CSS Edits

Neal statement on breast cancer screening

November 19, 2009
Press Release

Urges women to continue routine screening

(WASHINGTON) Congressman Richard E. Neal issued the following statement today after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced controversial new breast cancer screening guidelines this week. The independent panel recommended that women in their 40’s should not have routine mammograms.

“Since the U.S. Preventive Task Force announced their new guidelines on breast cancer screening this week, women across the country have expressed deep and genuine concern about how these recommendations may affect their health care coverage. It also raised serious questions about the merits of routine mammograms for women in their 40’s. The new standards have generated a significant amount of confusion and anxiety. But I believe women in western and central Massachusetts should know that the new guidelines do not represent a change in federal health insurance policy. It is simply just one panel’s opinion. Decisions about whether to have a mammogram will continue to be made by a woman and a doctor.

I strongly agree with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who yesterday urged women to continue routine screening for breast cancer beginning at age 40. It is a fact that mammography has helped save the lives of millions of women in the United States and around the world. The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also continue to recommend annual screening using mammograms for women in their 40’s. Their outspoken support for routine breast cancer screening should not be minimized. Of course, when making any decision regarding health care, it is best to get the advice of your own doctor.

As we debate comprehensive health insurance reform in the United States Congress, I will continue to be an advocate for legislation that will give more Americans greater stability, lower costs and quality care. Under health insurance reform, more women will have access to preventative care. And breast cancer screening using mammography for women in their 40’s will continue to be covered.”