Recommendation didn’t deter women from getting mammograms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine mammograms for women in their forties.

Now research in the journal Cancer finds many of those women decided to still get mammograms. Forty-seven percent of women in their forties had one in 2011. That’s slightly more than in 2008.

Researchers say the reason could be that groups such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society continue to recommend yearly mammograms.

But researchers also say doctors may not have the time to talk with women about the benefits and drawbacks that include false positive results and the unnecessary testing and stress that comes with it.

A doctor with Diagnostic Imaging says women understand the downsides.

“I think most people are going to take that trade-off and say it’s worth it to me to find a potential cancer early,” says Dr. Linda Harrison.

The radiologist says finding cancers when they’re curable is the benefit of getting screened every year.

“The bottom line is — we still don’t know which patient is going to get breast cancer. We can look at your history, but remember, family history is only a small part of breast cancer,” says Dr. Harrison.

She says while she’s glad the new study found the rate didn’t drop, she’s concerned that fewer than half of women in their forties are getting an annual mammogram.

The study found that close to sixty percent of women ages fifty to seventy-four are getting screened.

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