Global Breast Cancer Leader Tells Nation’s Women to Continue Getting Their Mammograms; Calls on Science Community to Improve Screening Tools
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 23, 2009 – Recent changes to the national mammography guidelines has led to mass confusion and justifiable outrage among women who are worried that future generations of women will lose access to a critical tool that saved their life, according to Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the global leader of the breast cancer movement. Brinker told an audience at the National Press Club this afternoon that we must improve access to screening today and we must improve the technology for the future.
“We have worked so hard to build public trust and to urge people to get screened. And now they hear that maybe they shouldn’t bother. That is dangerous,” said Brinker. “Let me say this as clearly as I can: mammography saves lives, even this report says that. Keep doing what you are doing. And always, talk with your doctor.” Brinker also noted that Komen for the Cure was not changing its guidelines, continuing to recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
Brinker noted that breast cancer is still the leading killer of women between the ages of 40 and 60, and that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Yet one-third of women – 23 million – are not getting the most basic screening and mammography today.
Noting that mammography, while the best currently available screening tool, is not perfect, Brinker called on the government and the scientific community to close the technology gap and develop tools that are more predictive, available and personal, but are less expensive and aggressive.
“I call on the President and Congress to report to the American people on investments they’ve made in screening technology and to commit to us that they will redouble their efforts to create technology that is more specific, more accessible and with more sensitivity,” said Brinker. “If we can make the technology better, we can avoid having this discussion five or ten years from now.”
Read Brinker’s full remarks online.