Navigation Links
Lives Will Be Lost With Proposed Changes to Mammography Guidelines
Date:11/17/2009

Leading breast oncologists warn of dangers of Task Force recommendations

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The recommendation to change breast screening is a huge step backwards," says Dr. Marisa Weiss, a leading breast oncologist and founder and president of Breastcancer.org.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091116/DC12277LOGO )

The proposed new guidelines call for mammograms to start at age 50 and to be done every other year instead of every year starting at age 40, as recommended by current guidelines.

"The data simply does not account for the human perspective. It would be an enormous mistake to allow outdated data using older technology provided by computer-generated analysis to dictate how health care professionals screen women for early detection of breast cancer. These are real people with their lives at stake ... for whom mammography has a proven survival benefit."

The letter to the Breastcancer.org community follows:

Dear Breastcancer.org Member:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended dramatic changes to current breast cancer screening guidelines. Breastcancer.org is strongly opposed to these recommendations.

The proposed new guidelines recommend starting regular screening mammograms at age 50, rather than at age 40 as current guidelines recommend. They recommend screening before age 50 only for women with a much-higher-than-average risk of breast cancer. The proposed new guidelines also call for mammograms to be done every other year instead of every year, as recommended by current guidelines.

The proposed new guidelines are based on research that looks at the effect of breast cancer screening on society from a public health perspective. This means the researchers were looking at how changing breast cancer screening guidelines would affect the overall public, rather than individual women. In proposing the changes, the task force members said that starting mammograms later in life and doing mammograms less often would save a large amount of money. It also means that about 3% more women would die from breast cancer each year. The task force members felt that the amount of money saved (from fewer mammograms and side effects of extra biopsies and treatment) was greater than the value of more lives saved (3% fewer women surviving breast cancer).

At Breastcancer.org, we are deeply troubled by both the analysis that led to these proposed guideline changes and the effect these proposed changes would have on the health and lives of women. Our specific concerns:

  • The analysis was based on older mammography techniques, meaning the researchers mostly looked at results from film mammograms instead of digital mammograms.
  • The analysis was based on some inaccurate assumptions about optimal treatment after breast cancer is diagnosed. For example, it assumed that women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer would receive and benefit from hormonal therapy but not chemotherapy, even though we know that many of these women do receive and benefit from chemotherapy after surgery. Inaccurate assumptions like this may have caused the researchers to underestimate the number of lives that would be lost should the proposed changes in screening be adopted.
  • The analysis did not adequately consider the combined benefit of early detection (with current screening guidelines) and new treatments that have resulted in steadily improving survival rates in recent years. Screening cannot be looked at in isolation as a snapshot. Screening happens as we continue to improve both diagnosis and treatment. But we can't treat what isn't diagnosed.
  • The proposed guideline changes would mean that many breast cancers would be diagnosed at a later stage, making it harder to become cancer-free. Later-stage diagnoses result in more women with metastatic disease (that has spread to other parts of the body) and more women with large or multiple cancers requiring mastectomy (too late for breast-conserving treatments).
  • The proposed guideline changes would mean that younger women would be diagnosed later. Breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive, so early diagnosis and treatment is more critical for them. It is the lives and futures of younger women that would be lost if the proposed changes are adopted.

Expressed as nameless, faceless numbers, the 3% decrease in breast cancer survival might seem like an acceptable trade-off when compared to the economic benefits of changing breast cancer screening policies. But breast cancer affects a very large number of women, so 3% of that number is not insignificant. The reality is that more women -- mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts -- will die each year from breast cancer, which is neither reasonable nor acceptable.

We at Breastcancer.org encourage medical professionals and everyone affected in any way by breast cancer to raise their voices against these surprising and dramatic proposed changes in the guidelines for breast cancer screening. Our belief is that lives should be saved, not lost, and our commitment to you is that we will continue to strongly advocate for policies that support this fundamental mission.

Marisa C. Weiss, M.D.

President and Founder, Breastcancer.org

Director of Breast Radiation Oncology, Director of Breast Health Outreach

Lankenau Hospital

Maxine Jochelson, M.D.

Director of Radiology

Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Professional Advisory Board, Breastcancer.org

Emily F. Conant, M.D.

Professor of Radiology, Chief of Breast Imaging

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Professional Advisory Board, Breastcancer.org

About Breastcancer.org

Breastcancer.org is the #1 source for breast cancer and breast health information and support, with more than 6,000 pages of medically vetted content. A non-profit organization, Breastcancer.org serves more than 8 million visitors each year.

SOURCE Breastcancer.org


'/>"/>
SOURCE Breastcancer.org
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Prioritizing low-cost, simple health measures would save 2.5 million child lives a year
2. When seconds count: Interventional radiology treatment for pulmonary embolism saves lives
3. Using science to save lives of mothers and children in Africa
4. A Breast Cancer Test That Saves Lives
5. A Breast Cancer Test That Saves Lives
6. Helmets Can Save Lives in Winter Sports
7. Intensive Dialysis Doesnt Save Lives of the Sickest
8. Philips Launches DirectLife, a New Personal Fitness Program to Help People Lead Healthier Lives
9. LIVESTRONG(R) Receives $211,306 Donation from Eagle Golf
10. Over 800 Lives of Domestic Violence Survivors Restored by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundations Give Back A Smile Program
11. SCID kids leading healthy, normal lives 25 years after Bubble Boy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split screen ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split screens ... reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice Color ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive ... proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star ... , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered ... both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, ... Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility ... home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced that it ... (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated testing solution for people ... Roche is the first IVD company in the U.S ... assessment and management. PCT is a sepsis-specific ... blood can aid clinicians in assessing the risk of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 , , ... July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , , ... , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & ... Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 The vast ... an outpatient dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times ... hours per visit, including travel time, equipment preparation and ... patient, but especially grueling for patients who are elderly ... a skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers for some duration ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: