ACR Lauds AMA’s Breast Cancer Screening Policy

June 21, 2012

The American College of Radiology lauded the AMA’s policy update that recognizes the importance of screening mammography starting at age 40.

The American College of Radiology lauded the American Medical Association’s policy update this week that recognizes the importance of breast cancer screening mammography starting at age 40.

Paul Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, noted that since mammography screening became widespread, the breast cancer death rate in the U.S. had dropped more than 30 percent - even among women ages 40 to 49.

“The ACR urges women ages 40-and-over to receive annual mammograms,” he said in a statement. “Women need access to these lifesaving exams. Government and insurers should not get in the way of this care.”

The ACR noted its support of several items in the AMA’s position, including that the AMA:

• recognizes the mortality reduction benefit of screening mammography and supports its use as a tool to detect breast cancer.

• believes that beginning at the age of 40 years, all women should be eligible for screening mammography.

The AMA also supports insurance coverage for screening mammography, and encourages physicians to discuss the benefits and risks with their patients.

The ACR also praised the AMA’s resolution expressing concern about the recent recommendations by the United States Preventative Service Task Force that would limit screening to women over 50. The AMA also encouraged the USPSTF to “implement procedures that allow for meaningful input on recommendation development from specialists and stakeholders in the topic area under study.”

“The bottom line is that discontinuing regular mammograms may save a few dollars in the short term, but will result in thousands more breast cancer deaths each year,” Barbara Monsees, MD, chair of the ACR Breast Imaging Commission, said in a statement. “That human cost is too high.”