November 24th, 2009
02:37 PM ET
9 years ago

Women sharply disagree with mammogram recommendation

Three-quarters of American women between the ages of 35 and 75 disagree with the relaxed medical recommendations for mammograms announced last week.

Three-quarters of American women between the ages of 35 and 75 disagree with the relaxed medical recommendations for mammograms announced last week.

(CNN) - Three-quarters of American women between the ages of 35 and 75 disagree with the relaxed medical recommendations for mammograms announced by a government panel last week, according to a new Gallup/USA Today poll.

The survey released Tuesday finds 47 percent of women "strongly disagree" and another 29 percent "disagree" with the recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force last week that women in their 40s should no longer get routine breast cancer exams, and that the interval for women getting a mammogram in their 50s should be every two years, rather than every year.

Only 22 percent of those surveyed expressed support for the proposals.

In what could be bad news for the White House and congressional Democrats as they attempt to calm fears an overhaul of the nation's health care system would result in rationing, 76 percent of those polled believe the panel's recommendations were motivated by cost savings rather than an actual assessment of the true risks involved.

The White House has distanced itself from the panel's recommendation amid the uproar it sparked last week.

The report "shouldn't be dismissed," Sebelius said told CNN last week." But, she added, "There are other groups who have disagreed with this information." The task force is "making recommendations, not coverage decisions, not payment decisions."

The poll surveyed 1,136 women, aged 35-75, between November 20-22 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Vern

    I wonder what the gender makeup of this committee is, how many women were on it or is it the " good old boys " newwork in action again. Wonder if any of the people on this committee has had a wife, daughter, mother with brest cancer. If they did maybe they would have a different view of the situation. How about asking the women in their
    20's, 30's and 40's that have had brest cancer – how did they find it?
    Instead of being proactive against brest cancer they folks just said it's something that doesn't happen to younger women because no one will get it until they are in their 50's.

    November 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. aware

    Obama care will give us more of this!

    Anyone who would advocate the killing of inconvenient babies will not hesitate to refuse costly tests which will result in cancer deaths! 😦

    November 24, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. kathy

    Two weeks after my 38th birthday I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy 23 years ago November 12.. Since then both my aunt and cousin on my father's side have had breast cancer. My cousin battled off and on for 8 years and was in her 40's when she died. My 43 year old sister was just diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition. I fear for her 9 year old daughter and my grand-daughter. The family history started with me. Until then no one had ever had a breast cancer in our family. I have a friend who had a double mastectomy when she was 23 – again no family history. She is also a survivor. My son has a friend whose mother died from breast cancer when they were in high school – she wasn't 40.

    We have come so far in diagnosing and treating breast cancer and now women are being told when to and when not to have mammograms. I guess the idiots making the recommendtions feel we don't have to worry about it – unfortunately we are the ones who are going to be doing the dying – not them. obviously they haven't had to endure a breast cancer diagnosis in their family. If they think their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters are immune – they are sadly mistaken.

    I don't regret voting for Obama, but he should know that Michelle and his daughters are just as suseptable to this as any ones else.

    November 24, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Dennis

    This is just the first step in rationaling of medical care. The reality is that there aren't enough health care professionals to take care of everyone. Does the bill address that?

    November 24, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. ETM

    Health care reform is an imperative if we are to contain costs and expand services to poor and lower middle class Americans. For those of you worried that the government will ration care more than the insurance companies now do, here is a simple suggestion: do not vote for Republicans because it is they who will shortchange the country on health care, as the Bush-appointed panel tried to do here before being stopped by the Obama Administration.

    November 24, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Beth

    There is no Obama care and there probably won't be. So what is your next step Republicans? How are you going to solve this problem? The panels will be here with or without a government run option. Is it going to be more of the same due to your obstructionism? Watch out Republicans. The American people will not be happy with you!!!

    November 24, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. WoW

    I don't want to bring breast cancer to a political debate, but it has to be brought here. This is a Democratic agenda. One that Jon Corzine tried to pin on Chris Christie but wasn't the case. Democrats were in an uproar when they though Christie was against Mammogram coverage but that was not the case at all. Now that dems are being relaxed about it, it is OK?

    Youhave a Democratic panel telling you Mammograms can be checked at 50. That is disgustingly wrong. How could anyone let Democrats control a new health bill? There bill will enable crap like this to take place.

    November 24, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Nikki Ernacker

    Did you guys (gals) read the recomendations? It's over 40 IF you have no family history of cancer. Breat cancer is largely genetic. As I recall, they revised the recomendations because the decreased screenings only increased the chance of death for an average woman by 1/2000, or .05%.

    This is precisely why our healthcare system is off the rails, everyone is so terrified and wants constant testing, which doesn't come cheap. If this recomendation infuriates you, I reccomend you stop driving, as your chance of dying in a car accident are 20 times higher than the chances of dying due to reducing yearly mammograms.

    November 24, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Jean McLain

    I am disappointed with American women if indeed this poll is correct.
    What amazes me is their inability to understand that these statistics are dealing with populations not individuals, These are guidelines for health professionals and women still can discuss their individual situation with their doctors. Most women are not qualified to determine the behavior of various cancers and lack basic information about physiology. IJean McLain

    November 24, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. John from Massapeuqa NY

    Again, all you Lib/Statist Bush haters who say the commission was established under Bush are just plain ignorant.

    All US governments led by both parties establish commissions like this one all the time. The fact the commission was established under Bush is irrelevant. It is the recommendations that are at issue and they were clearly influenced by the current administration. If Bush were in office you would have a point but you don't.

    And to those who say "it was leaked to help defeat health care," ask yourselves why on earth would the Obama administration leak or publish a recommendation that hurt it's own cause? It wouldn't.

    Finally, those of you who refuse to see this is what Obama/Statist care will lead to are frankly blind and unfortunately ruining my country.

    November 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Rollo, Watts

    So let's go ahead an throw LOGIC out the window and just focus on Republican HYPOCRISY:

    * there is no such thing as gov't healthcare even with HCR the public option is just an option and won't be available for 5 years
    * Tighty Righties don't want "freeloaders" to get health care coverage but now they want to pay for unnecessary procedures?
    * Isn't carving abortions out of HCR the gov't deciding what procedures women can get?
    * Yeah right the rich, white, racist, male party is real supportive of women's health issues.

    November 24, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. moiraesfate

    Yes, and the pap recommendation too. These idiotic recommendations are from private businesses. People please use your brain. Obviously they are trying to make you convinced that getting proper health care is bad, and failing to stop the federal gvt, they are now spreading lies. Don't listen to it, and don't support it. We ALL know that these recommendations are completely idiotic.

    November 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Catherine

    Oh PLEASE – The Obama crowd wants to blame THIS on Bush too? GIVE ME a break!! Get ready ladies – OUR health options will decline under Obamacare and these types of recommendations. I lived with socialized medicine in France for a number of years. When my mother-in-law needed serious medical care – she quickly left Paris and headed to the US for her care. Down with this recommendation and down with Obamacare!!!!!

    November 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Carl

    Well of course they disagree!! Woman are very afraid of not catching breast or cervical cancer and like the comfort of having a test done every year even if it's not necessary to catch cancer. I can't think of a good analogy but with most other things I'm sure we could be more lax about, like changing the oil less often in our car for example wouldn't create a stir. However, it's not up to the patient to dictate what policies they have, it's up to their doctors and if doctors say they don't need it every year they should listen since after all they are not their own doctor.

    November 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    Both the House and Senate bills create a number of health care committees and panels to make recommendations just like this one. And the recommendations of a new committee in the House can actually be made into law that is even enforced on private insurance plans if the Secretary of Health and Human resources approves them. That would be Sebelius who says this report on mammograms chould not be dismissed. All you fools who support the House and Senate versions of health care reform, is this what you want? This is just a taste of what will happen if these liberal progressive versions of health care reform are passed. Rationing and the lose of the freedom of personal decision making regarding our own health care is what will result from these bills.

    November 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. rational person

    Five year survival rates for breast cancer for early detection is 98%. Five year survival rates for late detection of breast cancer is 26%. Women are justifiably angry. The government funded a study that takes away or will take way their choice to have yearly mammograms. It's easy to say that statistically it is acceptable to have these people die, but not so easy when it could be you.

    November 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. T'SAH from Virginia

    QUOTE: "In what could be bad news for the White House and congressional Democrats as they attempt to calm fears an overhaul of the nation's health care system would result in rationing,"

    WHO SAID??? Who wrote this article? All of a sudden all of this STUFF is coming out and the current Health Care Reform bill is being BLAMED for it!!!

    Could all of the HATERSstop and think why NONE of this came out the past eight years while BUSHwack and his sidekick inCHENey was in office???? MAYBE it's because it's an attempt by the insurance companies to "secretly" disrupt the BILL because they want to KEEP their high prices and fat bonuses while PEOPLE ARE DYING!! The insurance companies already DOI NOT cover pre-existing ailments.... Have we forgotten about that!!!

    November 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Jason

    Here's the beauty of our country
    Disagree? Rec's make you feel uncomfortable?
    Go more often.
    We are adults. Keep informed about your health and be proactive about it.

    November 24, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), first convened by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1984, and since 1998 sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

    I believe a guy by the name of Reagan was President then.

    November 24, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. susie

    Can someone answer this question? Will the Senators and Congressman have the same health care as the rest of the country?

    November 24, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. IndyVoter

    Those of you talking about "early rationing" are just plain IGNORANT or worse OPPORTUNISTIC. Independent bodies have been giving recommendations for this very kind of things for decades and under every adniministration. Why CNN is asking woman who likely are not medical experts or statisticians what they think about a recommendation from people who know what they are talking about is beyond me. If people could get a free mamogramm every month, they would...just because they think it sounds good. C'mon people, Just like with anything else, CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN....its a recommendation, NOTHING MORE.

    November 24, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. a health economist

    The disagreement with the recommendations is by no means surprising. But people need to realize that there are negative aspects with performing mammograms that earily. Many produce false positives which lead to unnecessary anxiety for the patient and additional use of already limitted medical resources. There is even the possiblity that the additional tests lead to actually developing cancer due to the radiation.

    Do these mammograms for this age group help detect cancers early? Absolutely. And in a perfect world we wouldn't have to worry about the added costs. But this world is far from perfect. And the panel's recommendation, and I stress recommendation, is that the overall benefit of all the cancers caught early does not out weigh the overall negatives of doing the tests on this age group.

    And I stress recommendation because that is all it is. All this will do is force the conversation between the patient and physician that the negatives of screening at this age could out weigh the benefits. But it will still be the patient's choice.

    November 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. alan

    Personally, I blame Bush. Oh, and Cheney.

    November 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. jeff jackson, alabama

    Excuse me........but did the first line of this
    article use the word "government panel" ????
    Maybe...just maybe...Sarah Palin isn't near
    as ignorant as the media would have you all
    believe. Government panel recommends less
    screening for women in at risk age ????????

    November 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. No More Incumbents

    His whole Presidency has been a trial balloon......

    November 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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