National Medical Association Response to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations

Nov 19, 2009, 17:50 ET from National Medical Association

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Willarda V. Edwards, M.D., MBA, President, National Medical Association:

"This week the nation received the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

(USPSTF) recommendations on breast cancer screenings. The National Medical Association (NMA) believes African American women, in consultation with their physician, should continue the practice of routine mammography screening at age 40 or earlier depending upon the risk factors.

The NMA is concerned about the USPSTF recommendations that women have routine mammography screenings beginning at age 50 instead of 40. The new recommendations could have serious implications for African American women since studies have shown that African American women develop breast cancer at an earlier age, are often diagnosed at a later stage of the disease, and develop more aggressive types of breast cancer. The USPSTF recommendations could result in even higher death rates for this disease and further exacerbate the challenges for the uninsured and the under insured.

The NMA strongly recommends clinical breast exams, self-breast examinations, mammography and all other emerging technologies as important tools in prevention. The health care community has spent the last two decades promoting screenings and early detection. We do not want all of the progress that has been made in promoting screenings to be lost. The current screening guidelines while not perfect, they do save lives. "

Founded in 1895, the National Medical Association is the nation's oldest and largest medical association representing the interests of more than 30,000 African-American physicians and their patients. The NMA repeatedly advocates for policies that would assure equitable and quality health care for all people.

SOURCE National Medical Association