USPSTF mammo guidelines questioned by new review

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The national mammography guidelines for breast cancer screening that were published in a report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2009, have come under fire by an article published online in the December 2009 edition of the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Kevin Evans, PhD, division chair and associate professor of radiography and diagnostic medical sonography at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, wrote that the report issued by the USPSTF does not provide evidence-based recommendations and that the recommendations are based on a review of literature, rather than a systematic review.

"Even though the methodology used by the USPSTF is not clear and the level of evidence is questionable, the proposed recommendations have been highly publicized," explained Evans.

Evans noted the USPSTF report contained low methodological scores, which he concluded lowers the overall scientific impact of the report significantly. As a result, the guidelines generated from the report in question have been put in question.

Among the main concerns Evan noted in his article in regard to the report is that the recommendations “fail to address current breast imaging practice and data that have been published about a multimodality approach for detecting a breast lesion.”

Evans concluded by urging clinicians to become “good consumers of research,” as he noted that patients rely on sonographers, mammographers and physicians for evidence-based recommendations to assist them with preventive health decisions.

"The most appropriate way to guarantee patients are receiving quality healthcare is to become adept at reviewing published research and implementing information that will change current practice patterns," wrote Evans.