Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Murphy on Mammograms

from the inbox:

Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) voted for House Resolution 971, a resolution supporting women’s access to mammography screenings and services. The resolution also encourages the National Cancer Institute to continue to invest in and provide leadership regarding research to develop more effective screening tools and strategies for improving detection of breast cancer. Additionally, the resolution recommends that any future health reform legislation voted on by the House of Representatives include provisions to protect women’s access to mammography services, and prevent insurers from rolling back the coverage of mammograms.

On November 16, 2009, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new recommendations advising against routine mammography screening for breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 49. These guidelines reflect a change from the Task Force’s 2002 mammography recommendations, and have caused concern among many health providers and confusion among many women. While Congressman Murphy recognizes the mission of the USPSTF and respects their efforts to bring an impartial assessment of the scientific evidence available for preventative services, he has expressed concern about the impact these recommendations could have on insurance coverage of the mammography services women between the ages of 40-49 have relied on for years. Given that the Task Force is just one of many groups involved in evaluating scientific research, the Congressman believes that additional research should be conducted as to the benefits and risks of routine mammography screening. He wants to ensure that the USPSTF recommendations would not prohibit an insurer from providing mammography services and should not be used to deny women coverage for routine screenings.

“While we don’t have any perfect breast cancer screening tool, we know that routine mammograms save women’s lives every day,” said Rep. Patrick Murphy. “I’m proud to fight to ensure that our wives, mothers, and daughters can continue to access the early detection services that will keep them healthy.”

It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In the interest of early detection and intervention, many women have heeded the advice of medical professionals who have recommended annual mammograms for women over the age of 40. Having insurance providers cover mammograms has ensured that financial concerns are not a factor in a woman’s decision as to whether or not she will be screened, helping to ensure the decision is made between a woman and her medical provider.

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