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New guideline for screening mammography for women 40 to 49 years of age

PHILADELPHIA, April 3, 2007 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released a new clinical practice guideline for screening mammography for women 40 to 49 years of age. The guideline, a background article, an editorial, and a patient summary appear in todays issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, published by ACP.

ACP developed the guideline to present the available evidence for screening mammography to physicians and women between the ages of 40 and 49 and to increase their understanding of the benefits and risks of screening mammography in women within this age group.

"We designed our screening mammography guideline based on scientific evidence," said Lynne Kirk, MD, FACP, President of ACP. "It will empower women between the ages of 40 and 49 to become part of the decision-making process and to encourage them to discuss with their physicians the benefits and risks of mammograms."

The guideline states that, according to the evidence studied, breast cancer risk is not evenly distributed in women between the ages of 40 and 49. Thus the benefits of screening mammography are not uniformly applicable in women in this age group. Therefore, women 40 to 49 years of age need to take into account their level of risk and the possible benefits and harms of screening mammography.

The main benefit of screening mammography is a decrease in breast cancer mortality. However, the risks associated with screening mammography include false-positive results, possible treatment for lesions that would not have become clinically significant, and radiation exposure.

"It is important to tailor the decision of screening mammography by discussing the benefits and risks with a woman, addressing her concerns, and making it a joint decision between her and her physician," said lead author Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, Senior Medical Associate in the Clinical Programs and Quality of Care Department of the Medical Education and Publishing
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Contact: Steve Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
215-351-2514
American College of Physicians
2-Apr-2007


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