About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center

UCSF Professor Describes Evolving Science of Breast Cancer Screening

By Karin Rush-Monroe, Public Affairs | September 29, 2011

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated its recommendations for screening healthy women using mammography. The task force is an independent panel of experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that makes recommendations on a broad range of clinical preventive health care services, such as screening, and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians.

Of particular note was the task force’s advice that for women between the ages of 40 and 49, the decision to have a mammogram should be made individually, taking into account their perspectives about relative benefits and harms.

The change has been criticized by some physicians and cancer advocates, and praised by others – particularly those who support individualized and evidence-based medicine.

George Sawaya, MD, a UCSF professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was a member of the task force that developed the updated recommendations. Listen to him discuss the rationale, and the role of science in advancing change in clinical practice, on this video.

Read more at Karin Rush-Monroe, Public Affairs