Dr. P has the go-to post on the new mammography guidlines. Detailed and accessible, this is what you need to know in the wake of the US Preventive Services Task Force’s recent ill-worded guidlines.
Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that in mid-November, the US Preventive Services Task Force released new recommendations on screening mammography, in which they recommended against routine mammogram screening in women under age 50, and recommended that mammograms now be every two years in women ages 50-74.
What you may not have heard is that the Task Force has acknowledged that the mammogram guidelines were poorly worded, and have revised their original statement to clarify their intentions, mostly by removing those two little words “recommends against”.
Here’s how the guidelines now read (changes in red)
- The USPSTF recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years.
- The decision to start regular, biennial screening mammography before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take patient context into account, including the patient’s values regarding specific benefits and harms.
- The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of screening mammography in women 75 years or older.
- The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of either digital mammography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instead of film mammography as screening modalities for breast cancer.
Cuts through the politics and puts everything in perspective. The whole thing, which you should read, is an excellent exercise in risk assessment; even if you or someone you know is not in the risk group, you should read the whole thing just to see how it’s done.