Ned Calonge, MD, chairman of the USPSTF said the guidelines, which have drawn a “remarkable amount of attention,” were communicated poorly.
The group did not mean to tell the public that women under 50 shouldn’t have mammograms, Calonge said, rather, it meant to convey that the test for women under 50 is supported by only limited clinical evidence, and that all women should discuss the risks and benefits with their physicians.
Interesting that the task force chairman has finally clarified the USPSTF’s position amongst all the misinformation, misinterpretation and miscommunication surrounding the mammogram guidelines.
What’s surprising is that there was:
a) no radiologist on the committee
b) no formal communication plan to patients and physicians
The end result?
A major controversy that could have been largely avoided with more thought for the consequences of a “C” grade i.e. limited evidence supporting mammograms under 50 so patients would be informed of the risk-benefit trade-off before deciding upon whether to undergo testing.
Although medical services receiving an A or B grade will likely get compulsorily covered by insurance companies, it is still unclear what will happen with C grade procedures.
Caveat emptor. A storm that surely could have been avoided.