Legislation To Increase Number Of Physicians Skilled In Interpreting Mammograms

Armen Hareyan's picture



A panel of experts formed by the American Cancer Societyin New York has released recommendations to promote mammograms and iscalling for legislation to increase the number of doctors in the statewho are able to interpret mammogram results, the Long Island Newsday reports.

Accordingto the panel, several factors have resulted in decreased mammograms inthe state, including difficulties in scheduling appointments and fewerphysicians specializing in the procedure. Other issues that havecontributed include the increasing number of uninsured women andchanging views about mammograms among some women, the panel found.According to Newsday, although a recent study conducted by CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Surveyfound that more women are receiving mammograms nationwide, one-third ofeligible women in New York ages 40 and older are not being screened. Inaddition, a recent study conducted by Nancy Breen of the National Cancer Institute and published in the journal Cancer found a 4% overall decline in mammography and a 7% decline among women ages between 50 and 64.

EvaSciandra, a panelist and director of cancer prevention strategies forACS, said data analyzed by the panel "very strongly suggested there isa downtrend in the number of physicians choosing mammography as aspecialty." According to Sciandra, some physicians report extremestress concerning mammography screening, which has led many to leavethe specialty. "The missed diagnosis of breast cancer is the singlemost common cause of malpractice suits," Sciandra said, adding, "So inlooking at this trend of fewer and fewer physicians going into breastimaging, you can see how that is having an impact on women getting anappointment when they want a mammogram." The panel is seeking a sponsorin the state Legislature for a bill that would fund a fellowship tosubsidize education for medical students who want to receivemammography training, Sciandra said. She added, "We want to addressvery specific action steps and to work with other organizations" todevelop methods to encourage more women to get screened (Ricks, LongIsland Newsday, 9/10).

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