Physicians Say Women Need Clarity On How Often They Should Have Mammograms

Friday, May 15, 2015
In a Charlotte (NC) Observer (5/15) “Viewpoint,” Dr. Matthew Gromet and Dr. Nicole Abinanti write that “women deserve clarity from the health-care community on the effectiveness of mammograms and the frequency they should have them.” A recent update to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations continues to suggest that women ages 50-74 should get a mammogram every-other-year. The article adds that that recommendation conflicts with those of “the American Cancer Society, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Radiology and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, all of which recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40.”

Report: 17M Women Could Lose Mammogram Coverage Under Draft Recommendations From USPSTF

Thursday, May 14, 2015
McClatchy (5/14, Pugh) reports that a new analysis from Avalere Health “estimates that 17 million women ages 40 to 49 could lose free annual mammogram coverage if an influential medical panel adopts its proposed breast cancer screening guidelines.” The article explains that the ACA requires many health plans to cover certain preventive services at no cost to patients if the procedures receive A or B grades from the US Preventive Services Task Force. Last month, the task force issued a draft recommendation that “put a C grade on breast-cancer screening for women ages 40 to 49,” meaning health plans would no longer have to fully cover mammograms for this group. McClatchy adds that the “American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network all recommend annual mammograms for women 40 and over.”

CDC: Americans Often Skipping Screening Tests For Breast, Cervical And Colon Cancer

Friday, May 8, 2015
On its website, NBC News (5/8, Fox) reports that “Americans are still often skipping screening tests for breast, cervical and colon cancer, a new government survey finds.” The survey indicated that “more than a quarter of women eligible for mammograms are not getting them on time, nearly 20 percent are missing Pap smears and fewer than 60 percent of adults have had a recent colon cancer screening.” In a statement, Dr. Lisa Richardson, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said, “It is concerning to see a stall in colorectal cancer screening rates.” Dr. Richardson added, “We must find new ways to make people and providers aware that getting tested for colorectal cancer could prevent cancer and save their lives.”

ACR Encouraging Radiologists To Leverage Technology To Increase Their Visibility In The Healthcare System

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Forbes (5/7) carries a Medidata article reporting that “diagnostic imaging is a critical component of the health care process, but in recent years interactions between radiologists and referring physicians have decreased, says Mike Tilkin, the chief information officer at the American College of Radiology (ACR).” The increase “in volume due to high demand for imaging and the efficiencies of digital imaging over film-based alternatives result in radiologists more likely to interact with referring physicians through electronic reports, than in a room discussing film together.” Thus, “with these changes, ACR is actively encouraging radiologists to leverage technology to increase their visibility in the health care system.” 

Lawmakers Urge HHS To Oppose USPSTF’s Mammogram Guidance

Thursday, May 7, 2015
The Hill (5/7, Ferris) reports that “several lawmakers who have survived breast cancer are urging the Obama administration to oppose new recommendations that say women under age 50 shouldn’t be screened annually for the disease.” According to the Hill, “Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) – who have both battled breast cancer – joined 60 other members of Congress to condemn recent guidance from” the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), “which advises against regular mammograms for younger women.” In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, lawmakers wrote, “Years of science and medicine have shown that appropriate screening can lead to early detection and save lives.”