MAMMOGRAMS ARE BEST IF STARTED AT 50, TASK FORCE SAYS
washington» Mammograms do the most good later in life, a government task force said Monday.
The latest guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stick with its advice that women should have one every two years from ages 50 to 74.
The task force also makes clear that it’s an option for younger women even though they’re less likely to benefit.
The advisory group wants younger women to understand the trade-offs before deciding: Among every 1,000 women screened, one additional death could be prevented by starting mammograms at 40 instead of 50. There would be 576 more false alarms and 58 additional unneeded biopsies. Also, two extra women would be overdiagnosed, treated for cancer that never would have become life-threatening.
The update Monday, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, is largely a rewording of guidelines originally issued in 2009 and reconsidered in draft form last spring. This time, the task force stresses that “we think the science supports a range of options” for 40-somethings, said task force past chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre of the University of Missouri. The Associated Press