Queens Physicians Office Building I
1380 Lusitana Street, Suite 504
Honolulu, HI 96813

(808) 531-6727

November 2009 – The Uproar over the New Mammogram Guidelines

Woman Receiving Breast Exam

The U.S. Preventative Screening Task Force announces new Guidelines regarding who should have a mammogram and when.

Summary of New Guidelines

  • Women in their 40s do not need to do screening mammograms
  • Women from age 50-75 should have a mammogram once every 2 years.
  • It is not known whether women over age 75 benefit from doing mammograms.

Why They Changed the Guidelines

  • There was concern that women were needlessly subjected to the anxiety and distress over an abnormal mammogram result
  • There was concern that women were undergoing unneccessary biopsies for lumps that were benign

The Controversy

  • Women in their 40s are at risk of breast cancer, but their risk is lower than older women. Many breast cancer survivors were outraged at the new guidelines.
  • The new guidelines conflict with the current guidelines published by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  ACS and ACOG guidelines still call for women to start mammograms every 1-2 years at age 40, and annually starting from age 50.

The Good News

Currently, no insurers in Hawaii have announced any plans to change their coverage for mammograms.  If you have any questions about how often you should have a mammogram, please discuss it with your doctor.


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