Government: No need for breast exams under 50

Posted by: Sherri Burnett-James - bio | email

ROCKVILLE, MD (WSFA)- The United States Preventive Services Task Force released new mammography testing recommendations Tuesday for low-risk, breast cancer patients and the results are creating a lot of controversy.

The task force recommends against routine mammography in women aged 40 to 49 that are low-risk breast cancer individuals. They also recommend against teaching breast self-examinations, something healthcare professionals have been preaching for years.

The task force says the changes in recommendations are due to "computer models that report getting mammograms too early may cause more harm than good. In younger women, the chance of a false result outweighs the small benefit." They do recommend that women between ages of 50 to 79 should have biennial (once every two years) mammography screenings .

These new recommendations are causing big confusion and controversy from what experts have recommended for years as preventive treatment for breast cancer in women aged 40. The American Cancer Society argues "that the government is placing more emphasis on computer models than real patients." The society still recommends that women under 50 should have annually routine mammograms and is strongly against the government's new recommendations

Many women are concerned that insurance companies will not cover mammogram costs for low-risk women under 40 who chose to be screened. That is a concern that remains to be addressed.

For more information on the new recommendations, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality web site:

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