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USPSTF Revisits Controversial Mammography Screening Recommendations

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On Nov. 14, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft research plan for Public Comment on "Screening for Breast Cancer," which intends to re-evaluate the effectiveness of routine mammography screening in women age 40 and older.

The plan reopens USPSTF’s controversial 2009 recommendation against breast cancer screening in women age 40 to 49 and for biennial screenings in women age 50 to 74.

The draft research plan proposes to evaluate: In the zero cost sharing provision for preventive services, the ACA defines the recommendations of USPSTF regarding breast cancer screening as “the most current other than those issued in or around November 2009.” Thus, coverage for screening with no cost sharing is guided by USPSTF’s 2002 recommendation rather than its 2009 recommendation. By revisiting this topic, USPSTF is triggering a change to the recommendation that ACA references, which depending on how the updated recommendation differs from the 2002 recommendation, may change the cost sharing requirements for breast cancer screening.

    The effectiveness of routine mammography screening in improving intermediate and final health outcomes based on age group (including women age 40 to 49), screening interval, and risk factors (e.g., family history, breast tissue density).
    The effectiveness of different screening modalities.
    The harms of routine mammography based on age group, screening interval and risk factors.
    The harms of different screening modalities.

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