Women reject “unsafe” changes to breast cancer detection guidelines
Comment on and summary of story from WTMA, May 30, 2011
A new report shows that eight out of ten women think that new guidelines which do not recommend routine breast cancer screening for women under 50 are “unsafe”.
And rightly so.
In 2009 a US government-funded study into increasing the benefits of breast cancer screening argued that the age at which annual mammograms begin should be raised from 40 to 50.
So why did a report on increasing the benefits of screening recommend limiting it?
It’s the false-positives.
Incidences of false-positive results are higher in the 40-49 age group than in the 50-59 group.
Balancing the effectiveness of screening’s ability to save a life against the adverse consequences caused for a patient by a false-positive result, the report argues that screening within the 40-49 age group does more harm than good.
While no-one can deny that improvements still need to be made to mammography, the solution is unlikely to involve discouraging women from taking a proactive role in detecting breast cancer.
The full report can be found here.