Lots of women right now are understandably confused about when they should get mammograms, a breast cancer screening tool that has been lauded to have saved lives.
A federal task force last week recommended women wait until age 50, rather than the well-established baseline age of 40, to get their first mammogram. It also said to get them every two years instead of annually. The drastic changes in thinking have caused an uproar from everyone from the American Cancer Society to politicians who claim this “rationing” is the sign of things to come if government becomes more involved with health care.
Women who have survived breast cancer because of screenings in their 40s are speaking out about the need to retain current practices. Many health providers, including locally and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, do not support the new guidelines. Dr. Mark Myers, chief of mammography at Mankato Clinic, said about one-fourth of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 40-49. Many health experts are stressing the need for women to talk to their doctors to decide what is best for their individual situation.
Mankato Free Press, 11/22/09