The American Cancer Society recently issued new mammogram guidelines for women. Many physicians are giving pushback stating that they do not think these guidelines are in the best interest of women everywhere.
CBS news reports on the new controversy surrounding the guidelines.
The American Cancer Society recently decided that women should get mammograms later but many doctors are saying they disagree.
“This has boiled up controversy in the medical community, and three leading doctors are pushing back in a New York Times op-ed. With more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer expected this year, the doctors who wrote the editorial say early detection is key,” according to CBS news.
Many physicians are saying that mammograms save lives so why start regular screening later on? These differences in opinion leave women unable to decide what course is best for them.
Doctors Susan Drossman, Elisa Port and Emily Sonnenblick all told CBS news they cannot back the American Cancer Society's latest screening guidelines.
Dr. Port said, “The problem with these guidelines is that they're confusing to the very women that should benefit from mammography.” These doctors also told The New York Times, “We were happy to support the Cancer Society. Now, we no longer wish to be involved.”
What are the new guidelines?
The American Cancer Society’s new recommendations suggest women with an average risk start yearly mammograms at age 45 instead of 40. They also said at 55, they can switch to every two years. And they said the women could start screening at age 40 ‘if they wish’.
Dr. Kevin Offenger, who chaired the independent panel that created the news guidelines, commented on them. He said, “Our goal is to empower people to make an informed decision. As a woman ages, a breast issue tends to get less dense and makes reading easier.” Some doctors are even calling the new guidelines a setback.
Many doctors say they have had the privilege of finding early cancers by screening these women in their early forties. They also fear that insurance companies will jump on these new guidelines.
Dr. Offenger said the American Cancer Society supports insurance companies covering women age 40 and older.
Some top oncologists and CBS This Morning medical contributor Dr. David Agus says the objective should not be on when to get a mammogram, but how to better find breast cancer with resources for better technologies.
Dr. Agus said, “We want to be told what to do. But there isn't enough data now to tell every woman in the country what to do between the ages of 40 and 45 so that decision is between a woman, her family and her doctor to make the right decision for them.”