November 5, 2014 — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force could release updated recommendations on mammography screenings early next year, Roll Call's "Healthopolis" reports.
The updates are part of routine periodic modifications made to such guidelines.
Debate Over Previous Guidelines
According to "Healthopolis," USPSTF encountered some backlash after releasing its latest mammography guidelines in 2009 (Young, "Healthopolis," Roll Call, 11/3).
The panel recommended that women receive mammograms every other year starting at age 50, in part because the potential negative effects of false positives outweigh the benefits of more frequent screening. Some advocacy groups criticized the guidelines, maintaining that frequent mammograms save lives (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/18/11). Previously, the guidelines had recommended that all women should receive regular mammograms beginning at age 40.
Increased Transparency for New Recommendations
USPSTF Chair Michael LeFevre said the response to the 2009 guidelines led the panel to increase transparency and give more attention to how it distributes recommendations.
He added the panel wants its message to reach beyond the medical community. To that end, USPSTF has created a public website with information about issues being considered in its next mammography recommendations. LeFevre said, "We want people to understand what we do and how we do it and how we reached our conclusions" ("Healthopolis," Roll Call, 11/3).