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Mixed Signals on Mammography


Last month the US government released new guidelines for breast cancer screening mammography, a revision which Orac writes has “shaken my specialty to the core.” For most women, the guidelines now recommend beginning biennial screenings at age fifty, instead of annual screenings at age forty. Around the same time, a study came out which “suggested that low dose radiation from mammography may put young women with breast cancer-predisposing BRCA mutations at a higher risk for breast cancer.” Get some perspective on Respectful Insolence before breaking out the snake oil. Then visit Andrew Gelman on Applied Statistics, who reports that the Senate approved a health-care provision requiring insurance companies to offer free mammograms to women. Bemoaning the mixed signals, Gelman writes “none of this makes sense to me.” And on On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, Dr. Isis wonders if the new guidelines are racially insensitive, considering statistics that show black women are “at a higher risk for developing cancer before 40” and face a lower 5-year survival rate.

Links below the fold.