On Monday, The U.S. Preventive Task Force concluded women in their forties don't need mammograms until age 50. The new guidelines have sparked a controversy among the medical community and women in general.
"There are times when we can look at it and be very suspicious," said Dr. Stephen Rose with Rose Imaging at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
For the past two decades, Dr. Rose has studied mammograms, looking for the tell-tell signs of a cancer growth.
"About a quarter of the women we detect breast cancer in are women in their forties," said Rose.
He is just one of the many doctors, breast cancer survivors, and women who are speaking out against a government task force recommendation.
"The travesty of that is one, we have no alternative, there is not other way to screen women for breast cancer that we know of other than mammography," said Rose.
The panel cites false positives and unnecessary biopsies as the reason for this major reversal.
"What they are saying is that the side-effects of the screens, so to speak, are such that it isn't worth it to save those lives," said Rose.
The recommendations though are not for women with high risk factors for breast cancer like family history.
"I didn't have any family history of breast cancer," said breast cancer survivor Anjum Abbas. "So, I didn't think it was going to happen to me, but there it was with breast cancer."
Abbas was 39 when she was diagnosed. She caught it early during a self- breast examination -- the same type of exam the panel said does no good for women.
"It helped me a lot, it saved my life," said Abbas.
Now in remission, she supports early breast screening so that other women may have the same opportunity she had.
"If they do find it early, it's not aggressive, they can treat it and it saves you from going into chemotherapy," she said.
The national breast cancer coalition is one of the few organizations applauding the task forces new recommendations -- its own guidelines are similar.
But it seems it's the critics who are getting the last word.
"I absolutely believe this will cost lives," said Rose.
Meanwhile, the new guidelines has caused a rife with the American Cancer Society, which held firm on its position that women have annual breast cancer exams starting at age 40.
Cancer Screening Controversy
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