Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of American women indicates that most of them plan to disregard the new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force about mammograms. The poll also shows that most women sharply overestimate their risk of developing the disease.

The task force last week suggested that most women don't need mammograms on a routine basis until age 50. Women under 50 should consult their doctors to see if mammograms are approrpriate for them.

In the survey of 1,136 women, 76% said they disagree or strongly disagree with the recommendations, while 84% of women ages 35 to 49 said they plan to get mammograms before age 50 despite the task force recommendations.

But the poll found that most women have misconceptions about the disease and the panels' motives. Seventy-six percent the panel based its conclusions on cost, even though the task force's report included only scientific studies. Forty percent estimated that a 40-year-old's chance of developing breast cancer over the next decade is 20% to 50%. But the real risk is 1.4%, according to the National Cancer Institute.


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