The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), the collective voice of medical imaging and radiopharmaceutical manufacturers, innovators, and product developers, submitted comments on the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft research plan for the development of a new breast cancer screening guidance.

Published in January 2021, the USPSTF plan outlines a proposed research approach that will be used to determine new breast cancer screening recommendations, including study characteristics and criteria. 

“We believe the Task Force should adopt open and transparent research methodologies for its assessment of breast cancer screening, as well as for other preventive services,” says Patrick Hope, executive director of MITA.

“As the Task Force reviews the current evidentiary landscape, we urge review of the guidelines of other expert groups—and the underlying evidence those groups relied upon to publish their guidelines,” Hope adds. “The current conflict between USPSTF guidance and those of relevant clinical professional societies hinders the consistent practice of evidence-based care and shared decision-making between women and their clinicians.” 

Specifically, MITA encouraged the USPSTF to consider cancer screening guidelines and research from other professional societies and public health organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the National Comprehensive Care Network.

“A robust assessment of the latest research and expert guidelines must be a fundamental element of the research approach developed by the Task Force,” says Hope. 

As part of its analysis, the USPSTF also intends to assess how social factors contribute to disparities in accessing breast cancer screening, an approach which MITA supports. As the MITA comment letter notes, “gaining a better understanding of the challenges to screening, as well as possible barriers to access of follow-up screening or diagnostic imaging, will enable progress toward ensuring women can get the care they need, when they need it.”

“Through flexibility, transparency, and a thorough analysis of existing research and guidance on breast cancer screening, we believe the Task Force can develop a research framework that ensures a holistic, patient-centered breast cancer screening recommendation that improves public health outcomes for all American women,” Hope concludes.

To read the full letter, click here.