Senators Urge HELP Panel to Review Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

Posted November 24, 2009 at 1:33pm

A bipartisan group of 22 Senators is urging the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to look into the widely controversial breast cancer screening recommendations recently offered by a federally funded task force. “These recommendations, which have been widely criticized by patients and doctors alike, could prove devastating for women at risk for breast cancer,— the Senators told HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). The letter came less than a week after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended looser guidelines for breast cancer screenings. The task force suggested that women wait until they turn 50 to begin screening and then undergo one mammogram every two years instead of every year. The task force also suggested women in their 40s forgo having mammograms, unless otherwise instructed by their doctors. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. “These recommendations have caused great confusion among women,— said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a member of the HELP Committee and author of the letter. “Women are seeking answers and are asking their elected representatives whether the task force’s findings will put them at increased risk for this deadly disease.—