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Letter: Mammograms: Don't wait!

I am writing in response to the recent announcement by The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) stating that it is changing its guidelines for mammography and no longer recommends routine screening for women between the ages of 40 and 49.

This is unsettling to me. My fear is now women under 50 will not get mammograms because they think it is unnecessary.

I did not listen to my doctor's advice when she first recommended I start getting mammograms at age 40. But finally, a month before my 42nd birthday, I went in for my first mammogram.

I am so thankful I did because it was discovered I did have cancer, but it was caught early.

It scares me to think what would have happened had my doctor told me I could wait until I was 50 to start getting mammograms. I'll take the stress of a possible false positive over death any day.

The American Cancer Society responded to the announcement with a statement from Otis W. Bradley, MD, chief medical officer: "The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40. Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider."

For more information on this topic you can go to the society's website,

If you would like to become involved with the fight against cancer, celebrate survivorship and remember loved ones lost, join us at the Relay For Life of River Falls on March 26-27, 2010, at the River Falls High School.

For more information about forming a team or volunteering, e-mail your 2010 committee at