Responding to the new ACS mammogram guidelines

Along with everyone else, I heard about the American Cancer Society’s new breast cancer screening recommendations last Tuesday morning when the news broke. The society no longer recommends that women at average risk between the ages of 40 and 44 have mammograms and advises reducing the frequency of mammograms from every year to every other year for women 55 and older. The group is also recommending ending physical breast examinations by doctors entirely.

The timing was interesting because, coincidentally, I had attended the American Cancer Society’s Mothers of the Year Luncheon the day before the announcement. My colleague, Dr. Susan Drossman, was receiving the award that I too had received a few years prior. When we heard about the society’s change in guidelines, Susan and I knew we needed to respond. We were concerned that an organization we were supporting and standing for, one that we thought shared our goals of early detection of breast cancer, improved treatments, and saving lives, was sending a confusing message that no longer seemed to prioritize these same endpoints. Along with our colleague Dr. Emily Sonnenblick—another Mother of the Year—we rapidly worked to articulate our perspective in an editorial for The New York Times.

New York Times Annual Mammogram American Cancer Society

I hope you will read the full op-ed here.


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