Karen McDougal, Bare Skin Care Model
Mammograms have had a definite role in the reduction of deaths due to breast cancer. Early detection of this disease increases survival rates anywhere from 50-75 % to almost 98%. When correlated with the devastating physical and emotional effects of breast cancer, and given the fact that most breast cancers are not detected on physical examination until they are over one centimeter in diameter, the use of mammography would seem obvious.
But In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended limiting the use of screening mammography. Researchers now report that the rate of screening has declined significantly in the Medicare population.
The USPSTF recommendations for screening mammography were announced on November 17, 2009. They called for women younger than 50 years to view screening as optional, women from 50 to 74 years to be screened once every 2 years, and women older than 74 years to forgo screening altogether.
Is This Good or Bad?The American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology continue to abide by their old recommendations, which is for women to undergo yearly screening mammography starting at age 40.
"The introduction of these USPSTF recommendations has had a chilling effect on the willingness of women to get screened. There are some who would say that this is a good thing...but people who are knowledgeable about screening mammography and about breast cancer would say no, it is not a good thing. Personally, I don't think it's a good thing.
We have finally stumbled on to a way to prevent and cure breast cancer. And now some are saying mammograms are overused. While I am in agreement that many lab tests are overused in the US, in my opinion mammograms are not one of them.