by Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder
You may recall, in October, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new mammography guidelines which raised concerns, especially for us here at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. The ACS recommendations suggest women begin annual mammograms at age 45 and every other year beginning at age 55. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition believes that starting mammograms at 40 is the gold standard. Another concern with the ACS recommendations was the possibility that insurance companies could use the guidelines as an opportunity to eliminate free mammograms for many women.
We know that Pennsylvania insurance agency representatives have already indicated their desire to roll back PA’s guarantee of free mammograms for state-insured women.
In response, Dr. Richard Wender, Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society sent a letter addressing our concerns to the PA Secretary of Health and PA Insurance Commissioner, clarifying the intent of the latest mammography guidelines.
The letter further explains the ACS recommendations, stressing the importance of a woman’s consultation with her doctor. The PBCC applauds and thanks the American Cancer Society for adressing these concerns, for providing a more in-depth explanation of its screening guidelines and for making it clear that they, in no way, support removing current insurance coverage for women 40 to 45 in our state.
Read the complete letter from Dr. Richard Wender on behalf of the American Cancer Society here.
UPDATE: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its latest mammography guidelines, recommending women begin screening at age 50. The PBCC strongly diagrees. Click here to read our press release.