Susan G. Komen®: Women and Health Care Providers Should Have the Final Say on Mammogram Schedules

Komen Renews Concern over Task Force Proposal to Raise Routine
Mammography Age

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The leader of the world’s largest breast cancer organization says women
and their doctors should be the final decision-makers when it comes to
breast cancer screening, and that screening tests, if recommended by a
health care provider, should be covered by insurers and government
regardless of a woman’s age.

The comments from Susan G. Komen President and CEO Dr. Judy Salerno came
in response to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
recommendations, issued today, that would raise the recommended age for
the start of routine mammograms from 40 to 50 for women of average risk.
USPSTF issued similar recommendations in 2009.

These latest recommendations would not be implemented immediately due to
a two-year moratorium imposed by Congress.

Nevertheless, Salerno said Komen is concerned that these recommendations
could effectively bar access to screenings for millions of women under
50 because third party payers often use USPSTF recommendations to decide
whether they will pay for certain tests.

“A lack of coverage would be most harshly felt in high-risk and
underserved populations,” she said, “African-American women, for
example, are often diagnosed at younger ages with aggressive forms of
breast cancer – and die of breast cancer at rates over 40 percent higher
than white women. Screening at younger ages is a critical tool for these

“The medical field is moving toward determining individual needs for
screening based on a woman’s risk,” she said. “Rather than establishing
higher age-based standards that create potential barriers to care, women
should be able to make informed decisions about breast cancer screening,
develop a schedule that is right for them with their health care
provider, and be assured that the screenings they need will be paid for.”

Salerno encouraged increased investment in research to develop better
screening tools. Komen has funded more than $33 million to find
more-precise early-detection methods such as blood and tissue tests.
“Until those are available, mammograms are the most widely available and
cost-effective test that we have, and women and their health care
providers should have access to them,” she said. Information about
breast cancer risk
is available on

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization,
funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while
providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding
in 1982, Komen has funded more than $889 million in research and
provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and
psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30
countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised
her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed
Suzy’s life. Visit
or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at


Susan G. Komen
Andrea Rader, 972-855-4382