More than eight out of 10 women say new guidelines recommending against routine breast cancer screening of women under 50 are “unsafe”, according to a poll of 247 women in their 40s published by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. They’ve written about it in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The controversy over screening mammography flared in 2009, when the US Preventive Services Task Force, a government-funded group of independent experts, said women shouldn’t be screened routinely until they hit 50, and those between 50 and 74 should have mammograms every two years. For those under 50, they suggested the individual and her doctor should decide on screening based on personal risk factors and preferences. But the recommendations flew in the face of many years of aggressive PR campaigns, and met staunch resistance from advocacy, medical and news groups.
More than eight out of 10 of the women polled said they wanted yearly mammograms. Most of them also had an inflated sense of their breast cancer risk. They put US women’s lifetime risk of developing the disease at 37%—but scientists agree that over their lifetime, 12% will get breast cancer.
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