Lance: New Federal Cancer Guidelines Undermine The Progress Made To Save Lives
Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) on Tuesday said the recently announced federal guidelines for when and how often a woman should receive a mammogram are confusing and could undermine the successful progress that medical professionals and leading cancer groups have made over the years to save lives.
At the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, Lance led a group of cancer survivors, representatives from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of North Jersey and medical experts from the hospital's cancer center saying that women should ignore the federal guidelines and follow the proven advice of experts in the medical and cancer community that annual, mammograms for women in their 40s save lives.
"Early detection is still the best protection and must continue to be the message to the women of America," said Lance. "Since the federal government made its announcement I have heard from New Jersey cancer survivors calling the new guidelines confusing and upsetting because they contradict their own personal success stories of detecting and beating cancer in their 40s. New Jersey's leading cancer experts here at Somerset Medical Center and cancer advocacy experts still believe that early detection is the best detection."
During the news conference, Ms. Kathy Petrozelli of Whitehouse Station shared her opposition to the new federal mammogram guidelines. Ms. Petrozelli recently wrote Lance to share her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 48 and how the mammogram in her 40s saved her life. "A routine mammogram in my 40s saved my life," said Ms, Petrozelli. "If I waited until I was 50 to receive my first mammogram, my cancer would have advanced for two years, and I might not be here today. I can't understand how the government is recommending women wait, because there is just so much at stake."
Representatives from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of New Jersey also participated including their Executive Director Deborah Belfatto, Barbara Waters, Education Director and Co-Chair of Advocacy and Mary Hess, Grants Director.
Lance said he has written to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to express concern on behalf of the Seventh District women, cancer survivors, doctors and cancer advocacy groups.
"The federal government's new recommendations regarding breast cancer screening have confused and upset many cancer survivors in my congressional district -- especially women who were diagnosed with cancer as a result of an annual mammogram in their 40s," Lance wrote to Sebelius. "Additionally, many local New Jersey cancer advocacy groups and medical professionals have told me that the new federal guidelines have undermined their hard work over the years to education women on the importance of receiving annual mammogram to detect cancer early and help save lives."
READ Lance's letter to Sebelius.