LISTEN LIVE: All Things Considered


Mammograms and Medicine46:40

This article is more than 12 years old.
(Photo: Flickr/kristiewells)
(Photo: Flickr/kristiewells)

For years and years, the word to American women was: Get your mammogram. Self-examine for breast cancer. Be alert. Save your life.
This week, a new message. On Monday, an independent government panel of doctors and health professionals released a new report on breast cancer screening, reversing advice American woman have heard for decades.
Now, if you’re under 50, without special risk factors, no routine mammograms, they said. If you’re over 50, just once every two years. And those breast self-exams you were told to do — never mind. No need to teach that.
The new view is rocking boats all over the place, and drawing fiery pushback — in the midst of a national healthcare debate and cost-cutting pressures.
This hour, On Point: We’ll talk with the chair of the panel and ardent critics of the new view on mammograms.
You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Dr. Bruce N. (Ned) Calonge, chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which issued the new recommendations this week. He's the chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and president of the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, which licenses and provides regulatory oversight for physicians and physician assistants.

Dr. Marisa Weiss, director of breast radiation oncology at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Penn., founder of, and co-author of "Living Beyond Breast Cancer: A Survivor's Guide for When Treatment Ends and the Rest of Your Life Begins." She opposes the new recommendations.

Diana Miglioretti, senior investigator with Group Health Research Institute and a professor in the school of public health and biostatistics at the University of Washington. She is a principle investigator for the statistical coordinating center for the breast cancer surveillance consortium and contributed mammography and breast cancer data to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.

This program aired on November 18, 2009.