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USPSTF mammography recommendations will result in countless unnecessary breast cancer deaths each year
Date:11/16/2009

Reston, Va. If cost-cutting U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) mammography recommendations are adopted as policy, two decades of decline in breast cancer mortality could be reversed and countless American women may die needlessly from breast cancer each year. The recommendations ─ created by a federal government-funded committee with no medical imaging representation ─ would advise against regular mammography screening for women 40-49 years of age, provide mammograms only every other year for women between 50 and 74, and stop all breast cancer screening in women over 74.

"These unfounded USPSTF recommendations ignore the valid scientific data and place a great many women at risk of dying unnecessarily from a disease that we have made significant headway against over the past 20 years. Mammography is not a perfect test, but it has unquestionably been shown to save lives ─ including in women aged 40-49. These new recommendations seem to reflect a conscious decision to ration care. If Medicare and private insurers adopt these incredibly flawed USPSTF recommendations as a rationale for refusing women coverage of these life-saving exams, it could have deadly effects for American women," said Carol H. Lee, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

Since the onset of regular mammography screening in 1990, the mortality rate from breast cancer, which had been unchanged for the preceding 50 years, has decreased by 30 percent. Ignoring direct scientific evidence from large clinical trials, the USPSTF based their recommendations to reduce breast cancer screening on conflicting computer models and the unsupported and discredited idea that the parameters of mammography screening change abruptly at age 50. In truth, there are no data to support this premise.

"The USPSTF claims that the "harms" of mammography, including discomfort of the exam, anxiety over positive results, and possib
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Contact: Shawn Farley
sfarley@acr-arrs.org
703-648-8936
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society
Source:Eurekalert

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