DALLAS, Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) reassertion of national guidelines for breast cancer screenings, which call for every-other-year mammograms beginning at age 50, most consumers surveyed do not agree. 67% of consumers believe mammograms should begin before age 50. Another 52% of all respondents say every-other-year testing is not often enough, according to a January 2016 HealthMine survey of 501 consumers.
Further, 73% of women respondents believe mammograms should start before age 50. Another 60% of the women surveyed say every-other-year mammograms are not frequent enough.
Health screenings like mammograms are sparking a larger debate about health tests: are we "over-testing" people, or empowering them with knowledge to manage their health?
Facts About Breast Cancer Prevalence and Risk
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States, after lung cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
Breast cancer can strike women at any age:
- According to the National Cancer Institute, women age 30-40 have a 1 in 228 risk of developing breast cancer.
- Women age 40 to 50 have a 1 in 68 risk.
- Family history, alcohol consumption, race, weight and many other factors can increase risk.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to inherited gene mutations; and breast cancer that is positive for these gene mutations tends to develop more often in younger women.
While the USPSTF advocates that women "should choose for themselves" despite its recommended guidelines, mammograms are just one open-ended topic in a larger debate about whether health screenings are helping or hurting consumers.
Health Screenings: Over-Testing or Empowering?
Critics argue that testing everyone every year to measure their biometrics, for example, equates to "massively over-screening people," potentially leading to false positives, unneeded medications and inflated costs. The presumption is that we are a mostly healthy population, where chronic disease is the exception, not the rule. However, the facts about breast cancer and other chronic disease in our society speak otherwise:
- 27% of Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease*
- 47% of Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or smoking **
- 50% of Americans have either diabetes or pre-diabetes***
- 69% of American adults are either overweight or obese—increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other chronic conditions**
Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine said: "The cost of treating cancer is astronomical. Mammograms aren't cheap, but can be more cost effective. They can also be life-saving." He continued, "When it comes to health screenings—whether they be cancer, biometric, or any other type—our goal should be to inform Americans to know everything they can about their health so they can be motivated to maintain or improve it. Healthcare costs are minimized when consumers are empowered to own their health."
About the Survey
The HealthMine survey queried 501 consumers enrolled in a 2016 health plan and was fielded by Survey Sampling International (SSI) in January 2016. Data were collected via an opt-in panel. The margin of error is 4%. Survey Sampling International (SSI) has been the Worldwide Leader in Survey Sampling and Data Collection Solutions, across every mode, for 37 Years.
HealthMine is a leading healthcare technology company with the mission to empower everyone to own their health. HealthMine has created an unparalleled Personal Clinical Engagement technology platform that makes it easy for members to manage their health because they know: 1) where they stand, 2) what they need to do, and 3) what's in it for them. The platform works by automatically intaking each member's clinical and behavioral health data, and analyzing it through a rigorous, clinical rules engine. HealthMine identifies healthy, at-risk, and chronically sick individuals in a population, uncovering health risks that often go unnoticed. Applying deep understanding of a member's health, lifestyle and behavioral patterns, HealthMine creates a dynamic, personalized health action plan and tracks outcomes. Serving more than one million members, HealthMine has saved employers and payers more than $100 million in healthcare costs. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Dallas, Texas with offices in San Mateo, California, and Eatontown, New Jersey.
* American Heart Association
SOURCE HealthMine, Inc.