Survey finds women in their 40s want mammogram tests
Disagree with new recommendations that screening should begin at age 50
A U.S. health task force stunned much of the medical world and many women in November 2009 by recommending that most women didn’t need to get their first mammogram until age 50.
But a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds that women in their 40s want their mammograms, and two-thirds of them weren’t even aware of the task force’s recommendations.
About 57 percent of women surveyed believe mammograms should start at age 40, according to the poll of 1,083 U.S. women over 18 years of age. While just 12 percent thought that 50 was the right age to start getting the imaging tests.
“Breast cancer is something women are taught to look for at an early age through monthly self-exams, and the magic age of 40 had been when the first mammogram was supposed to happen,” said Regina A. Corso, senior vice president of public relations and youth research for the Harris Poll. “That obviously goes against recommendations that have recently come out, and which almost half of women [polled] believe are there because these experts are mainly interested in saving money by reducing health-care costs.”
Specifically, 45 percent of the women polled said the task force pushed back the recommended age to 50 to reduce healthcare costs and avoid administering unnecessary tests, while 30 percent believe the task force made the recommendation because excessive tests produced too many so-called false-positive results.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) bucked long-standing advice 17 months ago that yearly mammograms should start for women when they turn 40. The task force said mammograms for women in their 40s led to too many false-positives, unnecessary worry and biopsies, and relatively few lives saved.
Instead, the task force recommended routine mammograms every two years for women ages 50 to 74. Women in their 40s were advised to discuss their breast cancer risk factors with their doctors and make a personal decision about whether to get screened or not.
Despite widespread news coverage of the task force recommendations, the new poll found that 66 percent of women in their 40s hadn’t even heard about the recommendations. And 72 percent of women in their 40s disagreed with the new recommendations after being told about them.
New recommendations aside, many women in their 40s are still getting mammograms—77 percent of women in their 40s have already had at least one mammogram, while 64 percent reported getting one annually.
The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual mammograms for women starting at age 40.
Ninety percent of White women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will live at least five years, but only 76 percent of Black women with the same diagnosis will live five years, according to the American Cancer Society. Is breast cancer more difficult to detect among Black women because they have denser, thicker breast tissue?
Ten months ago, Vanessa Thiemann lay in bed unable to sleep.
The 42-year-old single mother of two had a sinus infection, and the pain was making her restless. She tried getting comfortable on her left side, then her right, but she ended up staring at the ceiling in complete darkness, her left hand coming to rest on her chest.
It was at that moment her fingers brushed a tiny knob under her skin.
“I felt a rock-hard lump next to my nipple,” Thiemann recalls. “I just knew at that moment I had cancer.”
Krystal Toliver, 22, and Bridgette Bryant, 24, never thought much about the strong impact Breast Cancer had on society until it affected them personally.
Toliver, lost her mother and grandmother within four years of one another after breast cancer diagnosis. Her mother, Dorcas Toliver, died in July 2007 and her grandmother, Glenda Callegari, died in February 2011.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The grand opening of PINK, the first ever pop up store in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza history, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Black Women for Wellness (BWW), in partnership with the California Family Health Council and L.A. Care Health Plan recently held Respect Conference: Integrity and Inclusion of African Americans in Health Care, a policy briefing and publication release at the California African American Museum.
The conference provided a space to address the historical and contemporary affects of health care systems and laws on African American women.