Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Brooks' bill would postpone mammogram recommendation

May 7, 2017
In The News

ANDERSON – Rep. Susan Brooks has co-authored a resolution in the U.S. House to postpone for two years a recommendation that could limit a women’s access to mammograms.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force recently drafted recommendations that gave annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” rating, meaning that there is at least a moderate certainty that the net benefit of the procedure is small and that the screenings should be performed only selectively.

The proposed recommendations also state that women 50-74 need mammograms only every other year. The task force's drafted recommendations could limit critical access to lifesaving breast exams for millions of women because insurance companies would no longer be required to fully cover mammograms for women ages 40-49.

Brooks, R-5th District, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, introduced the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act to postpone the task force recommendations for two years and allow Congress to review concerns about the impact these recommendations would have on women being screened for cancer.

“Taking preventative measures, such as having mammogram screenings, are key components to combating a disease that takes the lives of too many Hoosiers and Americans,” Brooks said in a press release. “Women of all ages are affected by breast cancer and in many cases, mammograms catch the presence and spread of cancer cells at an early enough stage for the disease to be treated.

“The USPSTF recommendations planned to go into effect in 2018, put women, especially young women, at risk for losing insurance coverage for essential mammogram screenings that could save their life,” she said. “Women of all ages should be able to access mammograms when they need them, rather than only at an age or circumstance the USPSTF believes is appropriate.”

Wasserman Schultz was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41 and knows the importance of mammograms for young women.

“The National Cancer Institute estimates that breast cancer will take the lives of more than 40,000 women this year, and approximately 10 percent of new cases of breast cancer will be in women under the age of 45,” she said. “Despite that, the USPSTF guidelines that would go into effect in 2018 would discourage women from getting potentially life-saving mammograms, and put them at potential risk of losing insurance for mammography. “