Canadian breast cancer screening guidelines would cost thousands of lives

November 21, 2011

The American College of Radiology today denounced new breast cancer screening guidelines by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health (CTFOPH), which recommend against annual screening of women ages 40-49 and would extend time between screens for older women.

An ACR news release said "the CTFOPH guidelines ignore results of recent landmark randomized control trials which show that regular screening reduces breast cancer deaths in these women by approximately a third" and that "While implementation of the CTFOPH guidelines may save money on screening costs, the result will be thousands of unnecessary breast cancer deaths."

The ACR stated that the CTFOPH guidelines largely mirror those released by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) in 2009 and that "The USPSTF approach misses 75 percent of cancers in women 40-49 and up to a third of cancers in women 50-74."

The College pointed to an analysis (Hendrick and Helvie) published in the , showed that, if USPSTF recommendations were followed, 6,500 additional women each year in the U.S. would die from breast cancer. The ACR said "A similar proportion of Canadian women will likely die unnecessarily each year from if the CTFOPH guidelines are followed."

Barbara Monsees, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission, added that "Panels without profound expertise in should not be issuing guidelines. These recommendations are derived from flawed analyses and they defy common sense. Women and providers who are looking for guidance are getting bad advice from both the U.S. and Canadian Task Forces."

Explore further: New studies show negative effects from revised mammography recommendation for women, ages 40-49

More information: The ACR statement can be read at: www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/NewsPublications/FeaturedCategories/CurrentACRNews/archive/Canadian-BC-Screening-Guidelines-Cost-Lives.aspx

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