According to an article in MedPage Today, the American Medical Association (AMA) is on record as disagreeing with the US Preventative Task Force recommendation from 2009 that women under 50 need not be required to undergo a routine annual mammogram to detect early stage breast tumors. The AMA recommends an annual mammogram for women above the age of 40.
This disagreement hinges on interpretations of data suggesting whether a significant number of lives are actually preserved due to regular mammograms in younger women. Some analysts claim, as they do with the PSA test for prostate cancer in men, that this screening activity produces a lot of false positives, and forces women with benign growths to undergo biopsies causing considerable trauma for minimal gain in early detection of invasive cancers. In addition, screening by mammography exposes younger, healthy women to radiation, which - over time – may raise the risk of cancer, itself.
The AMA view is backed by the American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. At this juncture, this controversy has not been resolved. Further analysis of screening data and statistics will be needed to prove the utility of screening mammography in women under age 50, especially for women with no clear risk factors for breast cancer.
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