Tags: ama | breast | psa | prostate

AMA Backs Prostate, Breast Tests

Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:50 AM

Expressing concern over new federal guidelines on early screening tests for breast and prostate cancer, the American Medical Association this week reiterated its recommendations that women undergo mammograms starting at age 40 and criticized a federal task force’s position against PSA testing for most men.
During its annual policy-making meeting, the nation’s largest organization of physicians faulted the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s new recommendations, noting early detection of cancer is critical to patient care and survival.
“Today, the AMA has adopted policy that starting at age 40, all women should be eligible for screening mammography. The policy also supports insurance coverage for this screening,” according to an AMA statement. “Early detection of breast cancer increases the odds of a patient's survival, and mammography screenings are an important tool in discovering this cancer."
The doctors group urged patients to talk with their doctors to determine if mammography screening or PSA testing are right for them.
Dr. Robert Hughes, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, also expressed concern that the federal task force did not seek input from doctors in crafting its new recommendations on mammography and prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing.
"We have concerns that adequate input from specialists in these areas is not given or enlisted," when the task force makes its recommendations, Hughes told Fox News.
Three years ago, the task force recommended women start having regular mammograms at age 50, bucking the common practice of screening women beginning at age 40. Then this spring, the task force recommended against PSA testing for men altogether.
The task force has said early screening can lead to unnecessary tests and anxiety caused by false-positive results. The panel also said evidence shows PSA tests don’t lead to longer survival for men.
The new AMA policy says the organizations should encourage task force "to implement procedures that allow for meaningful input on recommendation development from specialists and stakeholders in the topic area under study."
The American College of Radiology hailed the AMA policy, noting most major medical organizations, including the American Cancer Society, recommend all women have yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.
“Since mammography screening became widespread in the early 1990s, the U.S. breast cancer death rate, previously unchanged for 50 years, has dropped more than 30 percent,” said Dr. Paul Ellenbogen, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors. “One-in-six breast cancers occur in women 40-49, and 40 percent of all the life-years saved via mammography are for these women.
“The ACR urges women ages 40 and over to receive annual mammograms. Women need access to these lifesaving exams. Government and insurers should not get in the way of this care,” he said.

© HealthDay

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Doctors group criticizes new federal guidelines on early screening tests for breast and prostate cancer.
Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:50 AM
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