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Wake Radiology Response to United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) Recommendations

December 2009 

Wake Radiology respectfully disagrees with the USPSTF findings.

On November 16, 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new mammography screening guidelines. The USPSTF recommendations include increasing mammograms to once every two years between the ages of 50 and 74 and discontinuing monthly breast self-exams for all women.

The breast imaging specialists of Wake Radiology have carefully reviewed the data, and we respectfully disagree with the USPSTF findings that suggest that women not begin their yearly mammograms until after age 50. We believe that following these USPSTF recommendations in our community will lead to increased morbidity and mortality from breast cancer.

Wake Radiology’s mammographers overwhelmingly support the current American Cancer Society (ACS)and American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines that recommend women have yearly mammograms from age 40 to 80, citing the vast majority of medical data validating these standards, along with the noted decrease in deaths from breast cancer in our country that has occurred over the past two decades since the current breast screening guidelines were adopted and followed.

We encourage women to be aware of their breast health, understand their risks, and continue to follow existing ACR/ACS (American Cancer Society) recommendations for routine screenings, including yearly screening mammography beginning at age 40 and continuation of self exams each month to detect changes in their breasts. We also advise these women to have a yearly clinical exam by their health care
provider.

If the USPSTF recommendations are adopted by the government and insurance carriers, the reality is that more women will die each year from breast cancer. That is neither reasonable nor acceptable to any of us at Wake Radiology.

Private insurers in the United States are required by law in every state, except Utah, to pay for screening mammograms for women in their 40s. Congress also requires Medicare to pay for annual screening mammograms. Currently, one-third of all American women do not undergo regular screenings and with this report, we fear that others will not be screened and many more lives will be lost to breast cancer.

The failure of age-appropriate women — those 40 to 80 years of age — to undergo mammography costs lives. The USPSTF recommendations set the stage for women to have even less access to appropriate breast cancer detection tools. Our breast imaging radiologists are dedicated to fighting to ensure that all women have access to proper breast care.

Kerry E. Chandler, MD
Director of Women’s Imaging
Wake Radiology

Download Dr. Chandler’s statement

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