The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's (USPSTF) controversial mammography recommendations that were issued last month have already affected some Florida facilities.
After concerned women asked to cancel their appointments, receptionists successfully convinced some of the women to keep their appointments—though some still cancelled their screenings, says Andrea Harley, RT(R)(M), mammography consultant with ABCs of Digital Mammography, LLC, in Fort Myers, FL.
USPSTF's November 16 announcement, which two officials have since said was partly misread, suggested these changes to the recommendations:
So what can your organization do to better educate women about the recommendations?
Bonnie Rush, RT(R)(M)(QM), president of Breast Imaging Specialists in San Diego, says there are a number of steps you can take to counteract potential negative effects from the mammography recommendations:
Spread the message that mammography works. Mammography may not be a perfect tool, but it does make a difference. According to the American College of Radiology (ACR), there are several points that should be considered:
Focus on what Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, said in her statement. “My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important life-saving tool in the fight against breast cancer, and they still are today. Keep doing what you have been doing for years - talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions, and make the decision that is right for you.” Gather links to articles by HHS which has not changed its position statement along with information provided on this topic by the ACR and American Cancer Society (ACS) positions and the Association of Breast Surgeons.