The American Cancer Society shocked women worldwide when it announced new breast cancer screening guidelines on Oct. 20 suggesting that mammograms begin at 45 instead of 40. One of these women is Giuliana Rancic, a breast cancer survivor, and she is NOT happy.
Giuliana Rancic, 41, is able to call herself a breast cancer survivor because her case was caught early enough. But after the American Cancer Society issued new screening guidelines saying that earlier mammograms aren’t necessarily better, Giuliana found herself defending herself, her fellow survivors, and women around the world in an argument against the new recommendations. Get more info on the guidelines and see Giuliana’s response below.
In a detailed report, ACS stated that the recommended age for women to get their first mammograms is now 45, which is five years later than the previously suggested age of 40. This news came particularly surprising to Giuliana, whose cancer was found when she was just 36 years old. Considering the nine year gap between when Giuliana’s cancer was detected and the newly recommended age, she immediately took to Instagram to express her frustration and pose the questions, “Who knows how much my cancer would have progressed by then??? How can this be the recommendation when EARLY detection has an almost 100% five-year survival rate?” See the rest of her argument here.
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This breaking news headline on CNN is making my head spin. American Cancer Society is now recommending women get their first mammogram at 45 instead of 40. Wow. If I had taken that advice, I wouldn't have found my breast cancer at 36 and instead have found it NINE years later. Who knows how much my cancer would have progressed by then??? How can this be the recommendation when EARLY detection has an almost 100% five-year survival rate? Their argument is that less women will get false positives and be spared unnecessary testing. In my opinion, I would gladly take those tests over living with undetected breast cancer any day.
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As Giuliana points out in her post, one of the reasons for the increased mammogram age is that they have a relatively high false positive rate, which means that they have the possibility of detecting a tumor that isn’t necessarily worth catching. But doctors can’t always determine which tumors are harmful and which are not, according to CNN, so sometimes that results in women receiving treatments that are potentially harmful — such as radiation and chemotherapy — when they weren’t needed in the first place.
In addition to the new age recommendation, the organization’s guidelines states that women no longer need to receive routine manual breast checks when they go to the doctor. This is because the chance of finding cancer and saving a life with manual checks “is actually very small,” according to Dr. Otis Brawley, the society’s chief medical officer. The guidelines also suggested that women 55 and older can receive mammograms every other year, as breast cancer is less common in post-menopausal women, and mammograms should continue as long as a woman is in good health.
Like Giuliana, critics of the new guidelines argued that ACS only deem procedural mammograms worth it if they save women’s lives rather than simply catching a cancer early. It’s understandable that ACS is concerned about the harmful effects of drastic breast cancer treatments if it does end up being unnecessary, but Giuliana’s case is a perfect example of an early examination that ended up being life-saving.
Although the guidelines are receiving backlash, the American Cancer Society did stress that its new guidelines are meant for women who have an average risk of breast cancer. Women who have a family history of breast cancer or carry a gene should consider starting screening earlier and more frequently. It also mentioned that while the recommended age is now 45, women who want to get mammograms starting at age 40 should be able to do so.
What do you think of the new breast cancer screening guidelines, HollywoodLifers? Do you agree with Giuliana? Share your thoughts below!
— Taylor Weatherby