Monday, November 14, 2011

Recent Cancer Screening Changes Leave Many Confused

(HealthDay News) -- The world of cancer screening has been upended in the past two weeks.

Not only did the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) just raise the age at which it recommends women get their first mammogram from 40 to 50, but the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) decided that adolescents should be spared the inconvenience and possible risks of cervical cancer screening, and wait until they reach the age of 21 for such testing. Both groups also recommended screening less frequently.

Add to that the long-simmering debate on the value of PSA testing for prostate cancer and the fact that both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Radiology have condemned the new USPSTF recommendations, it's no wonder patients and even experts feel like they are suffering from a bad case of medical whiplash.

Was the timing of the announcements anything more than coincidence? Are the changes a reflection of new science, attempts to influence the current raging health-care debate or just medical business as usual?

The timing, by most accounts, was purely accidental.

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