New Breast Screening Guidelines Draw Opposition; Swedish Cancer Institute Breast Program's Position;

New Breast Screening Guidelines Draw Opposition; Swedish Cancer Institute Breast Program's Position; Links to Related Info, Various Opinions

SEATTLE, Nov. 17, 2009 -- Upending one of the most widely followed medical directives for women, an influential panel of experts is recommending that women 50 and older get screened for breast cancer only once every two years and that most women in their 40s skip the test altogether.

The panel also concludes that breast self-exams -- a drill that women for decades have been told to perform each month -- do not reduce mortality from breast cancer, but instead lead to more biopsies producing results that are benign.

The new guidelines, published online yesterday in The Annals of Internal Medicine, go against long-standing recommendations from cancer groups, radiologists and other experts that women get annual mammograms starting at age 40.

The American Cancer Society, for one, is sticking to its current recommendations, disagreeing with the national panel's conclusion that for the younger women, potential harm from routine screening outweighs the benefits.

Swedish Cancer Institute Breast Program's Position on this Issue

Until there is clear research indicating otherwise, Swedish Cancer Institute Breast Program will continue to support the American Cancer Society guidelines, which recommend that women begin annual breast screening via mammography at age 40. Swedish Cancer Institute Breast Program also encourages women to discuss any concerns about breast screening with their primary-care providers.

Links to Related Information, Various Opinions

In a continuing effort to help inform and educate women about this important topic, here are links to related information and various opinions on these new recommendations from various expert sources:

For additional details, visit the Swedish Web site for information about mammography, the Swedish Breast Centers , and the Swedish Cancer Institute's Mobile Mammography Program.

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