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November 16th, 2009
09:02 PM ET

New mammogram recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's new mammography recommendations have raised controversy.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's new mammography recommendations have raised controversy.

Preventive Services Task Force
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Women in their 40s should not get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer, according to updated guidelines set forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Before having a mammogram, women ages 40 to 49 should talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of the test, and then decide if they want to be screened, according to the task force.

For women ages 50 to 74, it recommends routine mammography screenings every two years. Risks and benefits for women age 75 and above are unknown, it said.

Find the full recommendations here.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Medical News
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Terry S

    At age 46, I was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer after a routine mammogram. I had no past family history and would have been unable to find the cancer by self-breast exam. Where would I be without that mammogram? Instead, I am now 10 years cancer free. I feel this is yet another ploy from the insurance companies for one more reason not to pay for the very services we pre-pay for monthly in our premiums.

    November 17, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  2. Daniel Bond

    That is ANXIETY!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  3. cindy

    This is very disturbing for me since I was diagnoised with cancer at the age of 40. My mother had already had breast cancer, however if it wasn't for getting my mamogram at that age, I would have never found my cancer as early as I did. I have been in remission for 10 years and I owe that to finding my cancer early by getting a mamogram at 40 years old. Women should be given the choice if they want to get a mamogram or not. This is very disturbing for me, that they are making medical cuts already in places of preventive medicine where it may be needed to prevent or save someone's life.

    November 17, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  4. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Because I already had my first breast cancer scare at 32 that resulted in a mammogram and negative results for cancer and I am genetically pre-disposed, I think I'll take my chances on the yearly mammogram and throw these recommendations in the garbage where they belong. And who paid for this study? How do these docs benefit when women die from cancer?

    November 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  5. Jane

    I'm shocked by the reports I am hearing tonight. My niece was diagnosed Stage 4 at age 37. She found a lump the size of a lemon one morning in the shower. Six months later another niece was diagnosed Stage 1 at age 41. 2 years later another niece (sister of the 1st niece) was diagnosed Stage 1 at age 37. My 2nd cousin was then diagnosed Stage 2. Before this all started there was no family history of BC. My 1st niece diagnosed lost her battle a few months ago after 3+ years of treatment and ups and downs. The other two are doing well. I think mammograms should be mandatory at age 35.

    November 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  6. Beth

    As a Stage IV breast cancer patient – i feel it is outrageous that they would make these recommendations. I sit next to women of all ages at MD Anderson In Houston, TX with various types of breast cancer – from early teens up – the fact that a group of individuals who are not onocologists to make these recommendations will only implement more control by insurance carriers to limit mammograms for women and more women will die from lack of early detection –

    Is this what we are to expect from "National Healthcare"?????

    November 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  7. helen

    I think you are right on target about the mamograms. It speaks to me hjow I have made my decisions. My aunt, my mom's sister had breast cancer and I was always told to have a yearly mamogram. I chose not to because I am an individual and my aunt's gene's might have an effect on me but I feel the life stlyes will help to make the genes work better.

    November 16, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  8. Gloria

    I am appalled by these recommendations. I always made sure I had yearly mammograms even though I had no family history of breast cancer. In 1997 at age 57 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The lesion showed up on the mammogram. The year before my mammogram was normal!!!! In 2005, cancer was found in my other breast– found when I had my yearly mammogram. In both cases, the lumps were not palpable when I examined my breasts. Both times very aggressive tumors were found at their early stages. Yearly mammograms are a must from age 40 on. If this changes, it will be a giant step backwards and women will surely revolt!!!!!!

    November 16, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  9. Elaine Kanoskie

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 49 because I had a routine mammogram which I know saved my life. I had no lump, no pain.

    I was diaganosed with HER2-Nu cancer which my doctor said that this cancer was "one nasty actor". Because of the early dectection by the mammogram I am now a four year survior.

    I have led a productive live in my pursuits in the nonprofit world. Specifically foster children and homeless women and their children. I have a loving family who helped me during this time.

    From this report it is my understanding that my life was not worth saving. I beg to dffer.

    November 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  10. Pamela Jones

    I am so disappointed to hear about the mammograms. This is ridiculous. A mammogram saved my life at age 46. I have NO family history nor any signs of a lump. I am alive as a result of the mammogram! What is next? Will they recommend not going to the dentist because it makes someone nervous? Will they recommend children stop getting check-ups at the pediatrician because it makes them nervous?

    November 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  11. Pretrica wheeler

    I had a unnecessary bilateral biopsy at 27 years old. I am now 67 and still bearing scars and the memory of a terrifying time. I think I will bypass this test. To many mistakes made by techs and machines

    November 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  12. Beth

    I am completely outraged ... I am 45 and was diagnosed (and successfully treated) for a 5 millimeter tumor that was picked up on a sonogram this past February. Just by chance, the sono was done prior to the mammogram that day and the mammogram came back clean!! This is LESS about mammograms and age of testing and MORE about that women should have access to the tests that they need.

    Due to the early detection, the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes and I avoided grueling chemotherapy ... though I did opt for a bilateral mastectomy - to AVOID the anxiety that this stupid task force is son concerned about. I would have been MORE anxious worrying about if and when the cancer would return!

    All of the women in my support group were diagnosed in their 30s and 40s. Just try to come in and tell us we would not have access to mammograms.

    And btw, 3 girls in our group are under 30 and all of them found their lumps through self-exams (which are also discouraged under these guidelines). Generally speaking, BC in younger women is far more aggressive and requires extensive treatment.

    It is very suspect that these guidelines have been released so close to the time when health reform is coming up for vote and this will be used as a great scare tactic for anyone trying to make health reform fail. I am sick beyond words over these guidelines.

    November 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  13. Travis

    These recommendations are absurd, would they rather wait until someone is in the final stages of cancer and then try to save that person or pay for the extra cost after the cancer has already spread because of no early detection. the people that are responsible for these recommendations should be fired immediately!!!!

    November 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  14. Phoenix Sawyer

    I wonder how many female doctors were on this panel. I think insurance companies are setting the stage to deny mammograms under 50 and those who benefit from cancer treatment will get richer.

    November 16, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  15. CLARABELL S. FOLKS

    My oldest daughter died at the age of 50 after suffering for
    approximately four years after being diagnosed with breast
    cancer. How can you explain the decision of this "task force"
    in this incident? I totally disagree.

    November 16, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Pamela

    I refuse to do mammograms, pap smears, physicals etc. I have great health insurance but absolutely no faith in the health care industry from the doctors up. This mammogram change is just more proof that they really don't know!

    November 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  17. Randy

    My wife is under 50 and had it not been for a yearly mammogram we may found the breast cancer. Currently going through chemo, we may not have caught it in stage one. Her life is saved by a mammogram while under 50 ( She is 48)

    November 16, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  18. sherise from mercy

    routine mammograms g]have saved many womens lives because of early detections.....and for them to tell women not is ridiculous and outraging

    November 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  19. gloria fredette

    I am appalled at this new recommendation. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 47- cancer found during a mammogram. I had no family history and shudder to think how different the outcome might have been had it not been found for three more years. Mammograms save lives- it saved mine and it might save that of your mother, sister or daughter.

    The best way to fight any cancer is with an early diagnosis. Insurance companies that decline coverage of those under 50 years old will be paying for a lot more radiation, chemotherapy with possibly less success. Is this what we call the best health coverage in the world?
    Shame on all of us!

    November 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  20. NPE

    This is ridiculous. I know SEVERAL people who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 40s and would not be alive in their 50s if they had not had the screening.

    November 16, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  21. Tim Gibson

    And this will be the shape of things to come with government run health care. DEATH.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm |