of it."

In an official statement released Wednesday, the cancer society acknowledged that the "advantages of screeni
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