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Mammograms - Could 50 be to late?

By Staff

Recently, the government changed its national recommendations for mammogram testing, from annual tests starting at age 40, to age 50.  The move was highly controversial, as many doctors and people believe that early detection of breast cancer is critical to beating the disease.

The choice to change official recommendation, was made in part to align the US with the World Health Organization's opinion of 50 as the year to start getting tested.  For years mammograms in Europe have been given starting at age 50, with no statistically relevant differences between number of breast cancer diagnoses given there and in the US.  

This isn't to advocate women ignoring or putting off breast cancer screenings, but simply a change in medical opinion about the necessity for women under 40 to consider getting tested.  However, women of African-decent represent the largest group of all breast cancer deaths, many of whom are pre-menopausal at death.

Christine Cupaiulo, author of, New Mammogram Guidelines Are Causing Confusion, But Here's Why They Make Sense agrees with the change in opinion. She cites many sources (a variety of women's health organizations, including Our Bodies Ourselvesthe National Women's Health Network and Breast Cancer Action that disagree with the argument in favor of early detection, as chances of death are not, in fact, necessarily decreased by early testing.

But perhaps it is most important for women to remember that talking with their doctor and assessing their own needs is best.  For now, the world and America are unified in agreement about 50 being the age to start mammogram testing, while encouraging women to ask questions, seek answers, and be aware of their bodies and any changes that could cause concern.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 27, 2009
    • Here is my problems with those guidelines. No, we will not have a choice whether we do it or not, because in few months insurance companies will stop authorizing payments for this procedures, if they haven’t done so already, and most women will not be able to pay for them.

      The new heath reform? will do EXACTLY the same thing. So for those that are high risk will have to really  figure out a way to twist their doctors arm to work with them on getting their insurance to go for this.

      In my opinion, it’s no longer our choice....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 27, 2009
    • I have to get get them early since I was younger as my mom and sister are breast cancer survivors.

      Anything to save the ins companies from having to spend money so their pockets will be lined even more!  

      Makes me sick!!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Encee wrote Nov 27, 2009
    • There is just something not right about it.  I have heard that after 50 the recommendation is mamos every 2 years and every year after age 65. But, for women who have a family history of breast cancer this has to be very scary.  

      True enough, if there is health care reform, you can bet it won’t be covering annual screening if it’s not an official requirement.  

      I believe every two years or so is enough for me, but, I definitely do believe in self-examinations.  How can doctors now say that they are not recommending them?  In the past I’ve been given instruction sheets at the gyn office.  What are they thinking?  frown



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 27, 2009
    • This is deal. You have some high paid doctors who have never really practiced that much in a so call “doctor’s office” but probably more on the line of research...that get hired by the government (a panel that made this recommendation so they can save the government money...hence...rationing of care) to state that it’s really not worth saving your life or maybe even up to 10 lives under the age of 50.  Oh...and THEY say if you are high risk then you would not be included.  Well what I say to that is...just think of how many people who were never classified as “high risk“...but got breast cancer under the age of 40???

      Just a note:  The American Cancer Society is NOT...I STATE ...NOT endorsing these recommendations.

      This is ludicrous and yes...I AM OUTRAGED BY IT.

      I’m considered high risk and have been having yearly exams and mammograms...and have had surgery since the ripe old age of 35...yes folks...35.  Under the age of 40.  So...if I waited and waited because our lovely government says “oh you‘re not worth the money“....then I would possibly be dead by now.

      This is why I am so against a government health care system in the United States.  It will never work...and you think things are bad now...without it ....just wait.

      Women across the country need to stand up AGAINST THIS!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Isabellacat18 wrote Nov 28, 2009
    • I think they want us to get used to a lower standard of care that will come with socialized medicine.  I personally know three women who have been treated for breast cancer in their 30’s.  I have a student who has been treated for it and she is 17.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angelcart wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • I’m sticking with the “old” guidelines.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kandykahne 5 wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • I don’t have a history in my family so I’m sure I won’t be able to keep getting them as I have been until I am 50. I don’t like the new guidelines and yes insurance companies will stop paying for them. My sister in law is a breast cancer survivor and she had to have a double mastectomy at 45! Had she not gone every year faithfully for her mamogram she may not be here today if she had to wait until she was 50.frown



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Arcuri wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • I am fired up about our country going to extremes to change the national recommendations for mammograms.  What their real priority is has nothing to do with quality medical prevention, treatment or care, but rather a scheme to save the mighty buck!

      How sad that our country, who used to celebrate our American freedom, is suddenly brainwashing society to believe that we suddenly do not need to seek annual breast exams or mammograms. Good grief!  Just when I think that I heard EVERYTHING, something even more hypocritical, outrageous and ludicrous hits the fan!

      As a female, I encourage all females, with and without a history of breast cancer, to SPEAK OUT, MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD AND DEMAND QUALITY HEALTH CARE!  As the saying goes, “THOSE WHO SPEAK THE LOUDEST GET HEARD!”



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Tweety007 wrote Dec 6, 2009
    • I think we should get them every year starting at the age of 40 reguardless



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Dec 6, 2009
    • Tweety...oh I think we should start getting them at age 30...maybe not every year...but maybe at age 30 , 35 and then every year starting at age 40.  Doctors are seeing more women with breast cancer at earlier ages....it’s a fact.  

      I guess they’ll just tell us all to take a pill and everything will be okay.....if not...oh well...who cares?



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