FACT: Millions of women receive false-positive results annually, and 20,000 are over treated to an estimated cost of $4 billion.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has floated recommendations for when and at what age to get a mammogram. Benefits versus dangers are at the base of the recommendations.

Out for comments (30 days) are:

– women at average risk and ages 50-74 should have screening every 2 years

– most benefit is in screening women 60-69 implying they may have it annually.

– women at average risk and ages 40-49┬ánot have mammograms

(Senate had to pass legislation requiring insurers to cover women in this age group when this was in the last – 2009 USPSTF recommendation)

Interestingly breast self-exam is again not mentioned. The Task Force recommendations balance cost and # of cases found with over diagnosis of breast lesions (false-positive rate of 11%) that have no consequences over a lifetime.