Mammograms Save Lives

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force this week made recommendations that significantly change breast cancer screening approaches, recommending against routine mammograms for women 40-49 and questioning the value of breast cancer screenings for women older than 75.

What do these recommendations mean? The Task Force’s recommendations are not binding, but are often consulted by medical professionals and by third-party public and private medical funders.

What is the reaction from Susan G. Komen for the Cure? Key points given by Komen headquarters include:

* Mammograms save lives in women 40 to 49 and over 50.

* Komen would not want to see a change in policy or reimbursement for screening mammography at this time.  Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues to recommend annual mammography beginning at age 40 for women of average risk and earlier for women with known risks for breast cancer. Komen’s current screening guidelines can be found at www.komen.org. Komen is constantly evaluating its guidelines and would not change them without serious consideration.

* Our real focus should be on the fact that one-third of the women who qualify for screening under today’s guidelines are not being screened due to lack of access, education or awareness.  That issue needs focus and attention: If we can make progress with screening in vulnerable populations, we could make more progress in the fight against breast cancer.

Local women talk to the Orange County Register about the new suggested guidelines http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mammogram-219910-women-cancer.html including survivor Jane Hill, on staff at Orange County Komen.

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