LIVING WELL: Mammography screening
Science-based recommendations mean more choices for women
BY TAMMERY PERRY, FNP
Ministry Medical Group
Created in 1984, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent expert panel that reviews the scientific evidence for preventive services and makes recommendations based on this evidence for patients and health care providers with a goal of improving the health of all Americans.
In the area of breast cancer screening with mammography, the USPSTF published a statement in January 2016 that their role was to empower women with the best scientific data with mammography, so they can make an informed decision with their health care provider.
This task force recommended that regular screening with mammogram is effective in reducing death from breast cancer for women aged 40 to 74 years. Women aged 50 to 74 years are most likely to benefit from regular mammogram. Women in their 40s may benefit; however, their overall likelihood of benefit from mammogram is lower. A woman in her 40s may want to begin mammograms, after discussion with her health care provider.
Ultimately, these recommendations support a range of choices for women on when to start screening mammograms.
The benefit in mammography for breast cancer screening was demonstrated in randomized clinical trials and other studies that it can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74, especially for those over age 50.
Most guidelines acknowledge that there is value in mammography screening for women in their 40s. Support of this personal choice for women is widely shared by the USPSTF, the American Cancer Society, American College of Physicians, The American Academy of Family Physicians and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. The consensus by multiple organizations gives confidence in the science that mammogram remains a good screening tool for breast cancer.
Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), most health insurance plans must cover breast cancer screenings by mammography every 1 to 2 years for women over 40.
If you have questions about mammography screening, please contact your primary care clinician or contact the James Beck Cancer Center at 715.361.2140.
Tammery Perry is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Ministry Medical Group at the James Beck Cancer Center in Rhinelander