Government Says: Mammograms At Age 50

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

A government task force released it recommendation on Monday that women should start getting screened for breast cancer at the age of 50.

The American Cancer Society's guidelines have been stringent for years, that women should start getting mammograms at the age of 40. They also recommend women to conduct self breast exams; but the task force also thinks that is unnecessary.

The task force concluded that it is more harmful for women to undergo mammograms earlier and more often. Plus there is greater risk for developing breast cancer as a woman ages so to start checking at 50 is a good time frame. Many local doctors and cancer organizations disagree.

Executive director of the mid-Michigan Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation Chris Pearson said this government recommendation is scary.

"My biggest concern is that women will think that they don't need to get mammograms," said Pearson. "To think that people are out there saying you don't need this or we recommend that you don't - I'm afraid for them."

The American Cancer Society released a statement saying that based on the government's research, the task force " is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them."

Both the Komen foundation and the Cancer Society still believe in early detection and said that women need to continue to be checked at age 40.

The government released a recommendation, not a mandate. Women still have the option to get screened at 40 years old. However, if insurance companies are looking to cut costs, it's not that unbelievable that they would look to these recommendations for a reason.

"Evidence-based medicine is wonderful but maybe not so much for the patient as it is for the insurance company," said Pearson.

Dr. David Anderson with the Breast Center in Lansing said more women will likely be reluctant to go for a screening and based on his research that is a very uncomforting thought.

"I looked at the first 50 women that had a diagnosis of breast cancer here and 13 of the 50 had a diagnosis before the age of 50," said Anderson.

Anderson said his center has no plans to discontinue mammograms for women under the age of 50.

Do You Agree With The Government's New Guidelines For Mammograms?

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Nov 21, 2009 at 02:10 PM
    I can hardly wait until the government takes over the health care. I can visualize some $10.00 dollar an hour clerk playing "eenie-meenie-minee moe" on what box to click to force you to fill out reams of paperwork. By the time you finish jumping through all the hoops, more than likely you will be dead. The Doctor should be the person scheduling the required test(s), and no darn clerk should be involved in the approval process. Hang on folks, here comes rationed medical care!
  • by Susan Location: East Lansing on Nov 18, 2009 at 02:08 PM
    I would like to know who is on this task force.
  • by FELIX Location: Indianapolis on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:51 AM
    The government just wants the strongest to survive-- that is why there is no cures for cancer, alzhemiers, HIV Aids, Spinal Cord Injuries, etc.....--GENOCIDE--this is!!!
  • by Me Location: Lansing on Nov 18, 2009 at 07:32 AM
    Nice Government OBAMA CARE....this is how it is going to be when Gov't runs health care...WAKE UP people
  • by Tonia Location: Jackson on Nov 18, 2009 at 07:31 AM
    I am 49 years old and had my first mass removed at 17 again at 33 then 42 saving me from removal. No one task force should have the right become our doctor. Only our REAL doctors have the right to decide our needs for any test. This group has to be receiving money from insurance groups as well as goverment officials getting kick backs as they did with medicare RX.
  • by Andrea Location: Jackson on Nov 18, 2009 at 07:17 AM
    My younger sister was 17 when she found a lump, my mother in her mid 20's, and now me in my early 30's. To 'recommend' that anyone wait till 50 would be a certain death sentence for many. Self check monthly, start @ 40, or sooner if there is a history of breast cancer or a lump detected. The government has NO place between you and your doctor.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 18, 2009 at 05:43 AM
    This is your boy, Obama laying the ground work for rationed health care under government control. Hope and Change, we were suckers.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 17, 2009 at 05:02 PM
    My cousin died of breast cancer at age 48. This is pitiful.
  • by Izzyv Location: Lansiny on Nov 17, 2009 at 04:11 PM
    I was diagnosed last year at the age of 48 with stage I breast cancer. I would hate to have waited a year and a half when I turned 50,to find out this information. Im sure it would have been worst as I had an agressive cancer. I've read that Women facing menopause (47- 50) is the second largest group that is affected by this disease. I don't agree w/waiting until you're 50.
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