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Healthcare Nationally: Breast Cancer Screening

Recent USPSTF Breast Cancer screening guidelines encountered criticism regarding the recent recommendation on annual mammograms for women aged 40-49. The most recent draft gave this a C grade, neither supporting nor discouraging this recommendation. Instead, the recommendation suggested that the decision remain between patients and their providers.

In many ways, this recommendation may bring the conversation of not only breast cancer screening and mammograms, but also many other aspects of healthcare, back to a discussion between patients and doctors. Unfortunately, the major concern regarding the recommendation is that insurance companies are not required to cover grade C recommendations. This means almost 22 million women could be denied coverage for screening mammograms. Additionally, the task force’s recommendations are not consistent with the breast cancer screening guidelines published by national medical societies, including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The H.R. 3339 – the Protect Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act, proposed by Congresswomen Renee Ellmers and Debbie Wasserman Schultz will prevent the recommendations from being finalized for two years. This time will allow Congress and others to review the concerns surrounding the implementation of these guidelines. Click here to learn more about this bill.

Parin Patel

Parin is an OB/GYN resident at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She's been an AMWA member since medical school and has co-authored multiple Position Statements, worked on improving healthcare through AMWA's Preventive Medicine Task Force, and served on several committees. This year she hopes to increase resident involvement as the division's Recruitment Chair. She enjoys working with all of the inspirational AMWA members and promoting women's health.

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