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Federal guidelines urging women between the ages of 40 and 49 to not seek breast cancer testing may be having a damaging impact on the health of these women, according to a pair of new studies.
In 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued new recommendations for breast cancer testing indicating that women between the ages of 40 and 49 do not need to be screened. Following this announcement, researchers from the University of Colorado saw a dramatic reduction in testing among this age group.
A second review from researchers at University Hospitals at Case Medical Center found that out of a set of 524 breast cancer tests performed among this group, 108 tumors were found. Given the fact that breast cancer is much easier to treat when it is discovered early, the researchers said that the federal recommendations could be harming women's health.
"These guidelines greatly concerned us, especially for our patients and primary physicians," said Dr. Donna Plecha, who led the study. "We know that when patients are screened earlier, they have a better prognosis for detection and treatment."
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