According to a new survey sponsored by the Avon Foundation for Women, states are following the recent U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) mammography recommendations and denying women coverage for mammograms. The survey also reveals that many women are foregoing screening due to USPSTF recommendations.
The Avon national survey of cancer health educators and providers reported that 12 states have reconfigured early detection breast cancer screening programs so that they follow the USPSTF recommendations. In the fall of 2009, the USPSTF controversially called for mammography screening for women to begin at age 50 instead of age 40 for women with a normal risk for breast cancer.

States that have raised the eligibility age to 50 for screening include California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Michigan.

In addition, the Avon survey reported a decline in the number of women under 50 seeking mammograms and that these women are delaying screening because of the USPSTF recommendations.

James H. Thrall, MD, chair of the ACR’s Board of Chancellors, said about the USPSTF in a press release, “Allowing a small number of people with no demonstrated expertise in breast cancer care to make recommendations regarding diagnosis of the nation’s second leading cancer killer makes no scientific sense, and has set a off a chain of political and clinical events that many women may ultimately pay for with their lives.”

Thrall further called for lawmakers at both state and federal levels to enact legislation that will ensure ready access to mammography screening under the previous widely respected and accepted breast cancer screening protocols.

Read the full ACR reaction to the survey on the ACR’s website.

(Source: Press Release)