JAMA focuses on fallout over Breast Cancer Screen Recommendations

Several commentaries in this week's JAMA (january 13, 2010) focus on the controversial 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations on breast cancer screening. In one, a former member of the task force reminds readers that the organization does not represent the government. He faults the recommendation's "poor wording" as one cause of the controversy and observes that it was "unwise" for the task force not to plan for the inevitable political fallout. In another brief essay, two experts in health outcomes research examine the real harms of overdiagnosis and decry the politicization of healthcare. "Promoting screening irrespective of the evidence may garner votes," they write, "but will not create healthier voters." There are two other commentaries. One argues for better prescreening assessment and discussion of possible screening harms. The other commentary, by a breast-imaging radiologist, argues for annual screening after age 40 among those "willing to accept the downsides of false positives" -- a willingness, she writes, shared by "the overwhelming majority of women."

The 2009 Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force

The Benefits and Harms of Mammography Screening: Understanding the Trade-offs

Mammography Screening for Breast Cancer: A View From 2 Worlds

Benefits of Screening Mammography