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Breast cancer testing guidelines met with skepticism

Category: Breast

As soon as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released relaxed guidelines for breast cancer testing last week, medical experts and American women began voicing their doubts.

A Gallup/USA Today poll released on Tuesday revealed that about three-fourths of women in the U.S. between the ages of 35 and 75 are skeptical of the government agency's new screening recommendations.

Constituting a notable slackening of prior regulations, the task force suggested that women begin undergoing mammogram testing at age 50, rather than 40, and be tested every other year, not annually as was previously advised.

The national survey of 1,136 women furthermore demonstrated that about 76 percent of respondents believed the new guidelines were not motivated by scientific evidence, but by the wish among government healthcare officials to reduce costs, CNN reports.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attempted to dispel concerns last week, telling the Washington Post, "My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important life saving tool in the fight against breast cancer and they still are today."

She further advised women to "keep doing what you have been doing for years" and remain in consultation with a trusted doctor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer in 2005.

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