The Charleston Breast Center urges women to continue to get annual mammograms beginning at age 40, refuting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report recommending women wait until age 50.
Doctors at the center are worried the report is focused more on saving money than saving lives.
"We are very concerned that these new guidelines and the confusion around them is going to result in decreased screening and that is ultimately going to result in needless increased death," says Dr. Laura Amodei, director of MRI at the Charleston Breast Center.
Breast cancer treatment is one area of medicine where the data strongly shows that mammograms save lives, so Amodei says she sees this task force and its recommendations coming as a result of the government's desire to save money and cut health care costs.
"The task force acknowledges mammograms save lives from age 40 to 49, but essentially what they argue is that it just doesn't save enough lives to be cost effective. Part of that is because they weigh very heavily the risk of a false alarm," Amodei says.
The task force is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Essentially, Amodei says, this task force's overall mission is to look for cost-cutting measures that will shape Medicare coverage -- and possibly coverage policies of private health insurance agencies.
She points to the incredible cure rate for breast cancer that is caught early and hasn't spread through other parts of the body: 99.9 percent.
"Since mammograms began regularly in the United States in 1990, mortality -- deaths from breast cancer - have decreased by 30 percent," Amodei says. "That is a huge change in a very short period of time."
About the Charleston Breast Center
The Charleston Breast Center is an imaging center specializing in breast services with the mission of raising the bar in breast cancer detection and patient care for all women across the Lowcountry of South Carolina. As a nonprofit, the Center is able to focus on the highest level of care and personalized service for patients without concern for what is the most profitable, resulting in a breast cancer detection rate of twice the national average and a designation as a Center of Excellence. All care is provided under one roof at the center's 10,000-square-foot facility designed with comfort and stress reduction in mind, and physicians actively coordinate with complimentary area providers on each patient's case to ensure the best patient care. For more information, visit CharlestonBreastCenter.com or call (843) 556-0116.