AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
"Mammography Guidelines Generate Confusion and Debate" (In the News, March) left me in a state of confusion and shock. It seems like the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is saying to women, "We know that breast cancer is lethal, but we don't want you to have a simple screening to see if you have it. And, by the way, we don't recommend that you perform self-exams either."
I was also disappointed to see several references to the risks associated with mammography but no explanation of what, exactly, they are. In my opinion, the benefit (early detection of a treatable disease) outweighs the potential risks associated with screening at any age. Furthermore, I can't understand why a task force whose sole purpose is to prevent disease would recommend that women not perform self-breast examination. After all, as nurses aren't we taught that a component of prevention is early detection through screenings?
Jennifer L. Wilson, nursing student