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November 17th, 2009
08:11 AM ET

Task force rejects routine mammograms for women age 40-49

A government task force is changing the guidelines for breast cancer screening, and the major medical reversal could affect millions of American women.

For years women over 40-years-old were told to get a mammogram every year because early detection saves lives. Now experts are saying they're not effective and lead to unnecessary biopsies.

Women are being told to wait until they're 50-years-old to start getting screened, leaving many scratching their heads. CNN's Kiran Chetry reports.

Read more: Task force changes mammography guidelines

Filed under: Health
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    My sister, who is between 40 and 49 yo, recently had a stereotactic needle breast biopsy because of a suspicious mammogram. The biopsy results were negative for cancer. When I asked the physicians office just exactly how many women will be biopsied and subsequently told that their results were negative, I was told 70% of them.

    OMG! You mean that fully 7 out of every 10 women who are told they have a suspicious mammogram and are scared withless into enduring a grueling stereotactical needle breast biopsy have gone through this whole ordeal for absolutely nothing? Well, yes.

    Aye Carumba! What a racket for the medical community. When a woman is told she has a suspicious mammogram, most go into a bit of an emotional meltdown. Seventy percent of them for absolutely nothing!

    How many people think it is a good plan to have your car's transmission checked out once a year with a routine screening procedure and then 70% be told that the transmission would need to be overhauled to the tune of thousands of dollars, needlessly, because the screen check got it wrong? Just how long do you think places running such a scam would allowed to be in businress once the powers that be found out so many were being ripped off?

    November 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  2. Marilyn

    Mitchell and those of you who jump to the conclusion that our current president commissioned this so called taskforce. NOT SO!!!!! The people were named by someone in the GW administration. So lets find out who they are and what sort of study this really was. Barrack Obama did not and would not accept this ridiculous "study". Thank you.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:44 am |
  3. inde

    Hmm.. but they didn't suggest men not get regular prostate exams.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  4. inde

    What makes these people experts? This is why many American people don't trust many people involved in healthcare. So many are paid reps, doing political favors, hidden buddies with big pharma and healthscare companies; we have to use our judgement and gut not listen to those with these hidden agendas.

    It's so sad that the everyday Americans need to be their own doctors these days. Because even many doctors are wooed by big pharma reps. We need another law that bans these reps from taking doctors out or giving gifts to them for prescribing the junk they often peddle.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  5. jeni mulder

    I had invasive breast cancer at age 42 . Thanks to self exam and a double mastectomy I am still here today . I guess I would have been one of the statistics they were talking about . This must be a glimpse of the government healthcare .I am sure they would change their guidelines if it directly affected them . Now they have given the insurance companies more fodder to change their rules as they see fit . God help us all if government healthcare becomes the rule.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  6. Bob

    Just another white wash for the insurance companies. Just look at what happened with the IDSA. Just like Lyme, Breast Cancer has 250,000 new cases every year. Let's just stick our head in the sand.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  7. SJM

    Currently this government committee can only make recommendations, insurers and providers are free to ignore them. The current bill coming from the House will change that. In the future, the recommendations from these government committees will have the force of law at defining what services are paid for by medicare, medicaid, the "public option" and conforming plans. Everyone wants costs savings in principle, but no like the details. This is just the beginning. This is the face of health care reform.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  8. Day

    Have you ever been a part of a team that was having some challenges only to realize that the real challenge was the leader? People we have to start questioning. Just because someone says it doesn't make it true. Let's monitor our leaders, our experts and our pundits and if it sounds ridiculous it probably is ridiculous. Let’s not let them insult our intelligence.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  9. Mitchell

    Hey...this is Obamacare, line up like mindless sheep.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  10. Kate

    Half of you are clueless about who is making this new recommendation. IT IS THE GOVERNMENT making the recommendation and not a single oncologist was on the "board." You're criticizing the wrong people!! Wake up!! This is government healthcare. They will take things away from you to save money. Wake up. Government and healthcare is a BAD combination.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  11. Jim

    This decision is simply preparatory cost controls for a governemnt managed/mandated healthcare system. 1. it lowers the cost of the government option under prventative care, 2. it reduces the costs to insurance companies by reducing covered preventative measures allowing them to reduce expenses, and 3. it passes the risks and eventual costs onto the individuals and taxpayers. There will be more of this type of pseudo-qualified panel/committee decision making surrounding healthcare costs when "line item" review and revisions are made in lieu of manageable costs for healthcare. This is bean counter decision making in progress. Taking this stance now, on this topic, only makes other preventative measures easier to modify or eliminate going forward.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  12. Michael

    Look it up. The government appoints these so called experts to be on the task force. So who is running the government now that this is coming up at a time when they are trying to do all this health care reform? Since this has come out – the administration has not even come out to condone or say that this is acceptable – where are you executive office? Americans are up in arms over this idiotic decision because it is dangerous for all American women and their families. I personally feel this is just the begining of what is going to happen when the beaurocracy of the American government gets involved with health care (and I am a liberal).

    November 18, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  13. Becky

    I was angry about this yesterday, but today I am incensed after listening to Ms. Marion from the government task force. I am a breast cancer survivor. I am 42 years old. My tumor was found in 2008 on a routine mammogram. I was 41, with no family history. I had a clean mammogram at 40. I had no reason to think I would get breast cancer and neither did my doctor. Luckily, it was small and hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes. I was stage 1, but had I waited until I was 50, or found it in a few years who knows what would have happened. I, and women like me, should be held up in medical circles as proof positive that early screening works and saves lives. Instead this government panel feels we aren’t worth it.

    Ms. Marion kept repeating the same thing; that they aren’t recommending you don’t have screening, but that you should start the conversation with your doctor about the risks. What are the risks? The anxiety of waiting for results, well believe me there is much more anxiety finding out you have cancer and I can’t imagine how much there would be if you were told it was stage 3 or 4.

    This task force is clearly more concerned about cutting health care costs than saving lives. (Who put it together anyway?) It’s certainly much less expensive to pay for someone who has stage 4 cancer because they will be dead a lot sooner than someone with stage 1. I don’t understand how they can even suggest this course of action. It’s irresponsible and women everywhere should take a stand on this.

    Kirin, you suggested to Ms. Marion they go back to the drawing board on this. I hope they do. They have no logical reasoning behind their recommendations that I can see other than cost, which they deny.
    I tell all my friends to get their mammogram because it truly saved my life. Unfortunately, my life is just a line of data to the task force.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  14. Miami

    This just another way to control health insurance cost – just like the reduction in Medicare. I have worked for over 40 years and have seen young ladies in their 30's get breast cancer in the 1970's with no history of it in their immediate families. For once, women were being given decent health care in one aspect of their lives and now, we are not. I would like to know more about the individuals on this "Task Force" – who they are, where their universities, hospitals, etc get their funding from. I think there is more to this than meets the eye. The insurance companies may not raise their rates today but you know they will as soon as they think it is "politically correct" to do so. Women should be outraged at what is happening. Seniors should also be outraged at what is going on with Medicare.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  15. Don Lubecki

    I am amazed at your interview this morning. Does the US Preventive Task Force place such little valve on our loved ones. My mother-in law, her mother, my wife and her sisters all have had some type of extensive exams over the past years. Her mother and Grandmother both had BC. When HMO's get this report guess who won't be covering Mammograms any more. Did the Insurance companies pay for this task force?

    November 18, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  16. Carol

    Way to go, Dr Gupta! I admired the way you raked the nurse-phD over the coals (who was defending the new study findings about mammo screenings) not once, but twice! Having a 'conversation' with one's doctor about screening for mammograms between ages 40 and 49, when Dr Gupta reminds her that most positive mammos are sporadic cases just made her look silly. Loved it when Dr Gupta said "what is a doctor supposed to do with this information?" I, too, am one of those sporadic cases, and in the 15% of people whose cancer was found on a routine mammogram screening last month. I am 44 years old and otherwise healthy. If it was up to making a call by a primary care doctor to have the screening in my case, it would have been 50:50, based on an unremarkable family history. The thought that the insurance companies are just going to use this study's findings to limit early diagnosis is chilling. Another example of the savings for the many paying for the relative few to walk around with breast cancers spreading, and those few requiring longer and more painful treatment when the cancers are found later. We have the improved digital technology, why not continue the screenings (the contract rate here is about 100$ for a screening) ? Then maybe be more careful about unnecessary biopsies (which are around 4000$). And make sure the radiologists stay current with their training to improve their false positive rates.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  17. Frank

    It dawn on me they mean that higher taxes would give the Government more control over them. Both major parties have ideas to deal with Health Care that saying something. Higher Taxes concern me but its about am I better off, for me. I don't think giving Health Care limits freedom. Do they understand that Taxes pay to take care of Seniors Citiziens and disabled, also pays for Militiary, Law enforcement, schools and colleges most if not all pay for what We want and need. It they told me what they would cut I be more willing to listen to them.

    November 18, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  18. coann

    the task force said that self examines and mamograms cause too many false positives and anxiety but i would rather go through the "anxiety" and have it checked out throughly than find out later on that it was cancer and now could be too late. As to the issue of self examine, i think most women know their bodies pretty well and they know when something is not right. I have found 2 lumps in the past and they forunately were begein but i have a 25 year old niece that found a lump and it was cancer and because of the size of it she had to have a double masectormy, 2 rounds of chemo and radiation. if she hadn't found the lump through self examine we probably would be talking about terminal cancer.

    November 18, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  19. Frank

    Detail Who, what, where, when, why, and how please what do people mean when they say the Government is taking over our lifes by having the public option. Health Care is growing out of control and so are the uninsured. If Health Care cost goes down isn't that what you want. The Health Care industries haven't and I don't think thay will lower cost. What really sick is that people die in the emergence room.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  20. Laurie

    I would like to know what relationship this task force has with the insurance companies? Public interest needs to get out of our government and politicians need to start working for the tax payers NOT special interest.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  21. G.

    Bravo Dr. Sanjay Gupta for calling this taskforce's findings "insulting." I'm a physician, too, and I was shocked, then horrified by this report. Watch out for the buzzwords "best practices." This is a good idea that I predict will come to mean "rationed care."

    November 18, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  22. Ang

    Due to these new recommendations it paves the way for insurance companies to deny paying for mammograms. This is dangerous. I am in my mid thirties and on my Fathers side, my Grandmother and her 4 Sisters all had to have double mastectomies due to breast cancer – they were not in their 50’s they were in their early 40’s when it was found. The way I see it, this is another big victory for the insurance companies and not us.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  23. Holly

    I am outraged this morning, I watched the interview with the task force to say that one percent of women between ages 40 and 50 should die of breast cancer. She did not say those exact words but that is what will happen. I'm a survivor twice with this disease. I was 39 years old when a lump was detected by myself and doctor but at 46 after just being examined by my oncologist went across the street for my yearly mammogram and that is how I found the second breast cancer in my other breast. To say you should have a conversation with a doctor to decide on the course of action is just stupid. I agree with Dr. Gupta what is the doctor going to say. Most healthy women don't see a doctor on a regular basis and with the cost of health care most can't afford to. I also want to say that now the insurance companies may opt out of the paid yearly exam for this age group based on this recommendation.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  24. Anne

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33. I had no family history, and lead a healthy lifestyle. Education about early screening could have prevented months of pain, and years of worry.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  25. ronvan

    Where do all these "studies" come from? Sorry, but this one smaks of nothing more than "cost cutting". It makes more sense to me that "preventive" care, finding something at the start, before it becomes a major problem, would "SAVE" money, which would make the insurance companies happy? Any yes, listening to Ms Marion she gives the impression that she does not beleive in this either, just keeps reciting the lines she was given.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  26. Billie

    Just watched this segment. I was apalled by the task force's decision. It appears to be ABOUT THE COST SAVINGS...not about saving lives. I am planning on getting mammogram every year regardless of whether or not it is covered. With a small (narrow minded) task force coming up with this will change how medical insurance covers mammograms and many women will die from this decision. How outrageous and needs to be reversed.
    Thanks for reporting this.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  27. Ron L.

    My mother is still alive almost 30 years after discovering breast cancer in her 30's through a routine mammogram.

    We all know what this is and no one is saying it - "government task force" and "benefit analysis" - this is rationing and there is no refuting that.

    Get ready for this type of decision with every procedure when Universal Health Care is passed.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  28. Yvette

    I was very impressed with Dr Gupta's strong line of questioning for Ms Marion who had the same response everytime. This recommendation is insane.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  29. Carol

    For heaven's sake, tell people what the risk factors are! You make it seem like it's just about someone in your family having had cancer. It's NOT! Did you begin to menstruate early? Did you have no children, or only one child? Did you breast feed? Are your breasts dense? You are promoting ignorance by not hammering away at all of the other risk factors that women need to consider. There are MANY. And MANY women with no history of cancer in their families have it. Don't MISLEAD PEOPLE or give them a false sense of security by suggesting they're fine if mom and grandmom didn't have cancer.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  30. Pascal Aguirre

    The release of these guidelines is conveniently coincidental with impending government run health care. What these task forces call "new data" others will justly see as the start of rationing practices. This is just laying the groundwork for the government to not be required to cover screening for a full decade for females once universal health care passes. Brace for more of this over the coming years.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  31. Justine

    i have yet to hear any of the task force members come out with a SPECIFIC reason why they don't recommend routine screening now... is it because the think women are wasting their money or is it because all the exposure to radiation is bad or WHAT IS THE DEAL?! give me something a little more because right now, all the responses have not backed up this new information with any new found reasons.

    November 18, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  32. Annette

    I am waiting for people to wake up and smell our new government?????Does ANYONE see what is happening to our country? This is just one thing in our new H.C. bill that is over 2,000 pages that will be coming down the pike to take away and start controlling our lives.

    For the people who want the public option in the new reform bill, this is just to open the door so the government can come in and take it completely over. If people still believe it is simply for Insurance companies to be competitive?!? Think again. Look up a speech by our new Pres. back in 2004 where he said he wants a one payer system. Total Control. This is just one of the many things we can look forward to having the government run and take over.

    November 18, 2009 at 2:28 am |
  33. Frank


    About Government run Health Care:

    Who pays for Health Care I heard the rich, I believe everyone will shell out some funds, I haven't see the bill please ask you congressman. You said "why do you think the government suddenyl released this study" I don't believe the members of Congress would allow that thay'd know their jobs would be on the line. Who got us into Trillions of debt hint its not President Obama? I'll wait for the finished product before I pass judgement.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  34. Mitchell

    If you agree with this task force appointed by the current administration then you will reallly love Obamacare. This is just a very small example of the cost saving ideas that will crawl out of the "liberal bushes". Come on you mindless sheep....wake up.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  35. Michelle

    This isn't insurance companies this is the government reducing costs in order to push through their plan. Just another example that intelligence has nothing to do with being in government or a medical doctor.
    I wouldn't be alive if I had waited for the supposedly best hospital in Chicago to "discuss" with me my alternatives. They misdiagnosed me for 2 years. AT LEAST I had great insurance, that paid for excellent care with 2 other hospitals. Like the government is going to provide that in the future!

    There are more effective screening techniques than the mammogram but the equipment needs to be paid for by someone. Everyone acts like the money is available for every single need identified in our country. It is available if you pay into the system. The more you want from the government the more responsibility you have to provide the government with your tax dollars.

    Back to the breast cancer issue...Also published today that those with lower financial abilities die more frequently in ER's. Doctors according to this ridiculous study said that they didn't realize that they discriminating.
    It is well known that those with less education and thus more than likely, less financial means, smoke more and are more prone to obesity and less wellness care. I hate the press. They are so irresponsible.

    November 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  36. Sandra Ballard

    This is inbelieveable! It is a way for the insurance companies to save money and the govenment is supporting this! Even if only a hand full of women can be saved by early screening then it is worth and I understand the number is quite significant. Who asked for this "task force", how much did it cost, and what credentials do they have? Will the women and wives of the men on the task force abide by these guidelines – probably not! The tax payers will end up having to pay for this life saving screening once the insurance companies start denying the mamograms which they will because the govenment is backing them up!

    November 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  37. Susan W.

    I challenge the CNN investigative reporters to find out who exactly is on the "Task Force" and find out how many of them have received money from the health care industry. Their recommendation just gave the health care industry the right to deny paying for any breast examinations, saving the health care industry billions of dollars per year.

    Mamograms do miss 20% of all breast cancers, so I challenge the medical field and the scientific community to come up with a better way of detecting breast cancer, instead of just giving up and letting women die. I was diagnosed when I was 44 and only by a biopsy.

    November 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  38. Evie

    Any agency or person who would recommend women wait until 50 for mammograms never had breast cancer in their family prior to the age of 50. This is going to KILL thousands of women in this country and for what – the bottom line of insurance companies. Pathetic is putting it lightly.

    November 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  39. Aaron

    to the one who said "government should offer health care"; who do you think PAYS for the government? Taxes are already close to 30% and we aave a deficit in the Trillions, only going to get worse with SpendObama and his cronies, and why do you think the government suddenyl released this study, because under teh so called "reform" there will not be money to pay for such a HUGELY important preventitive test as this...

    November 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  40. katlady

    I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43. I am now 48 and have had my 3rd diagnosis and am undergoing treatment for the 3rd time. I had an average risk with no family history.

    The recommendation used to be a baseline mammogram at age 35. They keep raising the age, which will have devastating affects on women. I think the increased risk for women over 40 is well worth what insurance will have to pay for these mammograms.

    November 17, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  41. Susan

    This is, literally, a lethal assault on all American women. How dare they even consider such a guideline. I would like to know who was responsible for bringing this idea up for a "task force" review in the first place. Shame on them!

    November 17, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  42. Linda L. Galloway

    I am really upset about this I have lost several relatives and friends with Breast Cancer and they were in their forties. I had a lump at the age of 18 and I was scared to death so I say get your Mamograms. I live in wheeling, Wv and our great onocologist said he will continue to have patients get Mamograms.

    November 17, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  43. American Citizen

    No surprise this comes within the voting on health care. It's time we put being Rep's and Dem's to the side and be AMERICANS. Our Government is out of control with borrowing and spending, BOTH parties are to blame for this. The problem is they dont seem to care.

    November 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  44. Bri

    Can anyone say "rationing?" There is not even an oncologist on the "task force." This is just one way the government can save $, not lives when we turn over our health to them. Scary.

    November 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  45. Harold Mayes

    My wife's breast cancer was detected by a mammogram in 1997 when she was 50. She had two different types of cancers. One was 1 cm the other one was only a half cm. She owes her life to that mammogram.

    Who are these people, that think they can regulate life, anyways?

    November 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  46. Don C

    I would look to know how many members of the study group on this latest mammogram finding have been or are currently receiving funding or support from the health care industry?

    Is this this another item the health care industry is trying to cut back on?

    That would make an interesting study by itself!

    November 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  47. Linda L. Galloway

    I can not believe this all the Doctors and even our President is telling us to get Colonoscopies and Mamograms for preventive measures for our Health Screenings, and now they want to change Mamograms on us, I wonder if this is the way to now cut Insurance costs and if this is their way of doing it that is really scarey, I am one who had to start at age 18 because they found a lump in my breast and thank goodness they did because all of the women in family has breast cancer and some have died. I think it is awful.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  48. Patti

    My mother would have lost her life to cancer with this recommendation. She was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at 45 and now is a very healthy, active, independent 79 yr old. In addition, the initial visit to the doctor was triggered by a self-examination which is also not recommended by the "government". I can't wait to ask my doctor what she thinks about this!

    November 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  49. WAM

    Lets think about this for a moment. . . .Now, women don't have to get procedures that, for years, were absolutely essential, and a sin to miss one of your check-ups. The Dr.'s made you feel like you would get cancer if you missed only one exam.
    Now that the insurance companies are cutting back on all the things that makes them no money anymore, the Dr.'s are telling everyone that they lied to their patients for years, and don't even do a self-exam. That self-exams are more dangerous than if they didn't exam themselves. That's sociopathic !!
    All of this is motivated by money. The Dr.'s and the PhRMA's and insurance companies conjured up all of this awareness, ie, 20K runs, pink ribbons ect. so you as a patient would go see the Dr.'s and buy the drugs and pay the exorbadent co-pay of the insurance co.'s. Now that it's no longer profitable, all you women who were detected before you were 50, would be dead according to the new guide lines.
    Even the lawyer for the insurance companies admitted that she had breast cancer at the age of 45 !!!!!
    How can you stupid people be against health care reform ? You stupid SOB's are killing yourself ! The problem is that you could hurt my chances of survival through your ignorance ! If that happens to enough people, . . . Hello 60's. Bank explosions, Big corporations being sabotaged, CEO's being sniped from afar, Government buldings being occupied until certain requirements are met!! Government buildings being bombed. In general, CAOS !!!
    I lived through the 60's the first time, I can lead this time.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  50. Amy

    Wow this is absolutely ridiculous! So they are basically saying just give up on early detection. No self screenings or yearly mamograms. Do they really think we are that stupid?? It's all about cutting costs and it sickens me.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  51. Cheryl Kondo

    We have been told imaging is better than mamograms for dense breasts, why is there no mention of that? Is that because it costs more than mamorgrams? How sad that women under 50 will die because they are being told not to self examine or get a mamogram or image and it is no longer necessary to be proactive about breast cancer until they reach 50 years of age. I believe most women personally know women under fifty who were diagnosed with breast cancer, some survived, some unfortunately did not and many times it was found by self examination. It sounds like the culling of the weak of the species to save money.

    November 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  52. Linda L. Galloway

    I must say to all of you this is really terrible I have a very high risk in my family I lost my grandmother to it and also almost lost my mother to it. I myself had a scare when I was only 18 years old and I had to have a Mamogram and go to see a Surgeon and thank goodness they found out it was a cyst and If I had let it go who knows what would have happened. I also have a best who was just diagnosed at 47 with stage 3 cancer and is fighting for her life right now. I agree with the other caller this is just plain crazy and this is probably going to be how it is with government run insurance. Let this happen to someone high up in congress and you can bet they would not have to wait. Signed a very concerned woman.

    November 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  53. pink ribbon patient

    I am a breast cancer patient right now. This "advice" is baloney. I hardly know where to start explaining how wrong-headed it is.
    These researchers say the risks of current screening are (1) the short-term anxiety of biospies that turn out to be normal, and (2) the costs of preventing one cancer death for every 1,904 women age 40 to 49 who are screened for 10 years, compared with catching one death for every 1,339 women age 50 to 74. I
    So they think women should be protected from being anxious for a week or so waiting for a clear biopsy result? Try telling your elementary school age kids that you have cancer, and then having them watch while you recover from a mastectomy, chemo and radiation. Now THAT'S anxiety - for the whole family and not just for the individual patient.
    So they don't care if we don't prevent those deaths of women under 49?! It's not like current screening doesn't prevent ANY deaths. If you (or your wife/sister/daughter/friend/co-worker) are now 45, develop a cancer and then don't know until you have a first mammogram at 50, you will be very lucky to survive. Instead of limited surgery and radiation, and maybe five+ years of hormone suppressing drugs, you will need a mastectomy, chemo, radiation and five+ years of hormone suppressing drugs. If you have reached Stage IV, you could need chemo for a decade or more. This won't save money. It will just shift medical payments away from radiologists who run the screening and biopsy side, to the oncologists, who will be able to justifiy high fees for more complex treatment, and to the drug companies that sell the chemotherapy drugs.

    November 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  54. Georgia

    After 30 years of Mammograms and self exams, I found a lump in my left beast last October 2008. "Self Exam". To hear that this is an unnecessary function is criminal. If I had waited the 2 years for my next mammogram, December 2010 what damage would have been done. I had an aggressive form of cancer, confined, lucky for me. I had chemo and double mastectomy in May, due to family history. Is the government playing GOD with women again and or cutting costs due to behind close door meetings with the insurance companies this past summer. I inform my family members, neighbors and friends to self-exam breasts and under the arm and have a regular mammogram every year.

    November 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  55. Peggy Stevens

    Don't believe these so-called experts!!!! My daughter died of stage four breast cancer at the age of 35 years old. When I went with her to chemotherapy, there were other young women (one was 17 years old) right there with her. Her motto was "Feel your boobs, save your life. It is so irresponsible of these doctors to get together and advise that women should not even do breast exams or mammograms before the age of 50 yrs old. Hmmmmm...wonder if any of them were women??? Cancer is big business! They want you to get cancer so they can line their pockets. Don't let them fool you!

    November 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  56. Vincent Baine

    Is there really such a thing as an "unnecessary biopsy"? This is just infuriating. I'd love to know how long this has been on the drawing board. We have a president who suggests we check the air in our tires to prevent overspending at the gas pump (smart idea) so what do he and Michelle think about this? DO self-exams regularly, DO NOT wait to get your mamograms. This is nonsense and dangerous talk to be ignored!

    November 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  57. Marge Zugsberger

    It seems to me that the government is taking this stand on mammograms in a time when it is trying to cut medical cost, and this is a area where they spend a lot of money through Medicade and Medicare. Can't you see the figures of savings running through their heads if they can get away with this one. With older women at the greatest risk, they will be able to save billions on cut services to the detriment of older persons health. Marge Z
    South Carolina

    November 17, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  58. nancy

    I wish this service was at least paid in full by insurance. My company initiated insurance (UHC) ~~ didn't pay one thin dime for mine. It was over $300. Seems they (UHC) doesn't care about women's health, and that's a shame...

    November 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  59. Frank

    Floating this Idea mammograms should be a free service. I also believe that the Government should offer Health Care.

    November 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  60. Frank

    If I had the know how and was a women this would make a good service to offer to women for free. Would this be helpful to young women young then 40 1% is a lot when it you.

    November 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  61. Kathleen Arndt

    This is another way to takes away for what we are already paying for.
    My sisters and 3- 1st counsins have had breast cancer under 40
    I am 47 and "watching". Now will I have to wait until stage 3 to detect?

    My family paid $18,000. for insurance last year. ( over 1/2 my pay). I had a mamorgram. Stragely the whole bill was $74.00 dollars. Somehow we have made that a "cheaper" screening. I recall it use to cost plenty more.

    November 17, 2009 at 8:44 am |