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July 21, 2015

NPAF Asks Congress to Protect Mammogram Access

2015-07-21 | July 20, 2015

(Washington, DC) Today, the National Patient Advocate Foundation joined with other advocacy organizations on a petition urging Congress to block draft recommendations that could limit women’s access to life-saving breast cancer screenings.

The draft recommendations proposed by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) give annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” grade, meaning most of these women do not need an annual exam and should talk to their doctor.  Additionally, the proposed recommendations state that women 50-74 need mammograms only every other year.

The Task Force also finds the evidence regarding 3D mammography to be insufficient, assigning an “I” grade.  It dismisses hundreds of peer-reviewed publications that clearly and consistently show 3D mammography significantly increases the detection of invasive cancer while reducing false positve recall rates — both of which are key concerns about traditional mammgrams raised by the Task Force.  Insurance companies could have less incentive to cover the cost of a 3D mammogram, despite the fact that Medicare already pays for these important tests.

The proposed recommendations can be read in more detail here.

Unless Congress acts, women age 40-49 could lose health insurance coverage without cost-sharing for mammograms and be forced to pay out of pocket.

Other coalition members include Men Against Breast Cancer Fund, Bright Pink, Black Woen’s Health Imperative, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, Prevent Cancer Foundation, FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, Tigerlily Foundation and the Oncology Nursing Society.