ACOG Statement on Revised US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations On Breast Cancer Screening

November 16, 2009

Washington, DC -- In response to today's US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) statement that recommends against routine mammography screening for women in their 40s and recommends screening only once every two years for women ages 50 to 74, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) maintains its current advice that women in their 40s continue mammography screening every one to two years and women age 50 or older continue annual screening. The USPSTF revised recommendations are published in the November 17, 2009, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. (Read more here.)

As the organization representing the nation's ob-gyns who provide health care exclusively for women, ACOG welcomes these new review data on breast cancer screening. However, the implications of the USPSTF's recommendations for both women and physicians are not insignificant and require that ACOG evaluate both the data and the USPSTF's interpretations in greater detail. All women, along with their physicians, should individually assess the benefits and as well as the risks of mammography screening.

The USPSTF also recommends against clinicians teaching women how to perform breast self-exams (BSE). At this time, ACOG's position is that ob-gyns should continue to counsel women that BSE has the potential to detect palpable breast cancer and can be performed.

ACOG strongly supports shared decision making between doctor and patient, and in the case of screening for breast cancer, it is essential.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 53,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its member, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women's health care.