Yearly Mammograms Undergo Scrutiny

Do New Guidelines Just Confuse Women?

I fear these new guidelines will do more to confuse rather than help women and will further dissuade them from getting the necessary screening tests they may need.

Unfortunately, with the current economic crisis, too many women are delaying routine preventive care and worse yet, delaying or avoiding more urgent care as well.

On the other hand, the new guidelines will perhaps lessen the load of many mammogram centers that are already overworked and overbooked. I know it takes patients up to six months or more to wait for a routine mammogram.

My biggest worry however is that insurance companies will not pay for routine mammograms in women under 50 and for women over 50 who make the informed decision to do so on an annual basis.

These new guidelines do not persuade me. I plan to continue annual mammograms as I am over 50. I will also advise my friends and patients between the ages of 40 and 50 to consider continued breast exams and mammography, too, because they are still the best way we have to diagnose breast cancer early and potentially save lives.

What are your thoughts on screening? Are you under 50 and had breast cancer diagnosed by a routine mammogram? Have you had a false positive result? Are you worried about the cost of screening tests and whether your insurance will pay for them?

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Dr. Marie Savard is an ABC News medical contributor and author of "Ask Dr. Marie: Straight Talk and Reassuring Answers to Your Most Private Questions."

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