Local doctors oppose new mammogram guidelines

Local doctors oppose new mammogram guidelines

Amarillo, TX -  Texas Tech's Breast Center of Excellence does not agree with new breast cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society and it's encouraging women across the Panhandle to not follow them.

Earlier this week, the American Cancer Society released new guidelines, suggesting women at "average risk" of breast cancer should begin annual mammograms at 45 --- five years later than previously recommended. Local doctors say that five year delay could have serious implications for women in the Panhandle.

When it comes to annual mammograms, the Breast Center of Excellence already struggles to convince area women to get them done. "They're scared, they don't have money, they don't want to travel or a variety of other reasons," said Dr. Rakhshanda Rahman, the center's director. "They delay their screenings and we see a lot of late cancers especially in this part of the world. The last thing I want is those women to have yet another excuse to not get a mammogram done."

Dr. Kevin Oeffinger of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York chaired the panel for the new guidelines. "From 45 on, we felt that annual mammography gave us our best chance of both reducing premature mortality and balancing out the potential harms associated with mammography," said Dr. Oeffinger.

But Dr. Rahman said the guidelines show no real science and she won't be following them. "I have no reason to say why is 45 better than 40 or 50. I don't have science to back that up."

She said in interest of her patients, she is sticking with mammograms at 40. "The number one cause of death in young women is breast cancer. I will not tell women to not get their mammograms done because of these arbitrary numbers that come out."

To read the new guidelines from the American Cancer Society, click here.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10