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Statement by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Patient Advocate Foundation/National Patient Advocate Foundation on Changes to the USPSTF Mammography Guidelines
Date:11/20/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national, non-profit organization that provides case management services to patients diagnosed with chronic, life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Last year, PAF served 48,369 patients and responded to an additional 9.5 million contacts for information. PAF's companion organization, the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF), is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of creating avenues of improved patient access to health care through public policy reform at the state and federal levels. The advocacy activities and policy positions of NPAF are informed and influenced by the experience of patients who are served by PAF. The PAF/NPAF Scientific Advisory Board has reviewed the recommendations released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on screening for breast cancer.

While reasonable individuals can come to different conclusions, PAF/NPAF must respectfully disagree with the recently revised recommendations released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Even though the USPSTF recommendations are for women of average risk, we nonetheless find the potential effects of its recommendations to be troubling. While the Task Force does not establish government policy, we are concerned that private health insurance companies could make coverage decisions based on these recommendations. "In 2008, breast cancer was the leading cancer diagnosis of PAF patients. Of those, 25% of all PAF breast cancer patients were between the ages of 40-49 and would be directly affected by these recommendations," stated Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of PAF/NPAF.

The Task Force did not attach great strength to the evidence for its recommendation and noted that mammography would reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by 15 percent both in women in their forties and in women in their fifties, but chose not to re
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SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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