LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — The American Cancer Society has released new screening guidelines for breast cancer. They’re now recommending annual mammograms starting at age 45. Women are given to the option to start them at age 40 if they want. At age 55, women can get them every other year.
The recommendation has caught many health professionals and breast cancer survivors off-guard.
Cauney Bamberg refuses to accept it. She explained Wednesday she was angry when she found out about the American Cancer Society’s latest recommendation. But the breast cancer survivor has now decided to fight to get the decision reversed.
“The anger has slowly become, ‘How do I make a difference and what can I do?'” Bamberg told News Channel 8.
At 45-years-old, doctors made a discovery that changed Bamberg forever.
“It had saturated my left breast, there was evidence of it on my right breast,” she said of the cancer.
It started treatment that brought physical and emotional pain. And she always wonders: What if she hadn’t skipped her mammogram she was supposed to have five years prior?
“It may have saved me the need for a bilateral mastectomy and more radical treatment,” she predicts.
Her experience is the driving force behind her feeling of shock this week — that the American Cancer Society, which she supports, now recommends women at average risk for breast cancer get screened at 45 instead of 40.
The change is designed to eliminate false positives and over-treatment, but Bamberg’s not buying it.
She’s already started organizing a group to take the issue to legislators and other health groups.
“How can we be a voice collectively to get this reversed?” she stated.
Karen Tyree, whose cancer was spotted at age 39, fears this latest decision will soften the seriousness of a service that she calls lifesaving.
“Had you waited until 45, what do you think?” News Channel 8 asked. “I might not be here today,” Tyree replied.
The American Cancer Society still says what’s most effective is regular mammograms. And most insurance should cover the service at 40 years old, if a woman elects to have one then.