PA BREAST CANCER COALITION CALLS ON AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY TO RECONSIDER LATEST, CONFUSING MAMMOGRAPHY GUIDELINES
Statewide breast cancer organization stands behind current mammogram guidelines that begin at age 40
PENNSYLVANIA – The PA Breast Cancer Coalition calls on the American Cancer Society (ACS) to reconsider its new mammography guidelines. The guidelines, released Tuesday, propose changing the suggested age for women to begin yearly mammograms to age 45 and every two years after age 55. Previously, the ACS guidelines suggested annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for average risk women. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) feels this change is a step in the wrong direction for women.
“These new mammography guidelines are vague and confusing,” said PA Breast Cancer Coalition President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “The PA Breast Cancer Coalition fears these recommendations will lead to thousands of women skipping mammograms that could save their lives. There is no doubt the ACS’s decision to change the suggested age and frequency of screenings will lead to a decrease in mammograms nationwide. Early detection saves lives. We encourage the American Cancer Society to revisit its decision to alter existing guidelines on mammography.”
Pennsylvania women are speaking out against the decision to change the mammogram age to 45 from 40. Survivor Suzanne Grasse of Wayne County says she would not be alive today if these guidelines took effect when she was 40.
“I find the American Cancer Society’s new guidelines for mammograms disheartening. Shortly after turning 41, I was diagnosed with Stage 2B triple positive breast cancer with node involvement,” said Grasse. “My tumor was not palpable and was found on a routine mammogram. My children were 12, 8 and 4 at the time. I will be 50 next month. I am so thankful these were not the guidelines 9 years ago. Sadly, it feels as we have taken a big step backward for early detection.”
The American Cancer Society cites a high rate of false positives for women under the age of 45. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition points to 3D mammograms as an alternative screening method to standard digital mammograms for women concerned with false alarms. 3D mammograms produce 27 percent fewer false positives than standard mammograms. Thanks to an historic step taken by Governor Tom Wolf and announced by First Lady Frances Wolf at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference, 3D mammograms are now covered for all women insured under Pennsylvania law, beginning at age 40.
About the PA Breast Cancer Coalition
The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.