Confusion over new mammogram guidelines

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Doctors say their offices have been filled by questions from concerned patients; some are confused and others enraged with the new recommendations.

Phone lines and exam rooms were filled by patients, questioning the new mammogram guidelines.

"[There is a] lot of anger," said Autumn King, manager of Ross Breast Center. "People who were survivors themselves who were just flabbergasted by the new guidelines, and really didn't know what to say and were concerned we were going to make changes."

King says their current policy won't change; urging patients to get annual mammograms, starting at age 40.

"We don't want their to be a barrier to the person's access because they are age 40-49 or over 74," said King.

As they reassure patients, Kings says there is another problem: patients may cancel their scheduled screenings.

"You will have a select group of patient population that will take this information to heart," said King.

Doctors say they haven't seen cancellations yet but they are afraid the new guidelines will give women who already don't want a mammogram, an easy way out.

"I have to be a cheerleader and try to get people to get these people to get these things done," said Dr. Hope Short, a family practitioner. "So I see it as one more blockade to get people to get their mammography done."

Dr. Short says patients aren't the only ones skeptical.

"The general reaction amongst breast cancer doctors, surgeons, doctors is this is a complete travesty," said the doctor. "It will be malpractice."

As strong reactions and questions are raised, some women hope the conversation will at least lead to increased awareness.

If you want to hear more about what the Ross Breast Center is urging patients to do, click on the video at the top of this page to watch the full interview with Autumn King.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.