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November 28, 2009 | By James Oliphant and Kim Geiger
Some reader questions about the proposed healthcare legislation in Congress: How reliable are Congressional Budget Office cost estimates for the healthcare bills? I keep hearing that the bill is much more expensive than the CBO says. The CBO's job is to give lawmakers an idea of what a bill would cost over the first decade it was in force. In the House and Senate healthcare bills, some of the costs wouldn't take effect for several years, but some of the savings would take effect immediately.
November 23, 2009 | By Jill U. Adams
It's such an appealing idea -- catch breast cancer early, treat accordingly and your patients will live. So perhaps it's no wonder the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force -- a panel of primary care physicians -- caught major flak when it revised its guidelines to say most women don't need mammograms until they turn 50, and thereafter every other year. Previously the recommendations had been to start getting mammograms at age 40, and then every one or two years. The new guidelines were met with a maelstrom of impassioned reaction from doctors.
November 20, 2009
Everyone who knows the prevailing medical wisdom on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, please stand up. Feels lonely up there, doesn't it? Hormone therapy after menopause was standard practice after a 1991 study found that it reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease -- until a study 11 years later found the opposite. Since then, the treatment has been linked to other health problems -- and found to have some advantages as well. Some doctors highly recommend hormones; others warn their patients away from them.
November 20, 2009 | By Shari Roan
Only days after a federal panel scaled back on breast cancer screening recommendations for many women, another organization -- the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists -- has done the same for a screening credited with drastically reducing the rates of cervical cancer in the U.S. Women of all ages should undergo Pap smears less frequently than they do now, those new guidelines say. And young women are advised not to bother until age...
November 19, 2009 | Washington Post
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that the controversial new guidelines for breast cancer screening do not represent government policy, as the Obama administration sought to keep the debate over mammograms from undermining the prospects for healthcare reform. In a written statement, Sebelius said the guidelines had "caused a great deal of confusion and worry among women and their families across this country" and stressed that they were issued by "an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who . . . do not set federal policy and . . . don't determine what services are covered by the federal government."
November 17, 2009 | Judith Graham and Thomas H. Maugh II
A government panel's recommendation Monday that women under the age of 50 do not need regular mammograms set off a furious debate about the importance of the routine screening tool, leaving many women confused about how best to protect their health. In issuing its guidelines, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that risk of breast cancer is very low in women age 40 to 50 and that the risk of false positives and complications from biopsies and other invasive procedures is too high for the procedure to be used routinely.
August 31, 2009 | Francesca Lunzer Kritz
Are you due for a cancer screening test? Don't let cost stand in the way. Yes, it would be easier to schedule such tests if you have insurance, a regular doctor who can refer you to screenings and money in your checking account to foot the bill. But with some digging, you can often find free or low-cost cancer detection tests that could just save your life. A study published in June in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians found that about 650,000 deaths from cancer were avoided or delayed between 1990 and 2005.
August 17, 2009 | Christie Aschwanden
For years, breast cancer awareness campaigns have urged women over 40 to get a yearly mammogram. When women hesitate to comply, it's often to avoid the discomfort of having their breasts squeezed or the fear of getting called back for more tests, even if it turns out there's no cancer. But screening poses another downside: A routine mammogram can find cancers that would never have become life-threatening, subjecting women to painful and toxic treatments they never actually needed.
January 28, 2008 | From Times wire reports
Requiring even a small co-payment dramatically reduces the likelihood that women will get regular mammograms to detect breast cancer. Screening rates from 2001 through 2004 were nearly 11% lower for women who had to contribute a co-pay as low as $12, compared with women whose breast X-rays were free, researchers from Brown and Harvard universities report in the Jan. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. They surveyed more than 366,000 women ages 65 to 69. "I think it's a surprising result," said Dr. Amal Trivedi of Brown, who led the study.
July 25, 2007 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Patient treatment records from a large HMO show that the recent decline in breast cancer rates is linked to a sharp drop in use of hormone replacement therapy and not to reductions in the percentage of women getting mammograms, as many scientists had speculated, researchers said Tuesday. Dr. Andrew G. Glass and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore.
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