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US Panel Rolled Out New Breast Cancer Testing Guidelines Amid Conflicting Expert Opinions

Update Date: Jan 14, 2016 02:49 PM EST

Medical experts can't seem to agree on when patients get a mammogram test.

Amid a sea of conflicting opinions on the matter from various influential medical groups, the US Preventive Services Task Force received the final nod from top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to roll out the newly updated breast cancer testing guidelines which will serve as the mammogram basis for government doctors.

According to The Express Tribune, the new guidelines recommend mammograms every two years to 50 to 74 year-old average-risk patients. In addition, average-risk women in their 40's are encouraged to take a mammogram at their own discretion.

Unfortunately, the federal recommendations do not sit well with experts from the American Cancer Society who suggest annual breast exams at 45 and biennial tests at 55 and beyond as mentioned by New York Daily News.

 Joining the fray of controversial debate are the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and National Comprehensive Care Network (NCCN), both recommending annual breast cancer testing to women starting at age 40 as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Recently, ACOG is planning to convene the nation's leading medical organizations in conference sometime in late January to reach a medical consensus to prevent, or at least reduce, public confusion over when and how frequently women should start having mammograms.

Despite the dissenting views from other medical experts, the federal-commissioned panel stood on its decision to recommend mammogram at later age which affirmed their 2009 recommendations.

"The harms resulting from screening for breast cancer include psychological harms, unnecessary imaging tests and biopsies in women without cancer, and inconvenience due to false-positive screening results...Although false-positive test results are problems for all age groups, they are more common for women aged 40 to 49 years...," explained the panel in an official statement as quoted by Fortune.

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