Breast Cancer Survivors Protest New Guidelines

5:52 PM, Nov 23, 2009   |    comments
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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA) -- They stood holding signs in the cold and drizzle to express their outrage. That anger stems directly from personal experience. 

"Mammograms helped me find my cancer. Without it, I could be dead. I'm very angry about the new guidelines," said Helen Pollin.

The new guidelines were released last week by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. It recommends against routine mammography screening for women ages 40 to 49.

Sarah Frought says, "My cancer was diagnosed by a routine mammogram at the age of 42. I am in the age group that these new guidelines say, you don't need to get a mammogram. I just think that's a really dangerous message to be giving women. "

For women 50 to 75, the panel advises screening every other year. For older women, no routine mammograms are advised. 

Another protester, Susan Sonley says, "If we don't have anything better than mammograms, why would we stop doing them for women under 50 and over 75?"

The women are picketing at 540 Gaither Road because that's the address the Task Force lists. The Task Force is under the umbrella of Health and Human Services, which has a building there.

In Washington, the leader of the world's largest breast cancer organization dismissed the new guidelines.

Nancy Brickner says, "At Susan G. Komen for the Cure, we are not changing our guidelines. We can't afford to, because for all the progress we've made against breast cancer, it's still the leading killer of women between the ages of 40 and 60. " 

Brinker advises women to keep getting their mammograms. The women on the picket line want to see the guidelines rescinded.  Brinker warned insurance companies that if they even think about stopping coverage of annual mammograms, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure will be watching as a women's advocate.

Written by Peggy Fox

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