New mammogram guidelines worry cancer advocates

Cancer advocates are leery of new guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society regarding mammograms.

Cancer advocates are leery of new guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society regarding mammograms. (10/20/15)

EDISON - Some breast cancer advocates are voicing concerns over new American Cancer Society mammogram guidelines.

The organization says that most women can get mammograms later in life and get them less often.

“Women who are younger are more likely to get a false positive,” says American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Dr. Otis Brawley. “They are more likely to be told that there’s something wrong with this mammogram and we need further testing.”

Under the new guidelines, the American Cancer Society says that women should begin getting the examinations at age 45 and then go every year until age 54. Then, at age 55, women with no history of breast cancer should get screened once every two years.

However, not everyone is on board with the new guidelines. Officials at the breast cancer advocacy group Susan G. Komen fear the new guidelines could be confusing and give women another excuse to not get their screenings done.

Kelly Witkowski with Susan G. Komen of North Jersey says that many women are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45.

“We advocate for women to speak with their health care provider,” Witkowski says. “There are a number of risks that go into the decision of when to be screened and that's something that should be decided between the patient and her health care provider.”

Most advocates tell News 12 New Jersey that they are also against another new guideline that says clinical breast exams aren't necessary.

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