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Preventive mammography rates in women in their 40s have dropped nearly 6 percent nationwide since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine mammograms for women in this age group, a Mayo Clinic analysis shows. That represents a small but significant decrease since the controversial guidelines were released, the researchers say. Their findings are being presented at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, June 24–26 in Orlando, Fla.
“The 2009 USPSTF guidelines resulted in significant backlash among patients, physicians and other organizations, prompting many medical societies to release opposing guidelines,” says co-author Nilay Shah, Ph.D., a researcher at the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.
Using a large, national representative database of 100 health plans, researchers identified the number of screening mammograms performed between January 2006 and December 2010, and compared rates before and after the task force report. Nearly 8 million women ages 40 to 64 were included in the analysis.
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.