The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued new guidelines on breast cancer screening today that do away with the “every woman should have an annual mammogram starting at age 40” recommendation women have long heard from their doctors.

The new recommendations are:
• Screening mammography should not be done routinely for all women age 40 to 49 years.
• Women and their doctors should base the decision to start mammography before age 50 on a woman’s individual breast cancer risk and her understanding of the benefits and harms.
• Women age 50 to 74 years should have mammography every 2 years.
• More evidence is needed for the USPSTF to recommend for or against screening mammography after age 74 years.

The new recommendations also note that:
• The USPSTF recommends against teaching patients breast self-examination.
• Available studies do not provide enough information to know whether breast examination by a trained medical professional adds benefit beyond mammography.
• There is not enough information to know whether newer types of mammography (digital mammography) or magnetic resonance imaging are any better than regular film mammography results.

The USPSTF is a group of health care experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care, and it’s recommendations are considered the “gold standard” for clinical preventive services. This means that these recommendations are likely to be widely adopted and have the potential to broaden all women’s understanding of the benefits and harms of mammography as well as help them understand what we truly know—and how much we still need to learn–about breast cancer prevention and early detection.

Many doctors now advocate that women begin mammograms at age 40. But the fact is the decision to change the age at which mammography screening begins in this country from age 50 to age 40 was always controversial and was never unanimously supported. That’s because mammography is not as good a tool in younger women.

The studies also are pretty clear that whether you have a mammogram every year or every two years after 50 the results are about the same. In fact, most European countries do mammography every two years, with similar results to those in the U.S.

Furthermore, the use of breast self-exam to “find cancers at a curable stage” has never been supported by randomized controlled data.

Recommendations on mammography screening must also take into account our new understanding of the biology of breast cancer. We used to think that all cancers were the same, that they all grew at the same pace, and that there was a window when all breast cancers could be caught before they spread. We now know that there are at least five different kinds of breast cancer based on their molecular biology. Some breast tumors are so slow growing and are so unlikely to spread that they will never do any harm. Others grow and spread very quickly. The idea that they all can be “caught early” is wishful thinking. In fact screening is best at finding the “good ones” that might even disappear if left alone. Remember the reduced the mortality from mammography is 30% not 100%! If early detection always worked, the number of aggressive cancers we see would have gone down as a result of screening. But as a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association made clear, that’s not what has happened.

The goal of breast cancer screening should be this: to find the cancers that have the potential to kill you, so that an intervention is necessary and can make a difference. We need to stop finding the cancers that will never do anything, and stop over-treating women who have them.

For this to occur, we need to do help women understand what mammography can and cannot do, and focus on finding the cause of breast cancer and preventing it altogether. I don’t want women going for mammograms they don’t need, or feeling I false sense of security because they have had one. I want them to have the opportunity to take part in the research that we need to go beyond a cure! That’s the reason we started the Love/Avon Army of Women. []. And that’s why I need you and everyone you know to sign up today!

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144 Responses to The New Guidelines for Mammography

  1. Mary Lou Pierce says:

    I agree that Dr.’s are too conservative in their treatment of unique breast cancer. I have had surgery for a tubular carcinoma less than 1cm no ductal involvement. The “protocol” involves radiation, although my cancer is lumped (pardon the pun) with other more agressive cancers. I am still debating to radiate or not or just tamoxifen. I start radiation on the 24th of Nov unless I come up with a rational reason it is really not a good idea. I understand the implications to the heart and ribs. Any thoughts?

  2. April Escobedo says:

    Mary Lou,
    I had no family history of any type of cancer. I was diagnoised with breast cancer at age 47 from a mammogram. My doctors said the mammogram saved my life. I went through surgery, radiation and am currently on tamoxifen. I would not change any of my or my doctors decisions.
    The history of radiation on breast cancer has been very effective to prevent reoccurance. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. Phillip Fought says:

    Just saw a portion of an interview which aired in Washington, DC. I must say I am appalled at your stance. My wife is a 7 year survivor of breast cancer and her cancer was detected early at age 42 during a routine ANNUAL mammogram. I shudder to consider how far her cancer may have progressed had she been denied screening for 2 years. The costs to life and overall costs associated with less frequent screenings far exceed the occasional false positives and “unnecessary” biopsies. If there is something better than mammograms, then fine, but saying that less screening is better is an irresponsible stance. It is not easy to communicate as your detailed message as this post indicates. It is hard enough to get women to get check ups without confusing the issue. From working with Susan G. Komen, American Cancer and other advocate groups, I know how hard it is to communicate a simple message to help women understand the need for screening. You should take more care in what you say and how that message is spread.

  4. Julie Harvey says:

    Have you lost your freaking mind!! I am 42 and diagnosed. I sit with 23 and 27 year olds with stage 3. HOW DARE YOU!! May God help you sleep at night for the death call that you have just trumpetted. I pray you NEVER live through what I and the may women with me have lived through to see out children grow up! SHAME ON YOU!

  5. J.D. VanHoose says:

    Wow, your support of the USPSTF’s new guidelines is incredibly misguided, especially for a breast surgeon who has undoubtably seen 1000s of breast cancers in women under age 50 with no family history. Congratulations on helping set back all of the advances in breast cancer detection, treatment and survival a good 20 years or more. Your support of rationing of this important screening in women under 50 reeks of what our health care system will become under the current administration.

  6. V. Schneider says:

    As a mammography tech I am deeply disturbed by these new recommendations. I have seen an increase in the number of women diagnosed with breast CA under 50. These women would probably be dead had they not had a mammogram.

  7. Pat says:

    First – Dr. Love should speak to the press and make clear her views on these new guidelines. Dr. Tim Johnson on ABC stated today that…”even Dr. Susan Love agrees with these new guidelines”… Maybe I’m reading this blog incorrectly, but I’m not getting that.
    Second- maybe because these guidelines are so new there is alot of misinterpretation out there right now – will these guidelines become the “gold standard” or will doctors take a deep breath and consider each on a case by case basis?
    I’m 48 and have had 5 mammograms since I was 41. All is well. I think if I had a history of breast cancer in my family I would feel alot more comfortable going every year. I personally know of 3 woman in their early 40’s with breast cancer and thanks to early detection they are being treated.
    My fear is that these guidelines will be used as cost cutting tools for insurance companies – especially with the government getting involved with health insurance…

  8. lisa galgano says:

    I find this government task force a frightening beginning to what our future holds if our government is allowed to have choices in our healthcare. I am a 43 year old female with three beautiful children and if it were not for the technology and early screening my cancer would not have been found at an early stage. THIS INFORMATION IS ABSOLUTELY MISLEADING AND HARMFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Laurie says:

    I am 35, no family history of any kind of cancer. Found a lump and was diagnosed w/ BC 10/5/09. I am furious at the recommendation o not teaching SBE. What a stupid thing to put out there. What harm could it do? Are people likeme expendable? My BC is triple negative, and is a fast growing and spreading cancer Luckily I found it before it spread, but I hate o think what would of happened if I hadn’t found it! Shame on this panel of “know it alls”

  10. george herchenroether says:

    I wonder how my late wife would view this recommendation.
    She was diagnosed with BC via a mammogram at age 40. no prior family history and she was a picture of health.
    She died at age 45, but had five reasonably good years after diagnosis. This new standard means she would have learned of her disease much later and would have died under far more tortuous circumstances. This may save time and money, but it will not save more lives.

  11. Pamela says:

    I had invasive ductal breast cancer in 2003, 1 cm, and had radiation and chemo. I refused Tamoxifen which is one of the worst drugs out there. Why they keep pushing woment to take that drug is beyond me. I refused and have been cancer free for over 6 years. I believe I had over kill and would never allow anyone to use radiation on me nor would I have more than a few lymph nodes removed. No one told me sentinal node biopsy could fail and since the dye didn’t go to any particular node, they removed 24 perfectly good nodes. Now I have lymphedema in my arm. I am a cancer TREATMENT survivor! For me the cancer wasn’t the enemy, the treatment was. I plan to go every other year for mammograms and I am comfortable with that.

  12. Geraldine Hoyt says:

    Hi Dr. Love, know you from Boston, MA. well over 26 years ago. You were my doctor in removing a breast implant that didn’t work for me. Dr. Cady had contacted you. I went for my first mammogram at age 44, because I was having shooting pain in my breast. The doctor argued with me that I shouldn’t bother to get one.
    I insisted, and thank God I did, for I had cancer in my left breast. If i had followed the “NEW GUIDELINES” I would not be here emailing this note.I am shocked that someone like you, who has always been a strong voice for all women, would back this new direction on detecting breast cancer. I also had a friend, who was only 30 when she found out she had cancer. Her doctor kept putting off her having a mammogram because she was too young. By the time she had a mammogram, and surgury for breast cancer, it was too late for her, it had spread thoughout her body. She gave it a good fight, but lost, and left behing a little girl of 10, to go on without a mother. I have a feeling that big insurance company’s are behind this backward step. I will be an active voice against these new guidelines as will all women who had breast cancer well before 50 years of age. sincerely, geraldine hoyt

  13. Jennifer says:

    I’ve donated my last penny to Dr. Susan Love. She was all over the news yesterday when these new guidelines came out. She kept saying that new technology is needed for younger women. IT IS HERE. It’s called DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY. Per the ACRIN Trial, digital mammography IS better for women under 50. In particular, it matters more than ever which type of digital mammo machine you go on and all my research takes me to GE. All of their machines have tubes that can work whether your breasts are dense or fatty.

    For Dr. Love to not make any distinction and agree with this is appalling. She is the only “expert” I heard all day agreeing. She has every right, as do I to 1) withdraw from her volunteer “Army” to be involved with any research she is involved in and 2) to never, ever donate to her again.

  14. Ann Freeman says:

    I am a fan of Dr. Love and given a copy of the Breast Book to everyone I know who gets a breast cancer diagnosis. I’m not sure what to think about the guidelines. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 directly as a result of having my first preventative mammogram. Initially the diagnosis was ductal carcinoma in situ but post lumpectomy it was found I had several small invasive tumors which were removed with a mastectomy. They had not yet spread into my lymph nodes. I firmly believe I remain cancer free and healthy today thanks to that early mammogram.

  15. June says:

    I was extremely disappointed yesterday to see Dr. Love support these guidelines on the evening news. I was 44 and a routine mammogram found BC. It was invasive lobular cancer and had already spread to 6 lymph nodes without ever forming a tumor anyone could feel. I would be DEAD if I had not had that mammogram. I, too, feel that the panel is calling my life expendable. False positives, while costing money and upsetting women, never KILLED anyone (to my knowledge). Shouldn’t we find a better alternative BEFORE discontinuing the accepted practice? This is a death sentence for many women.

  16. Kim says:

    I, too, am shocked that Dr. Love would support the new guidelines, especially the fact that the task force is against teaching patients to do breast self-examinations. I thought the Foundation is all about preventative measures! Personally, I believe a breast self-examination saved my life eleven years ago. I am concerned that the progress we have made over the last 20 years to help educate women on how to manage their own health will erode under these new guidelines. Dr. Love, we need you and the Army of Women to push back on these recommendations!

  17. Barb says:

    I am another breast cancer survivor who is absolutely apalled at Dr. Love’s endorsement of the latest guidelines for mammography. I am a twenty six year survivor, who was diagnosed at age 35 with invasive breast cancer. I also have a sister whose HER2 positive cancer was found during a routine mammogram. These new guidelines may save money and some false positives, but they won’t save lives! I guess we’ll have to advocate for ourselves with our physicians regarding mammography.

  18. Sherrena says:

    Add me to the list of those who are disappointed in the support. While not perfect, mammography does save lives. Everyone knows someone diagnosed in their 40s. I was diagnosed with IDC at age 48 through mammogram. My cancer, while small, did find its way into my axillary nodes. I have to believe catching it when we did has saved my life, although I guess we will wait and see. I firmly believe it was my only chance. There is no indication that removing mammography as a tool will result in finding a better one. It is more likely that insurance companies will use it as an excuse to deny the tool to those who want it, and will undoubtedly cost lives. Do NOT sit in your ivory tower and quote science, not understanding the real world ramifications of what you are supporting.

  19. Survivor 1 year says:

    VERY sad & angry to hear that Dr. Love endorses this government crap! As a nurse I already see so many people wait a “few” years past the recommended age to get their annual screens. Now we have just given them cart blanche…emotional trauma of a false positive?? Give me a break!Have any of these experts even had one? Digital mammo are a great thing for younger women and should be the norm, not telling them they don’t need one until 50. I’d be DEAD if I had embraced these new guidelines and my daughter age 10 would have to grow up without her mother. If you want the health care offered in these foreign countries please move!

  20. Mary Scocca says:

    My reaction to the “new” guidelines Will insurance companies now have an out for women who wish to continue to follow the old guidelines and not pay for yearly mammograms for those age 40 and older. All these years we have been brainwashed with the information that the amount of radiation we receive is so minimal it will not be a problem now they are starting to change that opinion. Discussing the recommendations with your doctor is a very stupid statement When was the last time you had more then 10 minutes with a doctor!!!. They will not give a definitive answer and the decision will be thrown back to the patient. I am totally disgusted with so called panels decided what medical care I should be entitled to receive.

  21. Jenny says:

    Dr. Love, you are wonderful. After my DCIS diagnosis, I read parts of your book and gained a much better understanding of my condition than any doctor was willing to give me (strangely, the doctor who recommended the book told me if I didn’t have surgery immediately, my DCIS would certainly become invasive). As someone who was operated on for low-grade DCIS, I applaud these new guidelines. I think, however, that people like you need more media exposure so that you can help the average person understand what it means to detect a cancer that may never become harmful. Please educate the world about DCIS. I would be the happiest woman on earth if I learned that I was the last woman unnecessarily treated for it.

  22. Angela Bailey says:

    I live in Canada where the Cancer Society recommends waiting until 50 for mammograms. This is indeed the same recommendation as in several countries in Europe. It seems like the US is the last hold-out here. May I just say that discussing individual patient cases without any medical history or details is of little value in this debate. The science is what we should be concerned about. Ignoring science in favour of annecdotal evidence is irrational and creates unnecessary hysteria. I very much doubt there is a world-wide conspiracy to doctor scientific evidence in order to trick women and increase the chance of them dying from breast cancer. We must keep the debate logical and scientific if we are to truly serve women.

  23. Ipyana says:

    I have to admit that I am stunned by your support of the recent recommendations to postpone mammograms for women until 50, which goes on to say that breast self examine shouldn’t be taught or encouraged anymore. As someone who recently had a child and is dealing with a very different breast than I once had,I believe now more than ever that I need to be reassured of the appropriate way to check my breasts. And as a black woman, who as a group tend to have more aggressive and therefore more deadly forms of breast cancer, I cannot fathom why you advocate later and more infrequent measures for detection. I understand the concern about false positives and unnecessary expenses, but what about the woman who is spared a mastectomy because her cancer was caught early enough to have a lumpectomy? What about the emotional cost and anguish of that woman and her family? I have yet to see similar suggestions for prostate cancer screenings, which expose men to a much more invasive diagnostic process and are just as emotionally unsettling for them and their families. How can you support the further erosion of women’s access and quality of health care?!

    Our health care choices don’t have to be an either/or. Researching appropriate screening measures does not have to mean that research dollars should be taken away from your concern – which is finding a cure for breast cancer. Why can’t they BOTH be studied, without sacrificing women and our health care options along the way.

    I’m very disappointed by your support for these recommendations and I’m waiting for health insurance companies to cling on to this as another way to reduce their health care overhead at the expense of women.

  24. Penney Howart says:

    Thank you Dr. Love. For years, I have agreed with this. I was dx 6 years ago (at age 52) with invasive ductal. I’d never had a mammogram and found the lump myself.

    I DO believe in self-exams, but not clinical exams. Every woman should learn how to do this and do it well. I told all 3 doctors the quadrant my lump was located in and still, none of them could find it! And it was EASY to find. That’s why a woman should NOT rely on a doctor (who is totally unfamiliar with her breasts) to do this exam. Women have been getting over-radiated for years and I do believe it causes SOME of these cancers.

  25. Shana says:

    On Aug. 31, 2009, at age 58, I went for my yearly mammogram. I never worried about having breast cancer, no cancer in my family, in perfect health and last year’s mammogram was fine. On Sept. 18, I was diagnosed with Lobular Invasive Cancer, estrogen positive, which is a slow growing cancer. On Sept. 30, I had a bilateral mastectomy and the removal of several lymph nodes. Even though the largest cancer lesion in my breast was less than 2 cm, the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes. I am having chemotherapy and will have radiation after my chemo is finished.
    I feel fortunate that my team of doctors worked very quickly in removing the cancer. I hate to think what condition I would be in if I waited to have my mammogram next year!
    Dr. Love wants to “focus on finding the cause of breast cancer and preventing it altogether”. That’s good but what do we do in the meantime? If the regular mammogram is not a good diagnostic tool, why not use ultrasound, digital mammograms or MRIs?
    Seems to me the new guidelines also save money for the government’s health care systems and health insurance companies!!! It’s really shameful!!!!

  26. Maria says:

    Instead of abandoning mammograms as a diagnostic tool, we should be increasing access to other modalities, such as MRI and ultrasound. These combined with state of the art, digital mammography, BSE and clinician exams can be used together to diagnose BC while it is early stage haveand easier to treat.

    Yes, there are cancers that are missed by mammograms. Let’s concentrate on improving diagnostic tools. Dr Love and others have said some cancers may be indolent and not require much if any treatment. By all means,look for ways to determine which cancers can be left alone through clinical trials etc. But until medical science has those answers, I’ll take my mammogram.

  27. Debbie Gaughan says:

    I am outraged at this. Two friends and myself were diagnosed at age 47,46 and 45.
    We are ladies who do our best to follow directions on health care. Given these new guidelines, I’m not sure we’d be around to follow any directions. Dr. Love, surely you can’t agree with this??? As said before, IT’S A SHAMEFUL PROCLAMATION!

  28. Susanna says:

    As a breast cancer survivor, I am appalled by the suggestion that unless a women is 50 years old, that you don’t get a mammogram or do self-exams. I was diagnosed at age 43. I have no family history of breast cancer in my family. I exercise regularly. I do not smoke. I do not drink. If it wasn’t for the self-exam, I would not have known that a new lump was in my breast.

    I don’t care how many doctors you get to support this study, it is incredibly irresponsible to send the message to young women that they are not at risk. They ARE at risk.

    Unfortunately, this study will influence health insurance companies, lazy doctors and already scared women.

    Shame on all of the researchers.

  29. Jessica Bright says:

    Dr. Love. With all due respect, I am so disappointed in the fact that you support these guidelines. I watched you on Good Morning America and was shocked at your statements. I am a breast cancer survivor and I have read your books. Unfortunately you have lost all creditability with me if you support these findings. This study was funded by the government and is way off base. If you think that the insurance companies are not going to jump all over this you are mistaken. They will make it even harder for women to get mammograms paid for by their insurance. And as far as the radiation. Really???? I would rather have radiation from mammograms than from the radiation that I had for my treatment. I still have scars from that and it has been 6 years. One more think. Women with dense breast can be helped by mammograms.

  30. Pam says:

    I would think that it would be more important for young women to get yearly mammograms since they are usually the age group that have the aggressive types of breast cancer. At 56 and a 6+ year survivor I am OK with every other year, but I was told my daughter should start 10 years earlier than I was when I was diagnosed, which would be 39. Has that changed too? I don’t put much value in statistics, I look for common sense and there doesn’t seem to be much of that with the new guidelines.

  31. Liz Mark says:

    I was diagnosed at the age of 38 with no family history of breast cancer. There are many girls in my family and I am the youngest of 6 girls. I had absolutely no risk factors and did everything right not to get breast cancer and I still got it! I had an 8 month old baby that I stopped nursing and felt a thickening that my doctors dismissed. After my persistence, my doctor finally agreed to a mammogram 3 months later.
    The radiologist reading my mammogram told me, to be thank full for digital mammography or else my micro calcifications would not be seen by traditional films due to my dense breast tissue. My cancer was caught very early but it also was very fast growing and aggressive since it was hormonally negative and her2+++. This type of aggressive cancer is much more common in younger pre-menopausal women then it is in older post-menopausal women. Early detection and a digital mammogram saved my life!

  32. 40-something Survivor says:

    I am shocked and angry with Dr. Love’s support of the new task force guidelines. My breast cancer was found by routine mammogram long before it would have been detected by BSE. I was in my 40s with good health and no family history of any cancer. These new guidelines tell us that fewer mammograms will reduce the harm of false positives, anxiety, and unnecessary biopsies. Are women so fragile that they can’t deal with a few procedures in order to possibility save their life? Women who are afraid to know the truth aren’t getting tested anyway. “With its new recommendations, the [task force] is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them,” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. The above narrative states “Remember the reduced mortality from mammography is 30% not 100%!” That sounds like pretty good results for any screening test – especially if you are one of the 30%! Other than routine screening and BSE, how do we achieve the goal stated above “to find the cancers that have the potential to kill you”? Mammograms aren’t perfect but they are one of the best tools we have available right now. Early detection makes a difference, not only for mortality, but also for the level of treatment required. Early detection allowed me to benefit from new and improved treatments with less impact on my life and health. The new guidelines only benefit the insurance companies who will immediately and gladly reduce coverage. Allowing more women to SUFFER with advanced cancers and DIE when it is too late. This is outrageous and shameful!

  33. Just turned 40 says:

    I’ll start by saying I do not have breast cancer, but just turned 40 and just had my first mammogram last week. And now I read all this and… feel truly sad for all the woman out there who will now believe they are safe.

    I agree with all the other disagreements. I would like to add two things:

    1) Please stop comparing what we do in the U.S. with all the other countries in the world, as if what we do here is automatically wrong. Is it possible, just possible, that we have it right and they don’t?

    2) Dr. Love, please try to explain to all of us what good it does to tell woman to care about their health even LESS? Do you understand that, no matter the stats and ‘science’ behind this, all these recommendations will do is give a whole lot of woman the excuse they need to pretend like it “won’t happen to me” and “i’m not old enough for it to matter”. How many pre-50 year old cancer survivors must post to your comment site for your mind to be changed? Or for you to see what this is REALLY saying to women?

  34. Shelby says:

    Talk about a step back for young women with breast cancer. Is my life not worth as much as a women over 50? I was dx in 08, stage 3 triple negative at the age of 37. Young women are dyeing, if you do not think so you are foolish. Also someone stands to make a lot of $$$$$$ with a new type of screening for breast cancer. Some one owns the patent to Ductal Lavage. Dr. Love should be ashamed of herself!

  35. Merwyn says:

    My wife was 25 when she felt a lump during a self-examination. Her doctor told her she was too young and not to worry about it. So my wife, trusting her doctor, let her tumor grow for over a year until a different doctor insisted on testing it.

    She’s now 30 and Stage IV. Thanks to people like you, Susan, more young women are going to find themselves in this situation.

    And for those of you who say anecdotal family stories aren’t relevant – go jump in a lake. My wife is not irrelevant and neither are any of the other younger breast cancer survivors whether you want to believe they exist or not.

    I wonder how much the Insurance Industry is paying Dr. Love for her endorsement.

  36. joyce says:

    I believe your support of the position of the US Preventive Services Task Force on mammograms for women under age 40 is reprehensible.

    Three friends, all under age 40, were recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, they did self breast exams and had mammograms and will hopefully win their battles against breast cancer.

    This is a huge step backward in the treatment of breast cancer. I don’t want any task force making this decision for women. I believe the task force recommendation, and your support of the recommendation, will be disastrous for the fight against breast cancer.

  37. Rebecca says:

    Dr. Love…
    Please enlighten your followers as to your conflict of interest in this debate.

    Your own “procedure” is what you are espousing, not a lack of testing. You have your own interests at heart, not those of the breast cancer community.

  38. Ellen says:

    Dr. Love, you have now lost my support. I was diagnosed at 40, after having my very FIRST mammogram. I shutter to think if I had to have waited 10 more years.

    Open your eyes people! We should not be putting back mammograms until 50, we should be supporting BSGI and other digital mammography for people under 50 to detect and treat cancer in young, dense breasts!

  39. ARae says:

    Where is the responsibility for providing accurate medical information to the millions who watched the GMA show this morning????? Dr. Susan Love, in describing the value of early detection in slow growing vs. fast growing cancers, stated that, “if it is slow growing then it doesn’t matter when you diagnose it.” If it does not matter, then why diagnose it at all? If it does not matter, then why bother to treat slow growing cancer? This is patently absurd. In fact, it is medical malpractice to provide false and misleading medical information to millions. Dr. Love, who is often identified as an expert in this specialty and whose word has carried more weight in the past, was so eager to support her position and “win” the argument that she forgot the first rule of medicine: first do no harm. In times of great confusion regarding changes in diagnostic standards, her misinformation is particularly damaging. My hope is that those supporting delayed diagnostic screening will not resort to falsehoods to justify financial gain, and that GMA will issue a clarification to educate any who heard, and believed, this medical misrepresentation.

  40. PaminOhio says:

    I am shocked and saddened by Dr. Love’s endorsement of the new BC guidelines. Why are you selling us out? I, nor several of my friends would be here if we had waited until age 50 for a mammogram. I’m a 10 year survivor BECAUSE of a mammo. And be sure, I want my grown daughter to recieve at least the same care I recieved…and regular mammos starting at 35 for her, 10 years before mine.
    How dare you! I guess I would have been one of your ‘low statistics’ and not worth it.

  41. Patti says:

    Dr. Love has lost all my respect. I ask everyone to boycott her, Avon and Army of Women. I would be dead if my cancer had not been caught by a mamogram at age 36. Even after the mamogram neither my doctor or surgeon could feel the lump. Thanks a lot Dr. Love, I suppose having me buried would suit you just fine, but it’s not ok with me and I don’t want my daughters to have to worry about it. Yes, we need a cure, but early detection saves lives!!!!!

  42. When I saw the news this evening and saw that Susan Love is now recommending mammograms are not necessary before age 50 I almost threw up. My daughter died at age 39 (found her lump at age 36). She followed advice that she didn’t need a mammogram before age 40. This was a girl who was very conscientious about her health. No history of BC in our family. There are now two children without a mother. You can take my name off Army of Women. I just lost all respect for Dr. Love’s opinion. I pray that she never experiences losing someone close to her because they were under the age she recommends for mammograms and the disease was found too late. I mean it. I want my name taken off Army of Women. Judith B. Letsinger-Hopper (

  43. Janet says:

    This is outrageous! How can Dr. Love say early detection and self exams are not important. If you feel a lump of course you have to go get it checked! This is just crazy. I am a 4 year survivor diagnosed at 46… thanks to a mammo. Let’s not let millions of young women die!

  44. Hi –

    I’m a journalist at the public radio show Marketplace. We want to hear from people who either have had mammograms, or who have been thinking about having one, as well as people whose businesses or workplaces my be affected in some way by the new guidelines. We have a form running down some questions online, where you can share your insights. Please chime in if you’d like to inform our coverage on the new guidelines. Here’s the link:

    Thanks for reading,
    Joellen Easton

  45. just turned 40 says:

    Dr. Love,

    Are you listening yet?

    How many more woman do you need to hear from to GET it?

  46. Beth says:

    I am absolutely appalled by this recommendation. We have come so far with women’s health, and now to have this? It’s an absolute fight to convince young women to have regular breast exams, and now this will set that back even more.
    I have two friends in their 30s who were diagnosed this year and both found the lumps through a self exam and sought treatment. To suggest that self exams have no value makes me want to scream! How dare you!!!
    And isn’t cancer in young women rather aggressive? So why would the panel suggest that it isn’t necessary for women under 50 to receive exams? I am really searching for some clarity here.
    Shame on you, Dr. Love, for endorsing these guidelines!!!!

  47. Jan Melcher says:

    Wow, Dr. Love I can not say how shocked I was to hear your comments on ABC’s Good Morning America. I was diagnosed by mammogram at age 41. At the time, I was the mother of 3, ages, 2, 7, and 13. I am 57 and have been blessed to see them grown, with the youngest college. I kept your, The Breast Book with me and read it like the bible as I went through my treatment. You indicated that mammaograms created a false sense of protection. That is a complicated statement and one I would never repeat to my daughters. Wow. -Jan

  48. Gwen says:

    Folks, carefully read the statistical data printed in this article. I don’t think the government task force, Dr. Love, nor anyone else standing behind the new guidelines are trying to kill women – again — look at the data that has been reported for women overall. And remember, these are only recommendations to women – no one is denying the right to have a mammogram before age 50. This is a complex issue. Mammograms have their place. all the task force is reporting the data and statistics and reiterating that for the majority of women, they will NOT be affected by breast cancer in their 40’s (there are always exceptions). One reader on this board even commented on women in their 20’s having breast cancer — so are we to then move routine mammograms back, starting women on them in their 20’s? That’s the point. There are women in their 20,s 30’s, and 40’s who get breast cancer — however, statistically, it is rarer than when one reached age 50. The women in their 20’s and 30’s got mammograms and found their cancers despite the recommendation that they need no mammograms till their 40’s. So, if you still want mammograms in your 40’s get one. But, again, simply stating the research and statistics, it is rare for a women of this age to get breast cancer (yes, it happens, but the odds are thankfully against it). Kudos to all of you who have fought and won in the battle against this hideous disease.

  49. Nancy says:

    There’s a saying that new truths go through 3 stages: dismay, redicule and finally acceptance (it’s something like that–). I think the same works for these new mammagram recommendations/guidelines. It is a big shift in thinking and most people aren’t comfortable with that. I think taking a deep breath, sitting back and looking at the situation objectively might help.

  50. Rhonda says:

    I am a 47 yr old diagnosed with triple negative BC. I don’t have any family history and my routine mammogram 1 yr ago was clean. It is appalling to think that I might have had my first mammogram at age 50 when my surgeon said she wished she would have seen me sooner when I had a 2cm tumor and clean lymph nodes. These new recommendations are going to lead to higher death rates in Dr love’s “populations of interest”.

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