New recommendations for breast cancer screening that brewed a storm of controversy and confusion were formally rejected Wednesday by the Obama administration and by medical centers across the country.
In less than 48 hours, ABC News learned of 42 medical centers who said either through statements, Internet postings or interview comments by leading mammography experts that they had rejected the recommendations by the task force.
The list of medical centers that told women they are not adopting the task force recommendations included major centers from every area of the country: Johns Hopkins, University of Pittsburgh, Duke Medical Center, MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic and UCLA.
"The study released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force will not change current practices at Johns Hopkins," reads a statement Johns Hopkins Medicine posted on its Web site. "We will maintain our recommendations that routine screening for women at average risk for cancer occurs annually from 40 years of age through 80, when it can be altered at that point... please continue to schedule your mammograms annually, check your breasts, and let your physician know when changes occur."
In a statement issued by Dr. Edward Partridge, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center, he said his institution "strongly supports the recommendations of the American Cancer Society that women should begin mammography screening at age 40 and continue on an annual basis as long as they are in good health."
Keep reading for a list of medical centers that are not following the new breast cancer screening guidelines.
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius distanced the Obama administration from the recommendations that women begin mammography at age 50. Sebelius told women confused by the recommendations, which run counter to nearly all major cancer organizations to "keep doing what you are doing. "
"[T]he task force has presented some new evidence for consideration, but our policies remain unchanged," Sebelius said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. Sebelius also reminded women that the USPSTF "[does] not set federal policy and they don't determine what services are covered by the federal government."
Members of the USPSTF that made the recommendations tell ABC News they're not surprised doctors don't want to change current screening practices, but that plenty of misinterpretations and falsehoods have clouded the purpose of Monday's guidelines.
The clashing recommendations may leave some women confused, particularly low-risk women in their 40s to whom the changes in guidelines most directly apply.
"In general, it takes 17 years to translate findings in research into clinical practice," said Bernadette Melnyk, a professor at Arizona State University and a member of the USPSTF.
In fact, Melnyk said that the breast cancer screening recommendations aren't the only advice from USPSTF that doctors ignore. The USPSTF issues guidelines on a range of topics and "a lot of providers still don't follow them and they still don't use them.