Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition opposes mammography recent guidelines

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FAIRVIEW TWP., Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition opposed the latest U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammography guidelines, pushing the recommended age to get tested for breast cancer from 40 to 50.

The Task Force recommended women get tested for breast cancer at age 50, with testing done every two years. But the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition said they still consider 40 the best age to begin annual mammograms.

Jennifer Pensinger, executive director of PBCC, said,"If I'm a woman and I might have breast cancer, I would rather know earlier than later than wait 10 years and be diagnosed at a much later stage."

The Task Force argues there will be less false positives if women wait to be tested. But Pensinger said if women follow the Task Force guidelines, many breast cancer diagnoses will be missed.

"An early diagnosis really is the key," she said. "The sooner breast cancer is caught, the better chance that you have of surviving it."

She said with new technology like the 3D mammogram, false positives are reduced by 27 percent. But another issue with the guidelines is starting to appear.

Pensinger said, "We've already had some insurance, the Insurance Federation and some groups out there say, 'Well you know with these new guidelines, we want to roll back mammography coverage,' and we just can't have that."

According to the PBCC, the decision to have a mammography should be an individual choice.

She said, "What we really want women to take away is that you know your body best, and you really need to be having discussions with your doctor when to start getting your mammogram."