“Mammography screening saves lives,” says Daniel Kopans, MD, senior radiologist in the breast imaging division at Massachusetts General Hospital and an outspoken critic of the task force report of 2009, “The attacks on mammography screening, particularly for women ages 40 to 49, are a major medical scandal.”
Advocates say that it’s undeniable that using mammography to find early stage invasive breast cancer can reduce mortality: More than 40% of the years of life lost to breast cancer are among women diagnosed in their 40s. The recommendation to begin mammograsmd at 50, according to Dr. Kopans, is arbitrary. “There is no scientific or biological reason to delay screening until age 50,” he says.
In addition, although false-positive readings are a concern, not scanning has perils too. A recent Harvard study showed that almost 75% of women who died of breast cancer were among the 25% not getting regular mammograms.
“The same computer models that the task force used to arrive at its guidelines also show that if women now in their 30s followed these recommendations, as many as 100,000 would die unnecessarily from breast cancer,” Dr. Kopans says.
Who supports it. The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the American College of Radiology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Susan G Komen for the Cure, and the American Medical Association.
Source: Prevention magazine October 2012