New Breast Cancer Guidelines Can't Fool Most Women

breast cancer screeningsRemember a couple of years back when a government-funded group of independent experts called the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) said that women shouldn't routinely get screened for breast cancer until they hit 50 years old? And then they said that women aged 50-74 should only have mammograms every two years? Yeah, then a bunch of OB/GYNs and other experts and women who had been diagnosed in their 30s or 40s balked at the news, saying it was absurd ... and dangerous.

Well, thank goodness for anyone who spoke up or simply knows better, because a new opinion poll conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester finds that 8 in 10 women in their 40s believe the USPSTF guidelines to be "unsafe."

Sounds like a big fat "boo yah!" to the task force, not to mention a "win" for these women and in the battle against breast cancer.


About 30 out of 1,000 40-year-olds will die from breast cancer in the absence of screening. But in writing up their new recommendations in 2009, the independent task force was ultimately concerned with the "false alarm" factor. Specifically, the stat that one in two women who are screened yearly in their 40s will have mammograms that show a seemingly suspicious mass that turns out to be benign. And while dealing with a false alarm may be stressful, I personally would rather be overly cautious. And judging from this recent poll, it's a relief to hear that most women feel the same.

Do you feel the task force's guidelines are unsafe?


Image via Caitlin Regan/Flickr

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