Wasserman Schultz, Ellmers Statement on American Cancer Society’s New Breast Cancer Guidelines

Washington, DC – U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Renee Ellmers (NC-02) issued the following statement following the American Cancer Society release of new breast cancer screening guidelines today:

Rep. Wasserman Schultz:

“While I am pleased to see the American Cancer Society’s recognition that women under age 50 can and do get breast cancer and that screening is warranted , these new guidelines should not discourage young women from taking control of their breast health and being their own advocates with their health care providers.

“Between these recommendations, the draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force earlier this year and the recommendations of the Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there is clearly ongoing debate about when individual women should begin mammograms. What is certain is that women must have the information and tools they need to understand the role mammograms have in their overall breast health. That is why we joined forces to introduce the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act, H.R. 3339, which would place a two-year moratorium on implementing the USPSTF breast cancer screening recommendations. This two-year “time out” would provide ample time for a thoughtful discussion about whether changes need to be made and how those changes will impact insurance coverage for women in their 40s. Insurance companies will be monitoring both the USPSTF and ACS guidelines closely, and it is essential for us to make sure that we have proper financial protection for women who need it for mammogram screening.

“The differing recommendations are confusing for women. That is why this moratorium is absolutely necessary. Without it, many women who need earlier screenings may not catch their cancer at its earliest onset.

“These new ACS guidelines also underscore that we must continue to empower young women with the tools, resources and information they need to detect, prevent and beat this deadly disease.”

Rep. Ellmers:

“As a nurse I appreciate the American Cancer Society’s guideline recommendations they released today, as it is a clear indication that women in their 40s do benefit from annual mammograms. However, given the variance in screening recommendations among Women’s Health Groups and Cancer Organizations, I think it has become increasingly apparent that my current bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3339, the PALS Act, should swiftly move through the House of Representatives in order to eliminate barriers for patients seeking access to early intervention through life-saving screenings.”

“The PALS Act advocates for a two-year freeze on current proposed USPSTF guidance so that providers, patients and lawmakers can address the differing recommendations for breast cancer mammography screenings. A two-year moratorium would pause implementation of the USPSTF’s breast cancer screening recommendations and would assist in eliminating additional confusion for women who are seeking clarification on when and how often to receive mammograms.”

“I will continue working with my colleagues to advocate for the PALS Act so that we can ensure millions of women, young and old, have the resources and tools that they need in order to detect and defeat breast cancer.”