Early Detection is the Best Protection: Gift of Life Urges Women to Continue Mammograms and Breast Cancer Screenings Despite Conflicting Guidelines
The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program urges women to continue breast cancer screenings beginning at age 40, despite new guidelines provided by the American Cancer Society. The recent changes include raising the age that a woman of average risk begins regular screening from 40 to 45 and a recommendation against routine clinical breast exams.
Gift of Life Founder and Chair Regina Rogers said, “We will continue to screen medically underserved Southeast Texas women who are at least 40 years of age, or earlier if they have a family history. Like Dr. Therese Bevers, medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center, we are concerned that the new guidelines will confuse many women. When presented with such conflicting messages, these individuals might elect to do nothing for their breast health, which can have serious consequences. Our organization, which has discovered breast cancer in nearly 200 women through mammography, clinical breast exams and additional diagnostic tests since its inception 20 years ago, has witnessed firsthand the importance of early detection. Mammography and clinical breast exams combined present the best defense in the fight against breast cancer.”
Rogers continued, “All of our clients are low income and have no insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. With no physician to provide medical advice, these women look to us for guidance. Each day, our organization deals with the realities of cancer. Our experience has taught us that the disease does not always play by the rules. In fact, we have seen women in their 20’s who have sought our help because they have discovered a lump through breast self-exam. Now that the American Cancer Society has said routine breast exams during annual physicals are no longer necessary, we think that women of all socioeconomic backgrounds will be discouraged from performing self-exams. This could be detrimental to their health.”
The Gift of Life Program stands with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, all of which state that breast health screenings should begin at age 40 for women of average risk.
For more information, contact Gift of Life Program Services Manager, Christina Morris, at 409.833.3663.