Seeing Fewer Mammograms

Mammogram rates drop following the 2009 USPSTF recommendations.seeing fewer mammograms

The breast imaging community can now reflect on the effects of the United States Preventive Services Task Force's (USPSTF) controversial 2009 guidelines, which stated routine mammography for breast cancer was unnecessary in women younger than 50.

According to a new study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., researchers found a 6 percent decrease in mammograms following the release of the guidelines.

A June 26, 2012, Mayo Clinic press release ( stated that when "comparing mammography rates before and after publication of the new guidelines, researchers found that the recommendations were associated with a 5.72 percent decrease in the mammography rate for women ages 40-49. Over a year, nearly 54,000 fewer mammograms were performed in this age group."

Study co-author Nilay Shah, PhD, also noted, "For the first year after the guidelines changed, there was a small but significant decrease in the rate of mammography for women ages 40-49. This is consistent with the context of the guidelines change. A modest effect is also in line with the public resistance to the guidelines change and the subsequent release of conflicting guidelines."

This study was released just days before the AMA's House of Delegates officially voiced opposition to the USPSTF guidelines and supported screening mammography for women starting at age 40, according to ( In addition, the AMA "adopted another policy encouraging the USPSTF to implement procedures that 'allow for meaningful input' for specialists," the article noted.

For more on the College's response to the AMA's statements, read the ACR press release, "ACR Pleased that AMA Breast Cancer Screening Position Recognizes Importance of Screening Beginning at Age 40," at

"The task force's recommendations were really misdirected," says Debra L. Monticciolo, MD, FACR, president of the Society of Breast Imaging. "Mammography is the only proven method to save lives. We know it does. The public was really done a disservice with messages that aren't founded in science." To find out just how mammography saves lives, visit


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