BREAST CANCER: Breast Cancer Survivor and Doctor Question Federal Study

One local woman says she believes her mammogram helped save her life. She says a federal study discarding mammograms for women under 50 is disheartening.

Brenda Newcomb is a two year breast cancer survivor. The Peoria wife and mother says she believes the mammogram helped save her life.

“It would have been a long time before I would have found it myself because it was back against the chest wall. So the mammogram is what really caught it,” she said.

Newcomb says her doctor found out there was more cancer inside her right breast than initially they initially thought. The fifty–one year old started getting mammograms when she was 45…… an age that a government task force now disputes.

Members of the the U–S Preventive Services Task force say women between 50 and 74 should take mammograms every two years. That’s a major change from what experts have said and one local doctor says it’s disturbing.

“There have been two decades in decline of breast cancer mortality because of the onset of screening mammography which started in the 1990s. And its because of that the breast cancer mortality has decreased,” she said.

Dr. Guingrich says if the recommendations are adopted the breast cancer mortality rate could rise. Now Brenda Newcomb gets a mammogram every six months. She says many women in their forties need the screening.

“I don’t see how you can pick and choose which age groups should have to live with the effects of maybe not having a mammogram and maybe trading your life for it,” she said.

Many medical groups are still recommending mammograms for women under 50 but whether or not insurance companies will still pay for them remains to be seen.