Modern Healthcare (11/30, Johnson, Subscription Publication) reports that yesterday, “members of a House committee...said they want the US Preventive Services Task Force to invite more input to ensure its guidance, which can influence how much an insurer pays for preventive services, is independent and unbiased.” In “hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, GOP lawmakers took turns expressing concern that patient access was being affected by the panel’s efforts to control costs.” According to Modern Healthcare, “Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)...co-sponsored a bill that would require USPSTF to ‘include balanced representation of practicing primary and specialty care providers.’” Modern Healthcare points out that the USPSTF breast cancer screening guidelines differ from recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Radiology.
HealthImaging (11/29, Maglaya) reports on a study presented at a radiology conference by James G. Mainprize, PhD, and colleagues who developed “a quantitative, objective measure of masking” in order to describe “the probability of missing a cancer (if present)” in a mammogram “due to the amount and patterns of dense tissue in the breast.” The researchers hope that the measure “could serve as an important tool” in determining whether a mammogram for “an individual woman is compromised due to breast density.”
NBC Nightly News (11/29, story 8, 2:00, Holt) reported on a study finding that among breast cancer patients, “one in six patients have symptoms other than lumps which can be more difficult to identify.” NBC (Dahlgren) described the case of Beth Laflor, a nurse who works as a lactation consultant, who noticed “changes to the shape of her breast” but received a negative mammogram. She sought a second opinion and “more imaging showed stage three breast cancer, beneath dense breast tissue.” Women are advised to be aware of “changes to the nipple, armpit, any pain, and changes to the skin or shape.”
MedPage Today (11/29, Susman) reports on a study presented at a radiology conference finding “the addition of tomosynthesis to mammography provided better screening performance and lower recall rates, as well as higher invasive cancer detection in younger women.” The study found a 6 percent decrease in recalls with tomosynthesis, with “a relative increase in invasive cancer detection of 67%.” The study was based on “65,457 screening examinations among women under age 50.”