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AMA Recommends Annual Mammograms for Younger Women

The American Medical Association (AMA) has recommended that women between the ages of 40 and 50 get annual mammograms.

The decision conflicts with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but agrees with the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society.

The recommendation’s opponents believe it is not cost beneficial for women between 40 and 50 to receive annual mammograms and that the “annual screening will drive up insurance and HMO costs without proven benefit.” The American Society of Surgeons said, “Even the studies that have been in favor of mammography have pointed out that the incidence of breast cancer is so low, and the sensitivity of mammography is so low in women between the ages of 40 and 50, that you would have to screen more than 250,000 women to find, perhaps, one curable case of breast cancer.”

Dr. Debra Judelson of the American Medical Women’s Association (which supports annual mammograms) noted that insurance companies have refused to pay for women’s mammograms (under age 50) if they occur in less than a two year period.

However, proponents of this decision note that “One in six breast cancer deaths in 1995 were attributable to women diagnosed with breast cancer during their 40s.”

Sources:

Nando Times and AP - June 24,1999

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