The Mammogram Melee: How Much Screening Is Best?

Why the furor over the new screening guidelines could be a sign of things to come


Women's breasts are not the usual topic of public discourse in Washington, at least not outside the context of a scandal. But for the past few weeks, the question of when women should be screened for breast cancer has become the subject of intense medical debate, partisan congressional bickering and a whole lot of confusion among mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, not only inside the Beltway but throughout the rest of the country.

On Nov. 16, the 16 members of the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that most women delay routine mammograms until age 50 (instead of 40, as...

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