On January 28-29, leading medical organizations and a federal advisory committee will meet to discuss conflicting mammography guidelines causing confusion among women. We promise to follow. Meantime, publicity about mammography’s short-comings makes women wonder if magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound are better. For
now, they aren’t though each has its appropriate use, particularly as a companion to mammography. Here are two links on MRI and ultrasound for those who want more info.
From ASCO on MRI: http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/tests-and-procedures/breast-mri-early-detection-breast-cancer
Johns Hopkins on ultrasound: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gynecology/breast_ultrasound_92,P07764/
A national program pays for mammograms and Pap smears for women who have no insurance or who skip medical appointments and tests because their out-of-pocket costs are so high. It’s important to spread the word, in light of new mammography guidelines. Congress has told health insurers they can NOT change policies on paying for screening mammograms for two years. Let’s hope that does not happen. Here’s a link to reach the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. www.bcccp.org; (888) 242-2702
A federal panel that has relaxed cancer screening guidelines for breast, prostate and several other tumors has issued new guidelines ditching annual mammograms for many women. What do you think? My take, as a reporter covering this issue for 30 years: More confusion. Federal government even postponed when these GUIDELINES take effect, to be sure insurance committees don’t reduce coverage.
The nation’s largest group of women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer mutations has released a statement opposing new mammography guidelines released by the American Cancer Society, saying it fears the new standards will do more harm than good.
“It is important to note that these new guidelines are intended for women at average risk of breast cancer,” says the statement from Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE). “Unfortunately, the vast majority of young women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known family history, and many are unaware that they may carry a genetic mutation associated with increased risk of cancer. Others simply have sporadic cancer for unexplained reasons. As such, these guidelines may have a negative impact on the general population and high-risk breast cancer communities alike.
“Many women learn they are at high risk only after they are diagnosed with breast cancer that is most often first detected by breast self-exam or mammogram.,” said the statement. “While saving lives is of primary concern, we should not underestimate the value of early detection, which may help women avoid poorer prognoses and more invasive treatments such as chemotherapy or mastectomy.” The full statement is at: http://www.facingourrisk.org/our-role-and-impact/advocacy/current-actions/documents/ACS-guidelines-statement-2015.pdf