ACR urges USPSTF to withdraw mammo screening guidelines

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force should withdraw its 2009 guidelines and support annual screening, beginning at the age of 40, for all women, according to a statement issued by the American College of Radiology in response to results of the Swedish Two-County Trial, published in the July issue of Radiology.

Physicians who have been asked by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to discuss screening with their younger patients would be wise to consider the results of this important screening trial, the college stated.

The landmark study should put an end to the controversies over the effectiveness of mammography screening, according to the ACR. It confirms that screening with mammography alone can save thousands of lives, but furthermore, the mortality benefit continues over time, the college said.

More than half of the cancer deaths in this study occurred more than 10 years after screening began, demonstrating an enduring effect for almost three decades. The death rate was 30 percent lower among the women invited to be screened.

In contrast, USPSTF guidelines issued in 2009 suggesting that women need not begin screening until the age of 50. They used an estimate of only a 15 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths in their calculations. Had they used the estimate of 30 percent, they may have reached different conclusions and made different recommendations, ACR surmised.

To read more about the study, click here.