New guidelines released in November by the U.S.
Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend against routine
mammograms for women ages 40-49; recommend biannual (rather than
annual) mammograms for women ages 50-74; and conclude that current
evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of screening
mammography in women age 75 and older. In addition, USPSTF concludes
that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional
benefits and harms of clinical breast examination (CBE) beyond
screening mammography in women 40 years or older, and recommends
against teaching breast self-examination (BSE).
In our operating practices the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition
(DBCC) relies on evidence-based information regarding breast cancer.
Clearly, however, there are conflicting messages from breast cancer
advocacy groups and medical experts about the recommended changes to
screening guidelines, and we have only begun to hear from breast cancer
We acknowledge and respect the research and differing opinions on
this very controversial issue, while continuing to support the existing
guidelines. We will carry on with our mission of raising awareness
about breast health issues through outreach, education and support
services; we will continue to recommend annual mammography screening
for women age 40 and older in conjunction with a clinical breast exam;
and we will continue facilitating and providing mammograms, as we
DBCC will also continue teaching women the proper technique for
doing monthly BSEs. While we appreciate that BSEs are not often
practiced exactly and consistently as is recommended for optimal
results, we do encourage women to know their bodies so that they can
better recognize changes or abnormalities and seek medical advice, when
and if they occur.
DBCC has always been, and will continue to be,
a responsible provider of information that helps women make empowered
choices about their own breast health. We encourage all women to
consult with their health care providers, to understand their own risk
factors and family health history, and to make positive changes in
their lifestyle to reduce their breast cancer risks.
We will continue to support the existing guidelines until a time
when there is greater consensus on, or an official change to, the
guidelines and/or alternate screening choices are available for women.
DBCC remains the only organization in the State of Delaware focused
solely on breast health issues as they affect the women and men who
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Susan G.Komen for the Cure
National Breast Cancer Coalition