In Reversal, U.S. Guidelines Urge Mammograms at 50, Not 40

Picture of woman's torso. Her hand covers one breast as she examines herself.

Self Examination to Prevent Breast Cancer

[Update 11/19/09: New mammogram guidelines unlikely to curb policy coverage” is the latest pronouncement from the medical establishment, doctors and insurers alike.  Insures say they base their coverage decisions upon a broad array of research and guideline from various sources, many of whom continue to stick with the former policy of frequent screening starting earlier than what the new guidelines (original post below) suggest.]

[Update 11/18/09: The new guidelines for mammograms published yesterday and discussed below has caused an uproar among women and health professionals alike.

There’s nothing like confusion over a life-threatening situation to get people incensed. Told for years that women should do self-examinations and begin mammogram testing at age 40, now the story has changed to no self-examinations and mammogram testing at 50.

Read about the brouhaha over this here: New Mammogram Advice Finds a Skeptical Audience and Many Doctors to Stay the Course on Breast Exams for Now.]

THIS WAS just published by the New York Times.

It reports that most women should start regular breast cancer screening at age 50, not 40, according to new guidelines released Monday by an influential group that provides guidance to doctors, insurance companies and policy makers.

The new recommendations reverse longstanding guidelines and are aimed at reducing harm from over treatment, according to the group, the United States Preventive Services Task Force.

It also says women age 50 to 74 should have mammograms less frequently — every two years, rather than every year.  In addition, doctors should stop teaching women to examine their breasts on a regular basis, said this group.

Go figure.

Read more here.

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Joe Garma
 

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