The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging yesterday announced that they “applaud and support” updated American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) recommendations that women begin to receive annual mammograms at age 40. The updated ACOG recommendations, published in the August 2011 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, now correspond with those of the American Cancer Society, ACR, Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD), and myriad other major medical associations with demonstrated expertise in breast cancer care.
While now in step with those of breast cancer experts, the updated ACOG recommendations differ from guidelines set forth by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). “ACOG, like ACR, SBI, and others, places greater importance on saving lives, while the USPSTF was primarily concerned with reducing false positive studies, most of which are resolved by a few additional mammographic views or ultrasound,” says a statement released by the ACR. The USPSTF relied largely on computer modeling to argue that, in women ages 40 to 49, only those with a family history of breast cancer or other high-risk factors should be screened and that women ages 50 to 74 be screened biennially. However, there is no scientific data to support the age of 50 as a biological threshold for screening. It has been artificially marked by inappropriate grouping of data.”
Moreover, the ACR purports in the statement, 75% of women who develop breast cancer are not considered at high risk for the disease, and screening only high-risk women would miss three-quarters of breast cancers. The USPSTF has, the ACR notes, conceded that biennial screening of women ages 50 to 74 would miss up to one-third of cancers present.
“Mammography is not perfect,” the statement concludes. “It does not identify all breast cancers. However, at present there is nothing to replace mammography as a primary screening tool.”
To read the press release, click here: http://www.acr.org/HomePageCategories/News/ACRNewsCenter/ACOG-Annual-Mam...