Mount Pleasant, SC (PressExposure) November 20, 2009 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stgb9Zaezxg
The Charleston Breast Center urges women to continue to get annual mammograms beginning at age 40, refuting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report recommending women wait until age 50. Doctors at the center are worried the report is focused more on saving money than saving lives.
âWe are very concerned that these new guidelines and the confusion around them is going to result in decreased screening and that is ultimately going to result in needless increased death,â says Dr. Laura Amodei, director of MRI at the Charleston Breast Center.
Breast cancer treatment is one area of medicine where the data strongly shows that mammograms save lives, so Amodei says she sees this task force and its recommendations coming as a result of the governmentâs desire to save money and cut health care costs.
âThe task force acknowledges mammograms save lives from age 40 to 49, but essentially what they argue is that it just doesnât save enough lives to be cost effective. Part of that is because they weigh very heavily the risk of a false alarm,â Amodei says.
The task force is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Essentially, Amodei says, this task forceâs overall mission is to look for cost-cutting measures that will shape Medicare coverage â and possibly coverage policies of private health insurance agencies.
She points to the incredible cure rate for breast cancer that is caught early and hasnât spread through other parts of the body: 99.9 percent.
âSince mammograms began regularly in the United States in 1990, mortality â deaths from breast cancer â have decreased by 30 percent,â Amodei says. âThat is a huge change in a very short period of time.â