No, CNN, that’s not what the US Preventive Services Task Force said

Here we go again.

You can feel it coming.

CNN today reported that:

“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the group that told women in their 40s that they don’t need mammograms, will soon recommend that men not get screened for prostate cancer, according to a source privy to the task force deliberations.”

Wrong. That’s not what the USPSTF said about mammography.

A. The US Preventive Services Task Force makes recommendations to primary care physicians.

B. Here’s what they actually wrote about mammography:

“The decision to start regular, biennial screening mammography before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take into account patient context, including the patient’s values regarding specific benefits and harms.”

No matter how you spin it, that’s simply NOT telling women that they don’t need mammograms.

Journalists’ mishandling of the USPSTF mammography recommendations to primary care medicine resulted in untold consumer confusion.

Will we re-live that with the new prostate cancer screening recommendations, whenever they come out and whatever they say?

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Laura Nikolaides

October 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thanks Gary, for reminding everyone once again what the USPSTF actually said about mammography screening for women under 50. The guidelines continue to be misconstrued, often most vocally by those with a financial incentive to encourage mammography.

Brian Southwell

October 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

Once again, a useful observation, Gary. Such news coverage has real consequences, as we found recently in a piece a group of us is publishing in Health Communication: .