About Hollings Cancer Center

Comprehensive breast care program

Mammogram Guidelines

Hollings Cancer Center believes women 40 and older should seek screening mammograms every year.  Although this is contrary to the screening mammography recommendations released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in 2009, our position is that the data are not compelling enough to abandon evidence-based, validated screening mammography guidelines.


Hollings Cancer Center Response to USPSTF Screening Mammography Recommendation

  • The USPSTF analysis indicates screening mammography can reduce mortality in every age group, including women age 40-49 and women over 74 years old. This may lead to false positive results and additional procedures in women ages 40-49.  However, these additional biopsies and procedures will detect breast cancer in one of five women.  Routine mammograms will reduce breast cancer deaths in this age group by 15 percent. 
  • The recommended risk assessment to determine the need for a mammogram is rarely performed; and a significant gap in health care education among providers remains.
  • The task force did not account for the expected shift in disease progression. Through earlier detection, tremendous strides have been made in preserving women's breasts, decreasing the need for mastectomy (removal of the breast) by over 40 percent in the past 20 years.  Allowing breast cancers to grow undetected will result in more mastectomies and chemotherapy. 
  • Unlike other health care systems included in this analysis, the U.S. system does not ensure that women are encouraged to be compliant with the new recommendations.  Much of the success of the previously established screening guidelines lies in their elegant simplicity.
  • Joining Hollings Cancer Center in this opposition to the new USPSTF recommendations are:

    The American Cancer Society
    National Comprehensive Cancer Network
    American Society of Breast Disease
    American Society of Breast Surgeons
    Susan G. Komen Foundation

Complete Hollings Cancer Center statement regarding new mammography guidelines.


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