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Doctors: Dont pass on mammograms
Medical experts here say women in 40s still need breast exams
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Click here for the American Cancer Society’s page on mammograms and other breast imaging procedures to detect breast cancer.

Local experts plan to continue to recommend mammography for women in their 40s despite new national recommendations.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released a study in November updating recommendations for mammography.

The new guidelines were written to reduce the risks associated with overscreening.

But Dr. Richard Cory of Gainesville Radiology Group said he thinks the guidelines would leave many women undiagnosed.

"There’s a pretty high percentage of women who get breast cancer in their 40s," Cory said. "The recommendations coming down from this organization are that one-fifth of all women being diagnosed should not undergo mammography or even self breast exams."

Cory said 9.8 percent of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women 45 and younger and about 18 percent of diagnoses are in women in their 40s.

"It’s difficult to follow that logic," Cory said. "I kind of wonder how those women are supposed to be diagnosed if they’re not having those studies performed."

For that reason, he continues to recommend mammography to younger women.

Cory said he follows the recommendations of the American College of Radiology that women should start receiving annual mammograms at age 40.

The task force grounds its argument on the fact that the results of mammograms often show benign abnormalities that lead to unnecessarily invasive biopsy procedures.

Another health risk associated with frequent mammograms is the exposure to radiation.

"The problem is that we didn’t know going forward that they were unnecessary," Cory said.

"You had to have the biopsies performed to know the abnormalities were benign."

Cory said another issue he has with the study is that cancers in younger women are often different.

"In general there’s a tendency that the cancers that form in younger women are more aggressive than those that form in older women," Cory said.

"They will be discovered at a later stage and of course they will be far more difficult to treat."

The American Cancer Society also plans to continue recommending mammograms to younger women.

"The American Cancer Society is not changing its mammography recommendations," Atlanta-area Communications and Marketing Director Elissa McCrary said.

"We think we see evidence that it’s saving lives."