Our Position on the Importance of Mammography
St. John Providence Breast Care Program Position Statement on New United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) Screening Guidelines
The St. John Providence Breast Care Program is strongly opposed to the new recommendations from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). Our breast program will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society (ACS).
We feel there is ample data supporting the use and effectiveness of mammography in all women ages 40-50 regardless of risk factors. We acknowledge the detection rate of mammography in this group of women is not as high as in the 50 and over population but are unwilling to let a cancer potentially go undiagnosed for as long as 10 years. We feel that there is emerging data that the use of digital mammography in this population will help increase the detection rate and decrease the number of benign biopsies.
We feel annual screening mammography from 50-74 is necessary as the interval of two years between imaging will have a tremendous impact on stage at diagnosis and thus impact survival.
We disagree with the recommendation to stop screening with mammography at age 75. We know a woman’s risk of breast cancer only increases with age and not screening these women would be ignoring the highest risk population. If a woman chooses to stop her breast cancer screening at age 75 due to decreased life expectancy that should be an individual decision.
Lastly, we disagree with the recommendation to discourage monthly self breast examination. Many of the cancers diagnosed within the St. John Providence Health system are from women who identify a lump on their self breast examinations and discouraging this would be eliminating a powerful tool women can do to help with early detection.
The St. John Providence Breast Care Program continues to support the NCCN and ACS recommendations, which are as follows:
- Annual Screening Mammography: Starting at age 40 and continuing yearly as long as a woman is in good health
- Clinical Breast Exam: Starting at age 20 every 3 years and annually starting at age 40
- Breast Self Exam: Monthly starting at age 20