Photo: New mammogram guidelines could put minorities at risk
Changes in the U.S.’s guidelines for mammography breast cancer screening has many worried that younger women and minorities may now be at risk, say two studies.
In response to the new guidelines, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force no longer advises women in their 40s to have routine screening mammograms.
One of the studies points to the fact that mammograms detected smaller tumors, with less spreading to the lymph nodes, in women in their 40s than a manual exam could.
For some women, the recent changes to the guidelines may put them at greater risk, as “some Asian women and other minorities, the peak incidence (of breast cancer) is a decade earlier,” said the chief of breast surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, Sheldon Feldman.
“That’s an important point. Whether or not you agree with the general recommendations for average groups, then certainly for minorities and certain subgroups, those recommendations need to be altered.”
A separate study stated that minority women make up a large amount of those diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age.
“The implementation of the… guidelines would disproportionately impact non-white women and potentially lead to more advanced presentation at diagnosis,” Sharon Lum, and a team at Loma Linda University, wrote.
Using the California Cancer Registry to find 46,691 patients between the ages of 40 and 74 with certain kinds of breast cancer, Lum and her Loma Linda team found that among the women in their 40s, Hispanics were the most likely to have cancer diagnoses, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Each year, breast cancer kills roughly 500,000 people around the world, with nearly 1.3 million people diagnosed.