House Bill Would Overrule USPSTF Panel Recommendations On Mammography Screening For Younger Women

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Bloomberg News (7/30, Tracer) reports that Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) “submitted a bill Wednesday to put a two-year moratorium on a proposal” from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that could “end guaranteed insurance coverage for mammograms for women ages 40 to 49.” In April, a USPSTF panel “said...that the benefits of those screenings may not outweigh harms such as false positives,” though the final recommendations have not been issued yet. If the bill is approved, Bloomberg News adds, “it wouldn’t be the first time Congress has effectively overruled the experts on breast-cancer screening.” 

Death Rates From Invasive Breast Cancer Declining

Friday, July 24, 2015
MedPage Today (7/23, Jackson) reports that data indicate that “from 1973 to 2010 in the U.S., large reductions in breast cancer-specific death hazards were experienced in women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.” While “overall age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates were stable initially, they decreased by almost one-third, from 33.5% in 1988 to 23.5% in 2010, reported Mitchell Gail, MD, PhD, senior investigator, biostatistics branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and colleagues.” The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology 

Breast Density Notification Letters May Not Motivate High-Risk Women To Pursue Further Risk Assessment

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Aunt Minnie (7/22, Yee) reports that “some 85% of women who received [breast] density notification letters didn’t follow through with services offered by a risk-assessment clinic,” according to a study published July 14 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Penn State Hershey Breast Center investigators “found that letters sent directly to women who had a 20% or higher lifetime risk of breast cancer did not appear to motivate them to pursue further risk assessment.” 

Professor of Medicine, Gilbert Welch, MD, says benefits of screening for breast cancer are limited

Monday, July 20, 2015

In a Los Angeles Times (7/20) op-ed, H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, writes, “If you haven’t gotten this message already, you should heed it now: The benefits of screening for breast cancer are limited.” Welch argues, “We should be doing fewer screening mammograms, not more

Response: SBI President, Elizabeth Morris, MD and ACR Breast Commission Chair, Debra Monticcilo, MD

Commentary on Breast Cancer Screening, Incidence, and Mortality Across US Counties

Response: The real truth about mammograms

Radiation From Mammography May Be Lower Than Originally Believed

Thursday, July 16, 2015
The Oregonian (7/16, Terry) reports that research suggests that “radiation from mammography may be lower than originally” believed.

HealthDay (7/16, Norton) reports that investigators “created a model of breast anatomy based on CT scans from 219 women – who ranged in age, ethnicity and breast density.” The study “estimate[d] that the radiation dose from a screening mammogram is anywhere from 20 percent to 35 percent lower than previously” believed. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.