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Southern Medical Association Takes Position on Breast Cancer Screening
Date:1/17/2010

g “not thinking mammograms are necessary” (12.6%), “too busy” or “forgot” (40% and 43.3% respectively). The well published controversies and ambiguous recommendations for screening mammography of women in their 40’s could also result in noncompliance for these patients, including those patients for whom screening is indicated based on their individual family history, genetics, or ethnic origin. This is another important “unquantifiable” consideration that we as health professionals must consider when evaluating Task Force recommendations and their unintended consequences.

It is critical that we carefully examine the limitations of these recommendations and their unintended consequences, and as physicians, consider how the recommendations apply on an individual patient basis. It is also critical that payers are aware of these limitations, so that patients who need screening outside of recommended guidelines will still be covered. Future recommendations and/or guidelines should be applicable to all patient populations, or should qualify within the recommendation itself the patient population to which it applies. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has provided clinicians, employers, policy makers, and regulators with information that may potentially result in denial of breast screening to patients who would benefit from screening. It is up to concerned clinicians to make certain that employers, policy makers, regulators, and the public are aware of these critical limitations, and to continue to advocate for their patients.

Peter Kragel, M.D., Professor and Chair, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine

Lisa Bellin, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine

*The Southern Medical Association is a multi-specialty physician based professional association which has provided post graduate continuing medical education and deve
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