Wasserman Schultz: New Breast Cancer Recommendations Are ‘Clear as Mud’

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

The firestorm continues surrounding new recommendations that women screen later in life and less frequently for breast cancer, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) — herself a breast cancer survivor — blasting the advice as both dangerous and confusing to women.

“These are very disturbing recommendations,” Wasserman Schultz told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday.

As someone who found my own breast cancer through a breast self-exam and had a mammogram — and knowing that there are tens of thousands of women from 40 to 49 years old in this country that are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and that it’s often diagnosed at a later stage and is more aggressive — to say that women in that 10 year age gap should not get mammograms is just totally inappropriate….

The bottom line is that instead of making things more clear for women, this task force’s recommendations are making things clear as mud — totally confusing women.

The new recommendations, released Monday by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, suggest that women don’t begin getting mammograms until they hit 50 — 10 years later than the same panel recommended in 2002.

Wasserman Schultz has a reason to be indignant. Her cancer was diagnosed when she was 41.



Comment posted November 18, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

Wasserman-Schultz is misinformed. Routine mammography screening in the general population has been PROVEN not to save lives. Here is one example, from a study in Malmo, Sweden. After 13 years of follow-up, the following results were observed:

Of 21,088 women in the screening group, 2,537 died.

Of 21,195 women in the no-screening group, 2,593 died.

The other two properly randomized studies, in Canada and the UK, showed very similar results.

The recommendation was long overdue; to object to it is to promote junk science.

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